Buffalo illustrated, frame by frame – Buffalo Rising

In my neighborhood, I have noticed that a few homeowners have taken it upon themselves to visually document their homes for passers-by. They did this by framing historic photos of their homes, to help tell the story of their respective streets. The frames are then glued to a tree in the yard, near a sidewalk. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people standing in front of these houses, pondering their history.

For years, I passed 24 Ashland Avenue and observed the only historical photograph of the house nailed to this tree.

24 Ashland Avenue, over the years – notice the missing porch?

A few weeks ago, an updated triptych replaced the single photo, giving an even deeper appreciation for the house’s tale. I like the third historical image which shows the house in the context of the neighborhood. There are even a few handwritten notes regarding the image from around 1890 that point to a horse and buggy, as well as (possibly) the sapling that grew in the huge tree that flanks the property.

24 Ashland Avenue

More recently, an owner of 89 Norwood posted a historic image of his house, circa 1905 (main image). Similar to the Ashland House, it is interesting to see how the house has evolved over the years. In this case, there are so many changes including the arch and pins of the porch entrance, and even the locations of the windows.

89 Norwood Avenue, circa 1905

Either way, the current homeowners have done a great job maintaining their homes, despite some setbacks over time. Their pride in their properties is clearly illustrated by this timeline project which offers valuable insight into the history of their homes, for anyone willing to take the time to pay attention.

In 2018, on a trip to Providence, RI, I was struck by the number of historic homes featuring plaques, fashioned directly onto the structures. Each of the simple plaques told a story about a house, including the date of construction and the “last name” of the house. It was fascinating to walk around and meditate on the formations in the neighborhood. I always thought it would be great to see something similar in Buffalo. Maybe this pictorial framing project is the start of a fun grassroots initiative that would serve a similar purpose? It would be great to see the Buffalo History Museum involved in such an endeavor.

queen's eyes

Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder of the Powder Keg Festival which built the largest ice maze in the world (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurious! winter party. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator of the Saturday Craft Market (SAM) in Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of retro and vintage market The Peddler on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Kick off Witches’ Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and the Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | [email protected]

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