History at Our Feet: Buffalo Pavement Markers
by John Maxfield Hague
Chuck LaChiusa
Paul M. Rooney
(1918-2007)
Craig Carlyle Clarke
Number of identified markers from the 1890-1930 era: 2,029 on 259 streets streets, as of July 2014

See also:
Buffalo Sidewalk Marker Census
Census Table
Eli David Hofeller Biography

TEXT Beneath Illustrations
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Photos taken by John Hague, Chuck LaChiusa and Craig Clarke .
They were not part of the
original article as published in 1988.


Click on photos to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

See 1914 Buffalo City Directory ad

 

 

 

C. 1920, stamps replaced bronze markers

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See 1914 Buffalo City Directory ad and Eli David Hofeller Biography

 

 

 

See 1914 Buffalo City Directory ad and Eli David Hofeller Biography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Most of the time preservationists spend looking up at the interesting buildings that surround us, but an intriguing remnant of Buffalo's history can often be found right beneath our feet.

The builders of sidewalks in many older sections of Buffalo -- generally between the Niagara River on the west, the Kensington expressway on the east, from Summer, Best and Stanislaus Streets and Walden Avenue on the south, to northern limits including Fordham Drive on the 1901 Pan-American Exposition site and Forest and Kensington Avenues -- are identified by bronze pavement marker plates embedded in the concrete.

During extensive walks and surveys through this area in recent years by Paul Rooney, Craig Clarke, myself and others, many of the remaining markers were recorded by notes, sketches and photographs.

So far we have identified thirty-seven sidewalk companies (contractors) who used the plates. The plates were used in sidewalks that were built from 1885 to the 1920s according to evidence including dates on the markers and business listings found in the Buffalo City Directories spanning the four decades from 1885 to 1925. The most common plates were found throughout the area and include those of Buffalo Concrete Paving Co., Crescent Pavement Co., Climax Crushed Stone Pavement Co.(managed by Berkley G. Turner at 74 See Ave., renamed Riverside Avenue after 1900), Buffalo Granolithic Pavement Co., and Electric Paving Co.

Others, such as Omega Pavement Co., Standard Sidewalk Co., and Syenite Paving Co., have been found only at single locations.

A table of most of the companies found in this census follows:

COMPANY ..... ADDRESS ..... PLATE SHAPE & SIZE ..... NUMBER FOUND

American Luxfer Prism....Detroit, Cleveland...Triangle 5"...1

AOUW (Ancient Order of United Workmen) ..... Buffalo N.Y. ..... Rect.2 x 3" ..... 1

Approved Sidewalk Co. ..... 1470 E.Delavan Av. ..... Circle 6" dia. ..... 18

Atlantic Pvg. Co. ..... 34 Helen St. ..... Capital "A", 5 x 6" ..... 3

Black Rock Pvg Co.(H.Holder) ..... 572 Plymouth Ave. ..... Rect.3.5 x 6" ..... 8

Buffalo Artificial Concrete Co. ..... 214, 218 N'hampton St. Bufflao(sic) ..... Rect.3.4 x 6" ..... 1

Buffalo Concrete Pvg.Co. ..... 214 N'hampton St. ..... Rect.3.4 x 6" ..... 209

Buffalo Concrete Pvg.Co. ..... 218 N'hampton St. ..... Rect.3.4 x 6" ..... 43

Buffalo Ferrolithic Pvg.Co. ..... 3 Bldrs' Exch.(1893,'98)..... Rect.3.x 7.7" ..... 28

Buffalo Granolithic Pvt.Co. ..... 73 W.Eagle St.(1890,'96)..... Form閑 cross 4.7x4.7" ..... 73

Buffalo Marblelithic Pvg.Co. (C.Donovan & A.J.Danahy) ..... 1334 Guaranty Bldg.; ..... & 13 Niagara St. ..... Ellipse 3 x 6" ..... 5

Black Rock Metalithic Pvt.Co.(Perkins & Boulding) ..... Black Rock (Buffalo) ..... Rect.3.x7.5" ..... 5

Buffalo Moonlight Pvg.Co. ..... 356 Terrace & Court Sts...... Circle 4.5" dia. ..... 2

City of Buffalo B & M Monument ......... Circle 6"dia .... 23

Climax Crushed Stone Pvt. ..... 74 See Av. (Riverside)..... Rect.3.5 x 7 " ..... 82

Cockburn Bros."A" ..... 43 Bldrs.' Exch. ('98) ..... "A": Rect.3 x 4.5" ..... 61

Cockburn Bros."B" ..... 43 Bldrs.' Exch. ('98) ..... "B": Rect.3.5 x 7"4 ..... 25

Key Stone Pvt. (1893,'94) (Collingwood & Donaldson) ..... Buffalo, N.Y. ..... Keystone 4.5 x 6" ..... 11

Cramer's Granite & Concr.Pvt...... Buffalo, N.Y. ..... Star 6" wide ..... 26

Crawford, E.H...........5" ring .... 6

Crescent Pvt. Co. "A" ..... 96 Erie Cty.Bank Bldg ......Crescent 7" wide ..... 556

Crescent Pvt. Co. "B" ..... 96 Erie Cty.Bank Bldg ...... Crescent 7" wide .....12

Crescent Pvt. Co. "C" ..... 96 Erie Cty.Bank Bldg ...... Crescent 7" wide ..... 135

Crescent Pvt. Co."D" ..... 96 Erie Cty.Bank Bldg...... Rect.4.5 x 5" ..... 13

E. Buffalo Marblelithic Pvg. Co. ..... 1334 Guaranty Bldg ..... Rect. 4 x 6.5" ..... 2

E. Buffalo Marblelithic Pvg.Co. ..... 221 Metcalfe ('96) ..... Rect.4 x 6.5" ..... 7

E. Buffalo Marbleltihic Pvg.Co. .....17 Laird Bldg. ..... Rect.4 x 6.5" ..... 3

Eastern Concrete Steel Co. ..... 400 D.S.Morgan Bldg. ..... Rhombus 3.2 x 6.2" ..... 3

Electric Pvg.Co. (Krohn Bros) ..... 212 Kingsley St. ..... Rect.4 x 6" ..... 217

Empire Pvg.Co. (Wm. Grefe, M'g) ..... 109 Peabody (1899,1900) ..... "E" 4 x 5" ..... 2

Flintolithic Pvg.Co. ..... 54 Boyd St. ..... Rect.3 x 6" ..... 4

German Concrete (L. Stoll) .... 342 Johnson St. .... 2

Gilitic Concrete (Ja's Murphy) ..... 25 Arnold St. ..... Rect.3.5 x 3.5" ..... 2

Harmonia Pvg.Co. ..... 85 Harmonia St. ..... Octagon ~4" dia. ..... 21

Eureka Conc.Pvg.Co. (Cockburn Bro's) ..... Bldrs' Exch.,Buffalo Rect.6.5 x 4" ..... 13

International Granolithic (C. J. Welch & Longley) ... 45 Roberts Ave. ... 8

METALLIC (Perkins & Boulding) ..... Black Rock ..... Rect. 7.5 x 5" ....11

METALLIC (Perkins & Gilpatrick) ..... Black Rock ..... Rect. 7.5 x 5" ..... 6

New York State Scal .... 5" x 7" .... 1Omega Pavement (N.Richley) ..... 34 Lyth Avenue, Buffalo ..... Omega 4.7 x 5" ..... 2

Queen City Paving Co. .... 24 Roma Av.Buffalo N.Y. ..... Crown 6 x 3" ..... 10

Seibert, Rob't ..... 1000 Prudential Bldg.(1899)& D.S.Morgan Bldg. ..... Star in 4" circle ..... 12

Parkside Concreting ..... 123 E.Parade Ave.(J.J.Stoll) ..... Buffalo N.Y. ..... Heart 4 x 3" ..... 34

People's Paving Co. ..... 91 Roma St. Buffalo N.Y. Circle 4" dia. ..... 9

PETROLITHIC (Cockburn Bros.& Co) ..... 43 Builders Ex. Bldg. ..... Rectangle 7x 4" ..... 35

Seibert & Parker Pvg.Co. ..... 1000 Prudential Bldg. ..... Oblong 12x4" ..... 33

Standard Sidewalk Co. (J. B. Constantine) . ..... 212 W. Forest Avenue Buffalo N.Y . ..... Circle with two smaller overlapping side circles ..... 4 x 6" .....2

Syenite Paving Co. (1893) ..... Buffalo, N.Y. ..... Circle 4" dia. ..... 2

Undergropund Railroad, Bufflo, New York .... Rhombus 12" (with footprints pointing N. to Canada) .... 1

Vesuvius Pvg.Co. (D.F.& M. Palumbo) ..... 1490 E.Delevan (1892) ..... Star within a circle 6" dia. ..... 15 Edison Ave. ..... Star 6" dia. ..... 23

Victor Pvg.Co.1895 (C. Gill, R.Howell & H.Holder)..... 312 Penn' St. ..... Rect.3 x 7" ..... 28

Vulcanite Paving Co.(Hiram R. Hankin) ..... 283 Riley St. ..... Rect.5.5 x 3" ..... 14

Walden Pavement Co. & Walden Marblelithic Pvt.Co. (Cha's Gruber) ..... 283 Walden Av. ..... Rect.3.1 x 6" ..... 20

Our studies of the local sidewalk pavement industry have not yet turned up any written accounts or other records from those now-deceased contractors or their workers or families (nothing more personal than City Directory entries such as home addresses and death information, e.g., listing of Mary Krohn, "widow of John Krohn," who at various times managed contractors including Electric Paving Co. of 212 Kingsley Street and Buffalo Concrete Paving Co. of 214-218 Northampton Street.) The single block of Coe Street, which included five bronze markers in somewhat deteriorated sidewalks (three Crescent Pavement Co. and two Buffalo Concrete Paving Co.), was not paved until 1929, having previously been a walkway, according to Winthrop D. Allen III, who cites Cybele Reppert in the BUFFALO TIMES, c. 1930. Descendants of E. D. Hofeller, principal of Crescent Pavement Co. (residence 529 Linwood Ave.) sent us his
photo. Crescent pavement mrkers are 1/3 of the total found through 2007.

More detailed anecdotal information would be very helpful in our attempts to document, via articles or a book, this local industry that produced many miles of sidewalk that continue in service after a century of use, with exposure to many passersby, and cycles of freeze-thaw temperature changes, rain, and snow.

Please let me know of any information, or possible leads, about the local sidewalk-paving industry. Please send the information to 186 Linwood Ave., Buffalo NY 14209 or call me at (716)882-5761, or
e-mail. Contributions will be gratefully incorporated into my documentation, returned, and acknowledged.

A census of bronze sidewalk markers in Buffalo has been carried out & is reported in text & color photos above.

Locations are documented in Lotus "1-2-3" spreadsheets, & are too complicated for publication here. Unfortunately, many markers, probably about half, have been lost since they were originally enumerated -- owing to sidewalk damage & replacement or theft.

We would appreciate notification from Preservationworks readers (
e-mail or (716) 882-5761) of any information on Buffalo sidewalk masons between 1890 & 1930, when most if not all markers were installed, or of any marker types (& their location) not shown in the enclosed table & photographs on our pages A & D.

- John Maxfield Hague, et al., (716) 248-4719 (April 2012)


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