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From: "J DOT Henry Priebe Jr DOT " root AT bluemoon DOT net
Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 14:53:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: (erielack) DL&W Delaware Avenue overpass
"07-NorthBuffalo1951Aerial.gif" - image/gif, 976x746+0+0 (16c)

On Sun, 9 Dec 2007, Ron wrote:

> Henry, Dale,
> Doing a little more research, the DL&W originally crossed Delaware Ave. at
> grade level. I suspect that sometime in the 20's the tracks were elevated.
> I've seen a photo of a concrete bridge across Delaware. Per my photo, in
> 1949 it was replaced with a steel bridge.
> However, it appears the tracks were elevated originally over Military Road,
> as they had to continue at an elevated level to cross the new York Central.
> Also they were originally at grade level across Colvin Ave. I'm not sure
> what the situation was at Elmwood Ave. My 1894 map seems to indicate Elmwood
> stopped at the tracks and resumed at the other side. Perhaps Henry has a
> more info on this.

The only map I have that shows Elmwood stopping and starting right at the
DL&W, is a 1894 City Atlas. The 1901 USGS map shows Elmwood stopping at Hertel
400 yards short of the Erie and then resuming on the other side of the DL&W
(550 yards past the Erie) at Hinman. I confirmed this via the 1893 Sanborn
set, which shows Elmwood named Mc Pherson Ave north of Amherst St. The two
Buffalo Sanborn sets from 1900 and earlier don't cover that far out from
downtown in individual pages. The 1900 Volume 4 index page shows the tracks
and layout of streets in the area, but there are no actual map pages. The 1901
Pan American Exposition may have encouraged its early development, who knows.
The Pan Am Expo site is included in the 1900 Sanborn set and the 1901 USGS
map also shows the general layout of the grounds. The next Sanborn set I have
shows a 1935 copyright date, which is after the Erie County 1927 aerial
survey. The 1927 aerials show everything fully grade separated except the Erie
at Elmwood, an oblique angle grade crossing, and Starin, which was

The 1894 City Atlas shows the DL&W crossing Military Rd on a bridge and also
the Erie crossing Hertel Ave on a bridge. All other crossings from Black Rock
to International Jct are shown at grade. I think we can safely say both
bridges were installed when the branches were built. I went through my PDF of
the "History of the Abolition of Railroad Grade Crossings in the City Buffalo"
that was written some time around the turn of the twentieth century and there
was no mention of North Buffalo at all, only downtown area tracks. Before the
turn of that century that area was still pretty rural so that's no suprise. It
seems as if it really started being built up around WWI when the aircraft
industry started taking off. Glenn Curtis built a 31 acre aircraft factory in
1917 between the DL&W and Erie on Elmwood. Spurs are visible from both the
DL&W and Erie in the 1927 aerial. Again, the Sanborns don't show a lot useful
for when the plant was in use by Curtiss, which was only for a short time. In
the 1916-1940 set (looks like a 1916 map) it is just a blank area and in the
1925-1951 set it is shown, but listed as "Plant Vacant" and owned by the
General Service Administration Public Buildings Service. The page says "New
Sheet June 1919," but there is no copyright date on it so it is impossible to
tell when the vacant notation was added. It also says "Admittance Refused."
It does show some sidings in place on both sides and they appear to still be
in place in a 1951 aerial, probably hoping for industrial development of the

Interestingly, the 1900 Sanborn index shows two streets paralleling the Erie
where it turned south between Delaware and Elmwood, Julian Ave from Delaware
to Olive St on the north side and Comet Ave from Camden to Hertel (crossing
Elwood with the Erie) on the south side. Julian was gone by the 1927 aerial
and Comet isn't even really visble at all, it looks more like a dirt path
behind a long industrial looking building complex that is south of the Erie at
Delaware. The industrial buildings aren't listed on the 1935 Sanborn. Comet
was cut back at least from Hertel to Hartwell on the 1935 Sanborn, but appears
to be a full fledged street. In a later Sanborn it says "Not Opened" and shows
a lumber pile in the middle of the street. In the back to the future category,
Julian was sort of recreated on the alignment of the Erie and runs almost to
Elmwood from Delaware. It is unnamed as it is wholly on the developed
property. Neither one is shown on the 1893 Sanborn or 1901 USGS maps. Oh,
Ralph, the 1935 Sanborn shows the Y as being built in 1928 with a pool and

On the east side of Delaware there are two coal yards shown in the 1935
Sanborn. The one north of the DL&W and on the east side of Delware is just
labeled "Coal Yard," "Coal Bins," "Off" for offices and "Scales," but the one
between the Erie and DL&W was apparently only served by the DL&W at that time
is named as the "Hedstrom-Spaulding Inc Coal Yard." The Erie served the Great
Lakes Lumber Corp on its south side. Both bridges over Delaware are labeled as
"Conc & Steel Bridge."

I have included several map snippets with this post to illustrate some of the
above descriptions.


J. Henry Priebe Jr. Blue Moon Internet Corp Network Administrator Internet Access & Web Hosting Railfan Network Services


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