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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Speed Demon: 1904

Speed Demon: 1904

Buffalo, New York, circa 1904. "Delaware Avenue." Hitching posts, mounting blocks, ice wagons and gaslight at the dawn of the automobile age. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Beautiful Buffalo

Thank you for another gorgeous shot of beautiful Buffalo! I grew up in Buffalo and although some of this beauty is lost, we still have quite a bit.

Delaware Avenue today

Looks pretty much the same.


View Larger Map

Mark Twain and Buffalo winters

The story of all the millionaires on this street reminds me that Mark Twain married and retired to Buffalo. After digging for gold in California, Twain became a gold digger and married into money.

I wonder what this street looked like during the next winter. How on earth did they clear the streets, or did all the millionaires go to Florida? I will always remember visiting Buffalo in May and seeing huge, melting mounds of plowed snow. Puts their winter into perspective.

Two ladies?

I suspect the man is adjusting the lady's stirrup. Remember that even an ankle showing during this time was shocking, so I seriously doubt he was doing anything even slightly inappropriate.

What is truly odd is that the sorrel horse is wearing a sidesaddle as well. Men didn't ride sidesaddle. I wonder if the dark horse threw a shoe and the man was allowing the lady to ride his horse home? Or is there another lady we can't see?

[Count the legs -- there are three horses in this group. - Dave]

So civilized!

Wow. Such a quiet, peaceful street scene!

It's hard to imagine such a civilized world.

Beautiful Homes

I walk this stretch of Delaware Avenue every day at lunch. This was the address to have in Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century. I have heard it said that more millionaires lived in Buffalo than any other American city at the time.

Many of these homes are still standing but occupied by businesses. I can only imagine what it was like growing up in one of these places.

Those trees are no longer there, like the millions of others wiped out by Dutch Elm disease.

Oh my!

I was more than a little shocked when I saw the man on the left with his hand under the skirt of the lady on the white horse. Even if it is her husband, I believe that show of affection in public was more than a little risque. I have to admit though, I do think it's very romantic.

Vroom

Must be a crazed teenage driver. I bet he has that thing up to 15, maybe 20 mph!

Delaware Avenue

In 1901, President William McKinley was shot at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo and brought to the home of Expo head John Milburn at 1168 Delaware Avenue. (The house was later, unbelievably, torn down and paved over for a parking lot -- with schoolchildren watching.)

When McKinley took a turn for the worse, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt made his famous dash from Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks to Buffalo -- the trail is still there today. Feeling it was inappropriate to swear in at Mr. Milburn's house, where McKinley was being autopsied, Roosevelt moved his inauguration to his friend Ansley Wilcox's mansion, a away at 641 Delaware Avenue. Today, it is the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site.

Grew up here

Thank you for showing this elegant street in its prime. I grew up in Buffalo and you could always catch a hint of what once was when driving down Delaware Avenue.

Time Travel

I have a new favorite. Full size, zoom in, and walk back in time. Well done, Dave.

Uh-oh

I suspect that we'll soon see a Google Street View that shows this lovely tree-lined street of serenity has been replaced by one choked with automobiles, strip malls and gas stations. I hope I'm wrong.

Can't help but notice

The woman riding sidesaddle. Her gentleman friend seems extra helpful.

Even from 106 years and 2,000 miles away

I can hear those horses flipping out, and the riders screaming, "Slow down, you whippersnapper!"

Elm trees!

And American Elms lining the street.

Clop-clop

And the rare rider on horseback in a city.

I would love to be there

Finally horseback riders! I would love to ride a horse around the city streets with no cars. Nice houses too. Those people were so lucky.

 
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