Sunday, March 27, 2011

Power to the People, Tesla's Current Reaches Buffalo

Run by Falls Power
Street Cars Operated by the New Current

Buffalo Express/Commercial Advertiser Nov. 19 1896
  The cars of the Buffalo Railway Company began yesterday to move by water-power. The mighty energy of Niagara Falls, harnessed to turbine wheels, and transmitted over copper wires to Buffalo, supplied the force that turned the wheels of traffic and brought nickels to the coffers of the street car company. The success of the transmission of the power was completely and fully demonstrated.
  There has not been at any time since the first dynamo began to revolve at the falls, any doubt that the energy could be brought successfully to Buffalo.  Never-the-less, the experiment was the greatest ever attempted in conveying such a volume of power to such a distance, and cautious people waited until yesterday, when the first practical application of the power in Buffalo was made, before crowing too much over the new force that is to revolutionize business and bring mills and factories and people to the Electric City.
   At 10 o'clock in the morning Niagara Falls power was turned on to the system of the Buffalo Railway Company and all the cars on Main Street between Ohio Street and Cold Spring Barns were operated by Niagara Falls Power, also the cars on East Ferry Street and Kensington Ave. 
Power Lines to Buffalo
  The test was made in this part of the city in order that the general public might have an opportunity of observing the test of running the cars by electricity generated at Niagara Falls, conveyed to Buffalo over long distance wires from the power house of the Cataract City.  In every respect the test was satisfactory. Motormen had no difficulty in running their cars smoothly and on time. There was no hitch. There were no delays. The experiment was an experiment no longer. It was a complete success. Not many of the thousands of passengers who rode through Main Street, knew the cars which they rode were propelled by power generated 26 miles away, and borrowed from the worlds mightiest cataract.
  For years the eyes of the whole world were on Niagara Falls and Buffalo.  The transportation of power from the mighty cataract to the great city at the foot of the lake was an event that called for the world-wide interest of electricians, scientists and businessmen. It meant the revolutionizing of industry.  
   Today the mighty waters of Niagara revolved the wheels of the street railway system of this city, proving beyond a doubt that the power can travel, that the wheels of factory and of mill can be turned miles away from the cataract by the power generated at Niagara Falls. It is a great day for Buffalo, a day to be made memorable by the successful test of one of the greatest electric feats known to the world. 
The Edward Dean Adams Power Plant,  the first power plant at 
Niagara Falls, the ‘father’ of the modern electric power plant. 
This plant opened in 1895. Was the first big plant to generate and
transmit current by means of Tesla Polyphase System."
  There was no ceremony at the turning on of the power, but at the power house were a number of officials who closely watched the test. One of the officials of the Buffalo Railway Company, who closely observed the testing of the power as it was tried for the first time this morning, said:   "It is like the work of an expert watch maker.  Every part of the intricate mechanism of the watch must be closely inspected, every minute detail closely observed. We are regulating the mechanism and the power much as a watch-maker regulates a watch. We will let the cars run for several hours by Niagara Falls Power, observing it's action carefully, then switch it off and make use of our observations. Presently we will have everything just right and then the new power will be used continuously. Todays test has been very satisfactory. That is all that can be said at present."
  Following the line along the river bank, for a distance of about 26 miles, the electric current travels to Buffalo. Today the people of this city have the opportunity to observe the practical and successful working of the energy generated at Niagara Falls.

   Nicola Tesla, writing of the future of Buffalo in 1893, said: "The energy of Niagara Falls is equal to 5,000,000 or possibly 6,000,000 horse power, while 4,000,000 horse power economically directed, would run all the machinery, drive every steamship, run every railroad, heat and light every store and house in the United States.  I believe that it will soon be possible to carry such energy 1,000 miles with slight loss, and that eventually it will be transmitted without any wire. I believe that in thus claiming the waste water power of the world and sending it's energy broadcast, lies the future usefulness of electrical science.  No achievement that can be thought of compares with the possibility of emancipating all that army of laborers which now toils in mine and forest to supply the nation with fuel, and the other army that is needed to transport, distribute and use it."
... [As a youth] I was fascinated by a description of Niagara Falls I had perused, and pictured in my imagination a big wheel run by the Falls. I told my uncle that I would go to America and carry out this scheme. Thirty years later I saw my ideas carried out at Niagara and marveled at the unfathomable mystery of the mind.”  Nicola Tesla

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hertel Avenue - Not Worth A Sewer!

Hertel Avenue As It Is - 1887

Old House On Hertel Avenue, Near Colvin Street

   Buffalo Express April 3, 1887 The public-spirited citizen of Buffalo in these days finds many questions, touching the prosperity of this city, well worth careful consideration.  One of them is building a sewer through Hertel Ave.  This avenue is nearly four miles long, and runs from the Niagara River at lower Black Rock across the extreme northern side of the city, to Main Street.  For the greater part of its length it is a country road.  The land through which it runs is largely held by land associations and others who anticipate a rapid development of the section as a residence neighborhood. 

Hertel Avenue, Buffalo -- Near Cornelius Creek

  These property holders are of course eager for improvements, and claim that many would follow the construction of the desired sewer, concerning which THE EXPRESS has said: "It is difficult to present any good reason for building the proposed sewer. No truthful man in his senses will maintain that the sewer is needed now, or likely to be needed many years to come. It's only present use would be to create a demand for outlying farm lands cut up into city lots, and that is only a personal and local reason which should have no weight whatever with the Legislature. The business of the Senate and the Assembly is to legislate for the public interest--and not for individual.  The proposed law to bond the City in order to make this local  improvement, which is not even needed, would be special legislation of the most glaring character."
  The accompanying illustrations well show the character and scenery of the Hertel Avenue District.  The old stone house, shown in the picture, stands at the head of Colvin Street, and is uninhabited. The lintel over the front door bears a remarkable inscription in what appears to be misspelled Dutch, as follows: 18 { MACH - TAILENA - PEOHL - W } 45  The members of the Historical Society or any local archeologist who can render this into intelligible English, and concoct a theory to go with it will deserve the renown given by Dickens to the Pickwick Club. The interpretation may be "Magdalena Pfohl", or it may not. The reader may formulate a better translation if he can. 
  The third illustration gives a view on Hertel Avenue, looking through the Erie Trestle near Cornelius Creek.

Hertel Avenue Looking Through the Erie Trestle

Editors Note:  Of course we all know now what Hertel Avenue has become, one of the most vibrant and active thoroughfares in Buffalo. But in 1887 it's potential was not as easily recognized, at least not by the Editors of the BUFFALO EXPRESS anyway. Oh, and by the way, can anyone interpret the words on the lentil of the house above, MACH - TAILENA - PEOHL - W ?  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Girl Scout Pioneers of Buffalo - 1917


January 12, 1923
TROOP 1, Organized by Jennie Trumble in 1917 Five Years 
After the National Organization was Founded

Jennie Trumble
  The oldest and largest and one of the most active of the Girl Scout Troops of Buffalo, is Troop 1, meeting in Babcock Street Community House under the leadership of Mrs. George Trumble. Mrs. Trumble has been captain of Troop 1 since she organized it in St. Peter's Evangelical Church on April 10 in 1917 as the American Beauty Rose Troop 1, with 15 girls as charter members.  "I was always interested in Boy Scouts," said Mrs. Trumble, "as Mr. Trumble was scoutmaster of Troop 37, and I thought it was a mighty fine organization. Why not have it for girls? 
I saw an article in a Sunday paper about Philadelphia Girl Scouts. Anyone interested was asked to write to Girl Scout headquarters in New York. This I did and Troop 1 was organized from New York, as there was no local Girl Scout Council in Buffalo at the time. 
  Mrs. Trumble's application to national headquarters for a captains commission was signed by the Rev. T.V. Bode and Mrs. M. Moyer.  In due time the application was approved and Captain Trumble held her first meeting, the girls being taught whistle signals and each girl making for herself a copy of the scout promise and laws. At the second meeting on April 17, Troop 35 of the Boy Scouts, invited Troop 1, Girl Scouts to attend it's next meeting. That invitation was accepted and the boys gave a demonstration of scout work. The Boy Scout troop, at the conclusion of this meeting, presented the Girl Scout troop with a flag. By the time of the May 15 meeting of Troop 1 the membership had grown to 31. This meeting was attended by a field organizer from Girl Scout national headquarters in New York, and Mrs. Daniel K Stucki, treasurer of the newly organized Girl Scout Council of Buffalo, of which Ada M. Gates was the first commissioner. The Girls were given a talk on Scout work by the field organizer, and were taught a number of new games. Miss Ruth Nagel joined the Troop at this meeting as a lieutenant to assist Mrs. Trumble.
Members of Troop 1 Lackawanna, Leona Holstein-
Patrol Leader, Annie Reynolds, Mildred Bowen 
and Elizabeth Radder-Patrol Leader (1922)
  As the pioneer Girls Scout Troop in Buffalo, Troop 1 was being closely observed and was frequently asked to demonstrate Scouting to groups of interested girls and parents. During it's first year 35 girls passed their tenderfoot  examinations. Shortly after celebrating it's first anniversary, the troop went to Dom Polski and gave a demonstration of Scout work. The Troop also demonstrated a model Girl Scout meeting in connection with the Red Cross Pageant. About this time Miss Marie Nicklis succeeded Miss Nagel as lieutenant of the troop. 
  Troop 1's members were active in the Liberty Loan campaigns, one member receiving a bronze medal from the Federal government for selling the largest number of bonds. Other civic good turns performed by members of Troop 1 included the distribution of Liberty Loan circulars and the distribution of more than 3,000 cards during the thrift campaign, and helping in the thrift kitchen on Saturday mornings during the war. The girls had penny savings accounts which they kept active for two years, when they turned their savings into government thrift stamps.

Editors Note: Mrs. Trumble led Troop 1 for 25 years. She also served as the leader of the Park-Delaware District, Girl Scout Council of Buffalo & Erie County and led a troop at St. Mary's School For the Deaf. She retired from scouting in 1947, and passed away Sept. 9, 1970.

Lou Henry Hoover
  Did you know that Herbert Hoover’s wife "Lou" served as president of the Girl Scouts and helped coordinate one of the first Girl Scout Cookie Drives in 1935? 
  In the 1920s and 1930s, Girl Scouts all across the country baked their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers. They then packaged their coookies in wax paper bags sealed with a sticker and sold them door-to-door for 25 to 35 cents a dozen.

These facts are from a wonderful Blog Titled: 
THE HISTORY CHEF! Who new that learning about history could be so delicious? (click here) It is history from a unique perspective that is sure to accommodate everyones appetite.

Editor: If you would like the recipe for the original Girl Scout Cookies, 
go to The History Chef directly at this link: 

The Girl Scouts Their History and Practice

Monday, March 7, 2011

Horsing Around in Buffalo - Long Live The King!

Buffalo Renowned for Horses in Coaching Days 

  Forty five years ago this summer(1946), all Buffalo was discussing the latest innovation in family carriages with the same zest the exploits of Bob Feller and Ted Williams now receive. For Buffalo was crazy for horses both before and after the turn of the century. Every home of any size had its stable in the rear.
Mambrino King, The Handsomest Horse in the World
  Even today, the old guard in dozens of Western New York stables are making preparations for the fall horse shows, county fairs and harness meets in the old tradition. As they shine their gear in preparation for the big days ahead their talk sometimes turns to the old days when Delaware, Linwood and Richmond Avenues were the show places of the equine world. They remember stables maintained by Seymore H. Knox Sr., the Cary Family, Frank A. Babcock and hundreds of others in all stages of wealth and affluence. Perhaps some speak once in a while of Mambrino King, the "handsomest horse in the world".
  The King was owned by Cicero Jabez Hamlin, grandfather of Chauncey J. Hamlin, president of the Buffalo Museum of Science.  On May 1, 1855 Mr. Hamlin founded the Village Farm in East Aurora.
As the years progressed the farm became famed as the worlds greatest trotting nursery, breeding more world's champions than any other single farm in either hemisphere. The Hamlin Stock Farm became famous the world over as the home of Mambrino King, Chimes, Almont, Junior, and of the beautiful recordbreaking Belle Hamlin. Mr. Hamlin dearly loved his horses and never drove a poor one. He did a great deal to improve the quality of stock in Western New York and in the country at large. In 1868, with others, he bought the ground which has ever since been the home of the Buffalo Driving Park.
  Mambrino King was the farm's Museum piece. In 1882 Cicero Hamlin bought the 10-year old for $25,000. Two years later, the King had attracted no less than 16,000 visitors who went "all the way to East Aurora" just to see him. Mambrino King was led in and out of his stall 170 times in one weekend so that he could be admired by horse lovers. This apparently was exercise for both the King and his grooms. The horse was a magnificent chestnut, sixteen and a half hands high and pronounced by French officers, who made a visit expressly to see him, "the handsomest horse in the world." In his lifetime, he attracted over 30,000 visitors to East Aurora.
Mambrino King 1896 - The Most Famous 
Show Ring Champion Known To Trotting
 Horse History
  Mambrino King is credited with fifty-seven trotters and twenty pacers with standard records. At the close of 1927 he was credited with 42 sons that had got 226 trotters and 228 pacers with standard records. He had also got 107 daughters that had produced 134 trotters and 90 pacers with standard records.
  Finally the King grew old and Mr. Hamlin was forced to dispose of him. He engaged a veterinary to chloroform the gorgeous horse, and had a grave dug in East Aurora. The King still rests beneath the lawn in front of the home at 100 North Willow Street, his spirit still pounding down the stretch at the old Hamlin Driving Park.


A historic marker there reads:  "Here among the trees and on the old Hamlin Farm lies buried Mambrino King. Mr. Cicero Hamlin bought this 'most handsome horse in the world' in 1882. Many thousands of people came to the Village Farm to admire this sire of a famous line of trotting and racing horses."


   All the racing didn't take part on formal tracks. One old resident recalls that on cold winter afternoons, "stern faced men" invaded Delaware Ave. They drove fast horses hitched to light sleighs and staged races to decide tavern wagers. The races continued until the lamp-lighters appeared, hurrying from gas light to gaslight with their long wands. As the shades were pulled down and the candles and gas mantels were lighted in the homes along the avenue in preparation for the evening meal, the racers disappeared, only to come back the next day.
   The more staid citizens owned coaches of many kinds. They took vast pride in their turnouts. Form in appointments and gear was as important as form now is to golf or tennis. The acceptable code for buckles, for example, was square for Victorias, Broughms, George IV Ladies' Phaetons and other town vehicles. The horseshoe shaped buckle was acceptable for road work. Form extended to the drivers, whether groom or owner. Most of the grooms and coachmen were European trained and were men of the world, having traveled as cavalrymen or family retainers over the highways of many countries before coming to Buffalo.

May 26, 1895
The Establishment of a New Boulevard Route Between Buffalo and Niagara Falls
  The last Sunday in May will go down in history as the date of the informal opening of a coach route between Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The establishment of such a route is due to the coaching propensities of Mr. Seward Carey, one of the best whips in the country. The coach, which is pictured in todays Express with Mr. Seward Carey on the box, is the well known Brewster coach Vivid, which took first prize at the World's Fair and ran between New York and Philadelphia in the Spring of 1894. It has been re-christened Red Jacket and will be conducted as a public road coach on the Buffalo Niagara Falls route during pleasant weather.

Seward Cary's Road Coach Red Jacket, to Run Daily
 Between Buffalo and Niagara Falls
  The route will be down Genesee St. to Niagara Square, up Delaware Ave. along the edge of North Park, and over the Buffalo-Tonawanda boulevard to the Lumber City, eight miles away, where the first change of horses will be made. Owing to the unfavorable conditions of the River Road between Gratwick and LaSalle, which is now torn up for the construction of the new electric railway, the route for present will be diverted by way of Johnsburg and Bergholtz villages, rerturning to the River Road at LaSalle, where the second change of horses will be made. 
   From LaSalle the six mile drive is especially delightful, part of it lying in the Niagara Falls Reservation close by the grandest rapids in the world. The route is 22 miles long, 12 of it over smooth brick and asphalt pavements. It is expected that the 22 miles will be covered with three relays in two hours. It is proposed to leave Buffalo at 10 a.m., reaching Niagara Falls at 12 o'clock. The coach will remain at the falls four hours, and will be due in Buffalo again at 6 p.m.

Other Horse Related Story Links:  Horsing Around In Buffalo
Fire Fighting in the Horse Drawn Era