Linwood Avenue - Table of Contents

Linwood Avenue History
Buffalo, New York

Linwood Avenue, which runs from North Street on the south to Delavan Avenue on the north, was originally named Miller Street after the Jacob S. Miller family who created the city's first livery service.

At the time Linwood was plotted in the early 1830's, North Street was the northern boundary of Buffalo. Thus, then-Miller Street became a more bucolic setting for wealthy businessmen and industrialists to escape the congestion and tumult of the fast growing industrial and commercial city. Miller's livery service provided the transportation needed for this northward expansion.

Miller Street was renamed Linwood Avenue perhaps a early as 1852 according to later records of the Common Council Proceedings. It soon developed into a fashionable residential address for many prominent Buffalo residents. Frank B. Baird, Edward H. Butler, Jesse Ketchum and Samuel P. Capen are just a few of the familiar names that were former Linwood Avenue residents.

Beginning in the 1860's and continuing into the early 20th century, as new homes sprang up along the avenue, some by well-known architects, elm-tree-lined Linwood Avenue became a Promenade, a place where people strolled to see and be seen.

Because the avenue, once farmland in the Cold Spring district in the town of Black Rock -- including the farm of Buffalo pioneer William Hodge -- developed over the decades, what survives is a treasure trove of grand homes in a variety of architectural styles.

The oldest standing property, though added to and changed over the years, dates to the 1820's. It is located at 471 Linwood.

In 1979, Linwood Avenue was declared a Buffalo historic preservation district from North Street to the north side of West Ferry Street.

-- Richard Scibetta

The improvement of Linwood Avenue took place in the 1880s, largely through the initiative of Edward B. Smith. Smith was a speculative builder who often commissioned architects, such as Silsbee and Marling and F. W. Caulkins, to design dwellings here. At the juncture of Franklin and Linwood he planned a park joining the two streets into a continuous thoroughfare. This wide, tree-shaded boulevard became a street of substantial middle-class homes, and in 1886 the "Real Estate and Builders' Monthly" remarked that "beautiful Linwood Avenue bids fair to rank with Delaware as a residence street in this municipality."

These houses were built around the turn of the century as part of the greatest building boom the city had seen. Residences were spreading out from the city's center at a rapid rate. It was an easy walk, for residents much more used to walking, to downtown, and the location was near Forest Lawn cemetery and Delaware Park, the big green spaces which constituted the northern extent of Buffalo. Horse drawn trolleys were in service for those who did not wish to take their carriages downtown.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2002
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.