University Park Historic District Proposed

For the first time in nearly twenty five years, a new [National Register] historic district is being proposed in the city.  The University Park Historic District would include portions of Larchmont, Niagara Falls Boulevard, Radcliffe, University Avenue, Allenhurst, Pelham, and Capen between Main Street and Kenmore Avenue.  The application is a collaborative effort between the New York State Historic Preservation Office, University at Buffalo, and the City of Buffalo.  Work on the proposal, now in draft form, began as part of an historic preservation class at UB taught by Kerry Traynor last spring and took less than a year to complete.  The primary author was Annie Schentag.

The primary reason the area qualifies as a historic district is because it serves as an intact example of an early-20th century planned residential subdivision of Buffalo.  The neighborhood, developed primarily between 1913 and the early 1930s, also exemplifies the importance of the streetcar at the time of its development as well as the rise of the privatization of the automobile. To qualify the entire area as a historic district, “the property type must represent the range of residential subdivision structures associated with the growth of the city into a new form during the period between the Civil War and World War II (1860-1945).”  

The proposed district includes 429 buildings, two parks/circles, and four gates that will be included in the historic district.  Homes in the area are mostly 19th and 20th century revivals and were built in various styles including bungalows, craftsman style homes, as well as colonial/tudor revivals.

University Park Boundaries.pngKathryn Foegen, a ten year resident of a 1915 University Avenue home is very happy with the proposal for the historic district.  ”The designation could help with the resale value of the homes and the way it’s being presented makes it seem as though it is less restrictive than other historic districts,” she says.  Kathryn owns a beautiful home complete with incredible art glass windows, natural wood architectural details, and a great exterior color scheme.

UB’s Kerry Traynor says the new district will differ from the Allentown district.  ”Unlike Allentown, residents in the University Park Historic District will not have to appear before the Preservation Board for approval before they undertake work on their property,” she says.  

“Work done on State and National Register properties must be in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards only when a state or federal agency is involved, there is a state or federal license involved, or state or federal funding is involved,” says Traynor.  ”So, unless the property owner is using the State Historic Tax credits, there is no regulatory body involved in work undertaken.  Also, the guidelines do not require a property owner to restore a condition which has already been altered.  For example, if a house is sided with vinyl, the owner is not required to return the property to its original material if they want replace the vinyl.”

The Development of University Park
Anthony J. Huck was the developer for the area and set out to create a unified appearance.  Lot restrictions, building setbacks, and spacing created a lower density neighborhood.  The district’s plan is significant in landscape architecture and community planning/development for their association with suburban land development practices of the first half of the 20th century and is reflected in the subdivision’s park-like setting, which includes a landscaped circle, a central park, numerous grassy medians and three sets of stone entrance gates.

University Park’s development reflects the role of expansion in a flourishing Buffalo, combined with the sentimentalized popular notion of a pastoral, suburban lifestyle away from the central city.  The proximity to the streetcar and to the expansion of the University at Buffalo made the location of University Park prime for development.

PC101398.JPGSituated at the terminus of the Main Street streetcar line, the busiest streetcar in the region at the time, the location provided the ability to commute from a residential area into work in the central city.  The proximity to the streetcar, the University’s expansion, the evolution of Niagara Falls tourism into nearby Niagara Falls Boulevard, and the pressure from an overcrowded central city all contributed to the successful development of University Park.

In 1913, with the recent plan for expansion at the University, Huck capitalized on a timely opportunity to profit off his land by converting it from farmland into a residential area, selling both pre-built houses and empty lots to be built on, as long as they passed his regulations.  Priced at $4,500 to $15,000, the “average” man could buy a lot and build a house on it, living the new American dream.  In this way, University Park can be considered one of the earliest planned communities in the region, exhibiting a suburban character through the values of separation and regulation.  

While the neighborhood was not targeted at the upper class, who lived largely downtown in mansions, it was an attempt to filter the social demographics of the district, ensuring that along with the pollution, noise and crowding, the “less than desirable” lower class and racial communities did not reside with the middle class in University Park.  Similar to many suburbs today, University Park allowed access only to those who could afford to migrate away from the jobs in the city center.  This outward migration was made possible due to not only the streetcar, but also the increasing use of automobiles by the middle-upper class.  The introduction of the car into mainstream society happened slowly, and during the 1910′s and 1920′s the lower classes could not afford the luxury.

The role of the car in the development of University Park can be seen in the presence of garages, built during the early years of the district.  These garages reveal that not only were cars used in order to commute to work downtown, but also reinforces the high socioeconomic class of the residents.  At this time, it was rare to include a plan for a garage in the design of a home, and the inclusion of many of the original garages in this district serves as a testament to the class of those who chose to move away from the city. 

Huck’s stylistic restrictions on the neighborhood serve as one of the most important predictors of this area’s historical significance.  Because Huck valued a “beautiful, harmonious residence district,” he sought to protect investments by ensuring the stylistic character of the neighborhood would maintain its unified character, in order to prevent anyone with different stylistic taste from degrading the value of surrounding properties.  In reaction to other, more modern architects working in Buffalo, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Huck intended to create a district with stylistic continuity, not unlike many modern suburbs.  This regulation became one of the most valuable assets to the neighborhood, as it created a condensed area with aesthetic integrity that is clearly identifiable with a single stylistic period.

A contemporary journey through University Park provides a rare insight into the nuances of the architectural styles of the period, all collected into the span of a few blocks.  The neighborhood hosts some of the most exemplary houses built in the Craftsman, Bungalow, American Foursquare and Prairie Box styles, many of them dating from roughly 1913 to 1920, the height of this stylistic period in a city that contains some of its best examples.  The Arts and Crafts movement is of particular significance to the Buffalo region, where many of its founders and architects, such as Hubbard and the Roycroft community, lived and worked.  Because of this, University Park is highly significant due to its thorough architectural collection that demonstrates an important era in Buffalo.

Double.jpg

Development History Source: National Register of Historic Places Registration Form prepared by Annie Schentag, Chelsea Petrucci (Canisius College), Michele Brozek (City of Buffalo Senior Planner), and Daniel McEneny (NYSHPO).
Bottom images: Beautiful arts and crafts home of Kathryn Foegen

About the author  ⁄ NeilGarvey

56 comments
BuffaloResident2010
BuffaloResident2010

University Heights and University Park are not "two completely different neighborhoods". University Park is part of the University Heights neighborhood, as are several other streets on the opposite side of Main Street. University Park refers to a proposed historic district, which defines a group of buildings according to their historic or architectural significance. The boundaries of the neighborhood have long been recognized by the University Heights Collaborative, an umbrella organization which serves all block clubs within the entire University Heights neighborhood. As for your advice about what the Heights "was and still could be", hundreds of owner-occupied residents on both sides of Main Street have long realized their mission as a driving force behind University involvement in the neighborhood through their block clubs, the Capen Garden Walk, the Farmer's Market, Neighborhood Watch Programs, and a laundry list of additional efforts. These efforts not only allowed for the preservation of homes in the proposed University Park, but on many other streets, such as Highgate Avenue. Much of University Heights still is.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Thanks for creating a profile just to respond to me and make insinuations that I am a racist. East is only an absolute in relation to the other directions, but you aren't really interested in talking about that are you? When we talk about the "East Side" in Buffalo, we use that as a general term for poverty, crime, drugs, violence, and gangs that are prevalent in many of those neighborhoods. When the crime, gangs, poverty, drugs, and violence spreads to surroundig neighborhoods we generalize this as encroaching on other areas. I am sure you are aware that gangs, violence, poverty, and drug abuse do not know racial boundaries, but are heavily based on socio-economic conditions. The general trend in Buffalo is as poorer and less advantaged people move into a neighborhood, like the University Heights, the property values decrease as more wealthy residents bail out for other areas of the city or suburbs. I am at work and don't have a lot of time to get into this, so I'll leave you with that one example to quibble over.

I find your shuck and jive comments to be highly offensive and completely incorrect. You really need to check yourself and your racist ways.

Thanks for writing though!

https://me.yahoo.com/a/6mMcv4Y1jJo5U.GW2fPWSEQkj0m
https://me.yahoo.com/a/6mMcv4Y1jJo5U.GW2fPWSEQkj0m

@sho'nuff

You write about "the encroaching East Side migration". How does a geographic location such as "East" migrate? Isn't east always east and north always north, etc. Are you trying to saying something else but can't come right out and say it? Nothing more annoying than white Buffalo talking about the expanding East Side. It's their polite way of saying black people have moved into their precious white neighborhood. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.

smythie
smythie

Sure. But, I think I meant to say that I'm alright with the R1 zoning (I believe that's the designation)in this neighborhood restricting multiple family dwellings/rentals. If that zoning wasn't in place, it would leave the neighborhood ripe for the picking by unscrupulous absentee landlords to scoop up places (as a few have done with single family dwellings on our street--the ones that stick out like the sore thumbs from neglect)and pump as much cash as possible out of the houses without reinvesting in them.

The Kettle
The Kettle

Smythie>" zoning, no?"

I think pre-early 1920s neighborhoods had commercial, multi-family properties, and "different stylistic taste" were excluded by private deed restrictions and covenants. Zoning would come later.

The Kettle
The Kettle

It really isn't unusual to have strong urban neighborhoods in close proximity to struggling ones. The Elmwood Village and Allentown seem to do okay despite being just blocks away high concentrations of poverty and crime.

smythie
smythie

There are very few, if any, 2 family houses/multiples in University Park (zoning, no?). In the Heights, yes, but not Park. There are a few rentals in the neighborhood and they stick out like a sore thumb due to neglect by absentee landlords (who have brought the Heights to its knees and ruined some fab houses). They look awful. For this reason, I have no problem limiting rentals and duplexes.

Peter_Parkdale
Peter_Parkdale

This part of Buffalo was the start of the suburbs. They were built to insulate the wealthier whites from the poor blacks. It feels like this is a move to continue segregation. The residents may not be as rich as they once were but for some reason they believe that their houses are more important to others in the city. They will probably limit duplexes and rentals like they have done before. The name of preservation is often used as a veiled form of segregated racism.

bobbycat
bobbycat

You throw Amherst and Tonawanda under the bus to defend the city. That is so typical of your hatred for the suburbs. What is the purpose of your fabrication?

bobbycat
bobbycat

Englewood is 2 blocks from Larchmont and University! That is about 2,000 feet. Hardly a world away!

bobbycat
bobbycat

STEEL says: "This is a fabrication. As well, if you know this area the streets listed by Sho'nuff though nearby are a complete world away as far as the neighborhood goes. Is crime creeping closer? - sure. It is also creeping closer to Amherst and Tonawanda. This attitude that the entire city is being consumed by crime is false and propagating these kinds of lies is unfair to the people of the city."

Three Blocks David, three blocks is not a complete world away! If you lived here you might now how scary it is to live so close to the shootings at Main and Winspear, just four blocks away. Four blocks is on your doorstep and not a world away.

The comforts of Chicago have left you out of touch with the realities of living in Buffalo.

Pegger
Pegger

Cuz the neighborhood is in transition very similar to the way the streets south of UB changed for worse. MLS listed many homes in this area very recently. I wrote this entry to draw attention to the urgency of this community.

Mike Puma
Mike Puma

Thanks for the compliment, Kathryn is the aunt of a classmate and allowed me to take the pictures. I like the idea of the name change if the proposal is approved.

STEEL
STEEL

What is your purpose in writing this fabrication?

rkajecsb
rkajecsb

This is a wonderful article. I live in the University Park area and am thrilled to do so. It is a warm and happy neighborhood.

I thank Kathryn Foegen for sharing such beautiful photos of her home which are very representative of the homes in the Park.

I have a suggestion for those who are in charge of this campaign; change University Avenue's name to University Park.

Anyone want to comment on this point?

r-k-tekt
r-k-tekt

UB did not push this district on anyone in the neighborhood. It was a UB Urban Planning Studio Project. They surveyed the neighborhood, wrote the nomination and worked with the NYS SHPO, the Buffalo Preservation Board, of which I'm a member of, and the neighborhood residents. The neighborhood was 100% in favor of it. NYS SHPO expressed that they saw as high a level of support as they have ever seen for nomination.

This action should not be seen as demeaning to the rest of University Heights. University Park is a unique very defineable early 20th century development with exemplary examples of houses from that era.

This is a good thing people!

peripatetic
peripatetic

Tonight's University Heights meeting has been canceled. The Gloria Parks Center is closed. Mayor Brown has issued a traffic advisory warning.

Mike Puma
Mike Puma

Thanks for pointing that out, it's resolved.

Patrick
Patrick

OK a few points I want to add to this lively discussion:

I still love this area and have much hope for it, there have been many positive developments, especially with the block clubs.

My beef is mainly with UB, -years ago there was a plan for UB to spend 40 million dollars buying up housing that reaches out into the neighborhoods much like Cornell and Harvard have done.

After getting much support from the residents, they totally reneged on the deal and spent the money in Amherst. More recently, 100 million was allocated for dorms in Amherst, just that project alone could have changed the Custer/Lisbon/Minnestota area permanently for the better.

UB has been a bad neighbor in the Heights and personally I'm sick & tired of their indifference and neglect to such a beautiful urban campus and the area around it.

STEEL
STEEL

I don't recall challenging your credentials.

STEEL
STEEL

Actually the story is about University Park and it even gives you a convenient map showing the boundaries. Pegger's comment was in regard to University Park and yours was in response to his comment. Nowhere did you say anything about University heights other than to list streets not in University Park - Streets that no one was talking about - streets that are very different than the subject matter.

I appreciate that you are now moderating your comment. The fact is that you offered your comment in support of Pegger's unsubstantiated comment. The streets you listed do have problems. It is the kind of thing that happens as a city is abandoned. However making up false claims about this University Park is destructive and is a disservice to the people who live here and work hard to make it a great neighborhood.

blove
blove

Glad that this is getting some publicity! You should get your citations right, however. The NR form was prepared by McEneny/Brozek and Schentag (who was under Traynor's advisement). Keep your facts straight please.

peripatetic
peripatetic

Puma, grad94, Pegger, sho'nuff.DTK2OD,al labruna, Jim1234,rktekt, et al

YOU are all invited

What: University Heights Collaborative General Community Meeting

When: Tuesday, December 14th

Time: 7pm

Where: Gloria J. Parks Community Center

3242 Main Street at Heath

Open to the Public

All are invited

Agenda: The meeting is a discussion about the probation system and how it works.

Invited guests are:

Chief City Court Judge Honorable Thomas P. Amodeo

Councilman Mickey Kearns

Councilperson Bonnie Russell

Director of Probation: Ms. Rachelle Cybulski (pending)

Supreme Court Judge,Honorable William M. Boller will attend the January 11, 2011 meeting.

Topic: This is a discussion about the probation system and how it works

--

www.ourheights.org

http://buffalouniversityheights.blogspot.com/

This is followup on some of our crime issues. Come and learn more about University Heights.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

Great homes, great neighborhood. I'm curious to see how the preservation-lite thing works out. I hope well.

I can see why some are positive about this area. The Main Street rebuilding project was well done. It's nice to see so many thriving restaurants (we like Shango and others).

I don't live there and never have. But anyone familiar with Buffalo knows that Bailey Avenue decay is the problem. Like a slow moving snowball down a hill, blight spreads in a predictable path. It's hard to stop that momentum once it gets going. Ask Cheektowaga.

I don't agree with most that UB,s Amherst location was a tragedy. I'm thankful they're putting in so much money on the South Campus and that there's never been talk of closing it. Thank god for all that. Too bad UB didn't take a higher profile in fighting blight in University Heights, but that's really our responsibility in the end.

If we want to see University Heights thrive, we have to somehow solve the decay spreading from Bailey. That is not easy.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Steel - I had the pleasure of helping to form a new block club on Montrose a few years ago. A good friend started this club and wanted help from those who have already started successful neighborhood groups in the area. They area also trying to draw a line in the sand and stop the influx of crime and poverty from other areas of the city. They have successfully taken several investment properties and turned them into owner-occupied homes, something similiar to what I helped with on Minnesota and one house on Lisbon.

The surrounding neighborhoods are a huge concern for home owners in this area. They would like to preserve Montrose and take over houses on Englewood, Mildred, and Bruce that come on the market. It is an uphill battle, but one that I spend a fair amount of time supporting logistically, legally, and financially.

If you wish to challenge my credentials from your perceived bully pulpit in Chicago due to your relationship with BRO, then go ahead. That is your prerogative. There is a huge difference between what you are doing by writing from Chicago, and what others are doing by living here in Buffalo. We are putting our money, our time, our lives on the line to back what we believe in. I only wish that someday you will do the same.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

I love the streets in University Park... I wasn't talking about University Park when I made my comment about the decline of the University Heights. There is a huge difference between streets that are only a few blocks away.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Steel - The streets I listed are in the University District, not the University Park, as some like to call this area. I was speaking about the changes to the University Heights / University District, not this area. I know you like to tee off on me without thinking or reading my comments, and that is fine. I live less than a half mile from my former house on Lisbon, as the crow flies. How far away is your condo in Chicago from here?

STEEL
STEEL

But of course then you know that Englwood is a different world from the area north of there. Englewood is part of the heart of the absentee slumlord problem. One street in the city can make a huge difference.

DTK2OD
DTK2OD

The historic district distinction is for University Park NOT University Heights... these are two completely different neighborhoods even though only a few blocks separate them. I fail to see your correlation between UB moving to Amherst and issues facing the University Heights... and that 'indifference' you speak of has probably developed in response to a strident and vocal group of residents who wanted students out of their neighborhoods and indirectly allowed slumlords to move in because they didn't want UB as a landlord threatening their property values. The distrust between residents and the University is still a very salient issue... but both sides are working much closer than they have in years. The Heights was and still could be an incredible neighborhood, with the metro, a charming commercial strip, and an impressive housing stock (Minnesota, Highgate, etc.) UB has to realize that they cannot possibly sustain a 21st century campus for graduate programs while the neighborhood around them devolves into a war zone, and residents need to realize that they must be the driving force behind any University involvement in the neighborhood.

STEEL
STEEL

What he said:

"Until recent years, this neighborhood has been maintaining it's unique qualities. As of late, however, there is a glut of homes for sale some of which have been fallen into varying stages of neglect."

This is a fabrication. As well, if you know this area the streets listed by Sho'nuff though nearby are a complete world away as far as the neighborhood goes. Is crime creeping closer? - sure. It is also creeping closer to Amherst and Tonawanda. This attitude that the entire city is being consumed by crime is false and propagating these kinds of lies is unfair to the people of the city.

grad94
grad94

guess you missed this quote:

"Work done on State and National Register properties must be in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards only when a state or federal agency is involved, there is a state or federal license involved, or state or federal funding is involved," says Traynor. "So, unless the property owner is using the State Historic Tax credits, there is no regulatory body involved in work undertaken."

in other words, no one will stop you if you want to put in vinyl replacement windows or wrought iron porch columns, unless you apply for tax credits.

peripatetic
peripatetic

The University Heights district outside these boundaries is also a wonderful neighborhood. There are many excellent houses. New families have been moving unto some streets. House values have been appreciating.

Yes, there are still problem properties. The community continues working on the problem. Unfortunately, there has not been enough help from the City in dealing with these problems.

More building inspectors are needed. The Planning and Zoning Boards need to make developers follow the District zoning requirements. The building permit regulations need to be enforced.

However, even with the problems this is a great place to live. The positive assets far outweigh the negatives.

al labruna
al labruna

the proposal seems a little toothless.

LiveFastDie
LiveFastDie

Minnesota, Lisbon, and Heath are not in this neighborhood? I grew up on Radcliffe, lived there for 18 years and my mother still lives there. I can assure that she very much considers those streets to be part of her neighborhood. I can also tell you that the people in this triangle are very much concerned about the state of the surrounding streets. I fail to see how saying that crime has been creeping closer and closer to this neighborhood is a fabrication. I love this neighborhood and I'd love to see all of University Heights make a strong come back. Crime is a problem. Absentee landlords are a problem. Do deny either of those is simply putting your head in the sand.

Patrick
Patrick

I find it quite ironic that UB of all entities are pushing to make a historic district of an area that became a vacuum because of UB abandoning it.

Most of the problems in University Heights are a direct result of UB moving to Amherst. The issue of crime in the Heights is partly the result of a petty union squabble that prevents UB police from patrolling off campus. The slumlords and the problems they have created are a direct result of UB's indifference.

If UB treasures this enclave so much, why do they repeatedly ignore it and wash their hands of the problems in it?

Furthermore, for property owners like me, it will just make it harder to make changes (additions, driveways, etc) to our own property.

This seriously seems like a cruel joke.

grad94
grad94

um, as much as i admire your work on bro, you're not the best person to advance any "if you lived here, you'd know better" arguments.

jim1234664
jim1234664

Steel, I can honestly say I agree with you on many things but this is not one of them.

I lived on the corner of englewood and deveraux for two years from 2007-2009.

The area where I lived and southwest of me was blighted with absentee landlords and college students stuffed in houses with illegal modifications to fit more bedrooms and cram people in. (my own room was a converted dining room and there was another shoddily constructed bedroom placed in an otherwised unfinished attic for example.)

The area east of main was even worse.

However walk a few streets northeast and you were in a middle class neibhorhood with good well kept housing stock and families and children playing all around you. It truly is a different world and is worthy of setting apart from the rest of the area

grad94
grad94

excuse me, but this "first time in 25 years" claim about a new historic district is ridiculously uninformed.

the cobblestone district was established in 1994. hamlin park was established in 1998. the joseph ellicott district was established ca. 2002. the 500 block of main street was established a year or two ago.

STEEL
STEEL

Of course the streets you list are not in this neighborhood. If you really did live in this area you would know the difference. Again, why just make up crap? Is it just to sh*t on people in this neighborhood and in the city? What is the motive to the fabrications?

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

We are presently working on our application for a Historic District here in Black Rock. Also we have some individual properties that will be listed on the National Register that fall outside the district boundaries. Should be completed by spring of 2011.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

Nice post, I don't see this as a fabrication at all. This is the reality in this area. As a former property owner and resident of Minnesota, Lisbon, and Heath, I have seen the changes first hand and know how many businesses and resident have given up on this part of the city.

sho'nuff
sho'nuff

University Park has always considered themselves a lttle better than the Universiy Heights. I see this as a line in the sand against the encroaching East Side migration. I see this as a way to ensure a higher percentage of owner occupancy which will limit the number of rental properties available for families leaving their rentals in less desirable neighborhoods. This is a provision that is in place in adjacent neighborhoods in Amherst and Kenmore (Capen, Allenhurst, Larchmont, Windemere), it creates a buffer, or a front, against people moving in. There was a fight in Amherst when this was enacted and the expected cries of racism were thrown around quite a bit.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, many have written off the University District in much the same way that they have written off most of the East Side.

STEEL
STEEL

What is your purpose in writing this fabrication?

Lego1981
Lego1981

What about EAST of Main Street?

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Agreed!

It is the UPC, www.upcbuffalo.org/Home_Page.html, which I thought had been on the National Register....

WCPerspective
WCPerspective

More historic districts please!

Curious as to why the beautiful church at NFBlvd. and Main was left out- It's easy to see why the commercial properties on Main and Kenmore don't qualify.

© 2014 Hyperlocal Media. All Rights Reserved.
phytoceramides amazon phytoceramide ingredients healthy skin hydration phytoceramidelife extension phytoceramides phytoceramides amazon