I’ve been wanting to write about Lafayette High School ever since the first time I actually walked past it about a year and a half ago with a friend of mine. I, of course, had seen it before, but until you walk past a building, it’s easy to miss how incredible it can be. And the more I walk in the area, the more I notice all the spectacular homes and buildings along here too. Little did I know what I’d find once I really got into it.
When I first sat down to research the area, I remembered another friend of mine, Martha, grew up on Parkdale. I shot her a text to find out which house was hers at the time, and during a small flurry of texts, I thought that she might like to take a walk. She wanted to, our schedules happened to match up, and so we set out the next day.
Come Hike With Me
For this particular hike, Martha and I met up at the southwest corner of Grant Street, at Sweet_ness 7 Cafe. Martha tells me this was a bakery when she lived just around the block on Parkdale. More recently though, it was a beautiful little full service coffee shop, with amazing food, great service and original art. Yes, I said art. Both inside and out. But today I’ll just tell you a story of the mural on the exterior of the building.
A few years ago now, I sat down with Prish Moran, owner of the building, and talked about how Sweet_ness 7 came to be. She told me how she purchased the building and set about getting her vision for the cafe off the ground. The exterior first floor was covered with graffiti. And not the good kind. Lots of nastiness. When it proved to be much too difficult to remove, Prish painted that section of the building brown in an attempt to make it appear a bit better. Afterwards, people in the area began to ‘suggest’ she do something to brighten up the drab brown-ness of it all.
And Brighten it Up, She Did
One day Prish came across a page she had torn out of a magazine that was, basically, the mural that she ended up painting.
Wait until you hear this. Not long after painting it, Prish was sitting inside the unfinished cafe. She was going through bills, hoping she hadn’t made a huge mistake by buying the building, when someone knocked at the door. When she answered it, there was a man there with several women. He introduced himself, and told Prish he was taking the women, who were Burmese refugees, for a walk through the neighborhood. He was showing them around and when they came upon the building, the women became very excited. They began to cry tears of joy.
They explained that when they arrived in Buffalo they were uncertain about the future for their families and for themselves in a new country. Understandable. But when they saw the painting on the side of Prish’s building, they were reassured that they were exactly where they were meant to be. You see, the painting is of a Burmese Fertility Goddess.
Prish had no idea that’s what it was, she just liked it. But after meeting the women at her door that day, Prish knew that she too was exactly where she was meant to be at that time. Of course we all know the cafe turned out to be a huge success.
Sad, but True
Sweet_ness 7 is temporarily closed right now. In an email Prish tells me that both Sweet_ness 7 and the Tabernacle are currently available for rent. I’ll list Prish’s contact information at the end of this post. As for Prish, she has purchased an inn in the Adirondacks. She is, as usual, fearlessly following one of her many dreams.
We here in Buffalo are looking forward to the return of a cafe to this corner.
On With the Hike
Across Grant from Sweet_ness 7 is this little bit of sweetness, below. This home has been brought back to life in the last several years. Love it. My favorite part? The outdoor spaces. Both of the porches that face Lafayette, and the brilliant rooftop patio over the garage on Grant. That last one is perfect for this spot! Makes me want to sit up there with friends and family on a Saturday night in the summer, sipping cocktails. I’d also like to see what’s been done to the basement, I’m intrigued.
Everything here makes sense. From the commercial space in the garage to the solar panels on the roof of the house. It all just works.
Across the street is what used to be Annunciation Parish. Martha tells me that this was her church growing up. When I asked if she walked to church, she said, “We walked everywhere.” And the story began to unfold as we walked and looked at the homes along the way.
This is Our Lady of Hope Parish today, a merger of Annunciation, Our Lady of Loretto, and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s a vibrant, multicultural, West Side, Roman Catholic Church. I’m going to have to check this one out some weekend.
Moving Right Along
Back on the other side of the street we see this. I love the dormer on this house!
And this. Check this place out! The style? Second Empire, with attitude. Okay, that’s not a real thing. But those awesome colors, and that monstrous red Medina sandstone porch. Wow. And you can’t see it in any of the photos I took, but there’s an entire house in the backyard! I’m not talking about an in-law cottage. I’m talking about a full house!
And there are others with homes in the backyard right along this stretch. At least five in this square block. It’s curious, but I think it’s cool in a way too. Wonder how that ever came to be? Full homes, in behind others. Interesting.
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur
These next few buildings are the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. I feel bad saying I’ve never heard of them. They taught at Annunciation School when it was open. And they are still here, busy as ever, ministering to the people of the West Side. Excellent.
As a matter of fact, in 2019, the sisters celebrated 200 years of ministry! From their website,
“In this century, as we have become a diverse, global community, the Sisters have been attuned to the changing times, extending themselves beyond the classroom. Parish ministry, refugee work, standing against human trafficking, teaching ESL, home visiting, counseling, spiritual direction and prayer groups are among the many works the Sisters have assumed as the Spirit has led.”
I have a lot of respect for sisters. They, unlike priests, give up all their worldly possessions, take a vow of poverty and agree to serve “as the Spirit has led”. It’s really amazing when you think about it.
Annunciation School, that is. At one time it was K-12, serving the entire community. I knew there was a K-8 grammar school here, but didn’t realize it was a high school originally as well. Interesting. Martha went here for grammar school, along with many of the neighborhood children. The students used to (lovingly, I’m sure!) call the school “A Nun’s Creation”. I see what they did there! Haha. Love it!
The school is now closed, but the first floor of the building is a professional incubator office space, and the Rose Garden Early Childhood Center. There are 20 loft apartments of varying sizes above. It’s a great re-use, and if you look at the website, you can see that they’ve kept some of the old school fixtures, like chalkboards! Again, interesting!
The Discovery Trail
I should mention that throughout this hike, we came to stops on the Discovery Trail. It’s a one mile trail that starts at the West Buffalo Charter School at 113 Lafayette, and is marked on the sidewalks of Lafayette Ave between DeWitt and Baynes. The theme of this trail is ‘welcome all cultures’.
I love when a city/neighborhood has these kinds of things. It makes a child love getting out and taking an urban hike! It’s the type of thing they’ll reminisce about someday!
Seriously, if you live in the area, and you haven’t seen these, take a walk. They’re designed by school children at WBCS…and they’re inspiring!
I’ll drop photos of them in, here and there, during our hike so you can experience them just like we did…as we went along.
Back to the hike. As we round the corner on to Parkdale, and as we pass the side of the old school, these are the homes we see.
There are so many things I notice about this home, below. Let’s start at the peak with the pebbled dash. I want to say that there’s a design to the pebbling, but from this angle, I can’t say for sure. The tiles that are set into the bricks are unusual. Martha and I agreed they’ve probably always been there. Note that the bricks directly above the tiles stand out further from the rest, probably to protect the tiles.
Off to the left, you can see that the entry door is on the side of the enclosed porch. But the front of the house has another door, with large sidelights. I like that in the good weather both doors can be open to allow plenty of fresh air.
And this one below, is in great shape! It looks like the upper porch was re-done at some point. I probably wouldn’t have thought to do it, but they saved some of the wrought iron when they did the porch. Really nice touch.
Martha’s Family Home
Next is the home Martha grew up in. She lived here with her parents, three brothers and one sister. It’s a really pretty house. But to get the full effect, check out this listing from a couple of years ago.
Martha and I have to stop ourselves from going into the back yard to look around. I can see the curiosity in her face. She notices that there’s a chimney on what used to be a back porch. If you click on the link above, it’s not just a fireplace that someone’s added, it’s an oven. Maybe a pizza oven? It’s a fantastic porch and yard all around!
As we hike Parkdale Ave Martha is peppering the conversation with names of the people who lived in this house or that. So many that I could never be able to match up the house with the family names. But here’s a few. Guzzetta, LaDuca, Missana, Ciffa, Cavalieri, Lagatutta and Callari.
Some of these families may have lived on Lafayette… But you get the idea. This was a predominantly Italian neighborhood. Martha mentions that she never thought of it that way when she was a child, but telling me all the names really drives it home for her. And it sure does seem like she knew everyone!
As we approached this one, Martha says she thought it used to have an apartment out back, and sure enough, there it is… Note the details around the windows and front entry. I’d never have noticed that if I were just driving by.
At this house below, Martha tells me that when she lived across the street, there was an older couple that lived in this house that didn’t have any children. But they ‘adopted’ all the kids on the street. They must have made an impression, and quite possibly a difference in some of the children’s lives. Sweet story.
This last one is still in great shape. Or back in great shape, I can’t be sure. But it looks good.
On this section of Parkdale (between Lafayette and Auburn) I noticed that a lot of the homes are still the original clapboard. Some have been covered with vinyl siding, but I want to say that most of them are still original. I like this.
Back to the Corner of Parkdale and Lafayette
The first thing I see is this huge, gorgeous old home. Needs a bit of work, but it appears that all the original detail is still intact, most of the original windows are still there, and it could be brought back. I’d love to see it happen. Same color, with white and black trim. Yes, please.
Kitty corner from that home is the Buffalo Dream Center. These buildings are fantastic and appear to be in great shape!
Martha tells me this used to be the Lafayette Baptist Church ‘back in the day’. The Buffalo Dream Center has been headed by Pastors Eric and Michelle Johns since 1993 and now calls these buildings (above) home. The church is very involved in outreach services to Buffalo’s community, serving children, the poor and the hungry. If you are looking to get involved in any of these ministries, take a look at their website. This is one busy place!
As we continue up Lafayette, Martha starts rattling off names again. Castiglia, Battaglia, Cannizzaro, Severino, Cipolla. We stroll on, and this is some of what we see. Fantastic! The two last homes in this grouping are twins!
And this one, back in the day, was home to one of Martha’s friends, the Missana family home. Martha remembers it being beautiful inside. I’d love to see it now.
Along here, they just keep getting better.
And still, Martha is mentioning names, Palumbo, Falcone, Rubbino, Falzone. As we approach Colonial Circle at Richmond, she remembers a family on Richmond Ave named Gulino. She remembers them being very nice.
Here’s a quick story about one of the previous residents of this house, below. Born in 1881, in Italy, Anthony Carnavale came to Buffalo when he was a child. He learned to play the saxophone when he was young, which was considered a pioneering instrument at the time. He played as a member of the 74th Regiment Band, who played at the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition. Cool! Carnavale went on to play at many downtown theaters, including the Olympic and the Lafayette.
In 1927, he opened Carnavale’s Spaghetti House on Niagara Street. It became very popular with local politicians and members of the entertainment community in the city. He continued to be active in the music scene in Buffalo until his retirement. Interesting guy. He lived in the house with his wife, Rose, his son and two daughters.
These. Are. Awesome.
And this one is fantastic. Check out the windows in the dormer.
Lafayette High School
This is where we come to Lafayette High School. Can you imagine going to high school in this building?!
This building was completed in 1903 and designed by Esenwein & Johnson, noted Buffalo architects. Their firm designed the Temple of Music that I mentioned earlier, the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Calumet Building, the iconic Electric Tower, numerous homes, and many, many more!
For whatever reason, Martha didn’t attend Lafayette High School (or Annunciation HS for that matter). So I phoned a friend. Actually, I texted a friend, Lori. When asked what her favorite part about going to Lafayette High School, Lori immediately responded with “Teachers and friends!” I love that about Lori. When I pressed her about the building, she said she always knew how special it was, and always thought it was beautiful. Even as kids, they respected that. Cool. Thanks Lori.
The school is now Lafayette International Community High School, serving the multicultural community that the West Side has become throughout the years. I love this too.
I know a woman who came to Buffalo when she was 16, from Germany, many years ago. She didn’t speak English, and had to spend an entire year sitting in a high school classroom learning English by listening and observing. She felt awkward and, in her words ‘stupid’. It should make all of us happy that Buffalo has schools like this where children can ease into life in a new country more comfortably than in years past.
The Home Stretch
As we pass the high school, we come upon a lot of really great houses.
This one is awesome, below. Martha mentions she loves this kind of sunroom. Me too, Martha! The plaque on the front says 1877, and I daresay that most of those small windows are original! Would that column of windows to the right of the door be considered a sidelight? Either way, I like it. And sweet that there is a literal bell in the place of a traditional doorbell. I love this one.
And this one, below. Like when I hiked Woodward Ave., I’m noticing again that I’m a bit drawn to the orange color of this house. Never would have thought to choose this color, but it works. That said, I’d love it if there were a little more uniformity, maybe the first floor the darker orange, and the second floor and peak the lighter color? It’s possible the owner is working on that. Love the green too!
The entryway is perfection for this house. Goes to show, it doesn’t need to be fancy. Just right.
Guercio’s and More
When we arrived back at Grant Street, we headed over to Guercio and Sons to pick up a couple of things. Martha tells me that she walked over here every Saturday with her Mother to get groceries for the week. Her brother still comes every other week or so. I haven’t been in here in a couple of years, so I took a good look around and if I lived within walking distance, I’d be in here all the time. Great produce, staples, and gorgeous imports. Still love this place.
As Martha and I go back out onto Grant, she mentions again that Sweet_ness 7 was a bakery when she was a kid. After Guercios, she and her Mom would go to the bakery, and then to the Meating Place for, well, meat. Haha! That’s a little up Grant on the east side of the street just before Auburn. You could throw a stone at it from Sweet_ness. Martha says that if they really needed something they couldn’t get at those three places, her Mother would head over to Super Duper, which was further south on Grant.
There were other stores and shops along here as well for all their other needs. I love this.
When I first set out to write this post, I thought I’d research some of the homes along Lafayette and see what I could learn. It’s kind of how I usually start a city living post. But every post evolves in it’s own way, and when I texted Martha about her childhood home, I saw a completely different post taking shape. She was so enthusiastic about the neighborhood, I found I couldn’t wait to see it through her eyes. Sort of like when I hiked around downtown with my 3-year-old granddaughter, and wrote Castles of Buffalo. It’s always good to see things through someone else’s eyes. It gives you a whole new perspective.
Well. Now I have a whole new perspective on the West Side. I’m not a stranger to this area, but I’ve never lived here. I also understand my old friend Martha a little better. That seems to happen when you learn about where someone comes from. Martha became so animated as we turned onto Parkdale! It was pretty cool to watch. I only regret that I was enjoying her talking about the homes and the families who used to live in them so much, that I didn’t get a photo of her ‘in her element’ so to speak.
Idealistically Speaking Though
This neighborhood was a fantastic place to grow up. Martha tells me how they walked or rode bikes everywhere. They’d walk to Front Park near the Peace Bridge to ice skate. They’d walk to church, to school, to their friend’s homes. To relatives nearby. It seems like there were a lot of relatives nearby. Martha and her friends would even ride bikes over to Canada to “this little beach we called the Baby Hole.” Haha. Sweet.
To me it seems idyllic. What more could you ask for?
It’s Thought Provoking
You know, there is a lot of talk around Buffalo about creating livable spaces. Places where people will want to live. This neighborhood is the kind of thing we should want to build. But honestly, I don’t know that you can build it. You can put the infrastructure there, and hope it happens. But I think it has to happen organically. You can’t force it.
Martha and her family could get everything they needed on Grant Street. On the East Side, where my father grew up, his family got everything they needed on Fillmore Ave or the Broadway Market.
It’s a gamble every developer takes. They create from a vision of something they think will be good for the city, or a neighborhood. Then they hope other people see it too. Like when Guercio and Sons first opened their doors on Grant Street sixty some years ago. They took a chance that the people of the neighborhood would want what they had to offer. It turns out that in this case, the neighborhood wanted exactly what they had to offer.
In this little neighborhood, where Martha grew up, what do the people living here now, want (and need) next? The area is coming back, that’s for sure. But what will it take to make it a really idyllic place to live again?
There are people meeting, discussing and planning exactly that, as I write this.
Look for another post on the West Side soon to discuss. This place has got more to say.
Get the Book!
They make great gifts for family and friends (or yourself!). Click here or on the photo below to purchase yours!
*Special thanks to Lori Mroz, Prish Moran, and especially Martha Emiliani. Thanks for everything guys!
Interested in renting either Sweet_ness 7 or the Tablernacle spaces at 220 Grant Street, email Prish Moran at email@example.com.
337 Lafayette, the Missana home, I am proud to say was ours. I’m the youngest of the four kids who grew up here. There are stained glass windows, pocket doors, and the most gorgeous hand-carved woodwork you can imagine! There are gargoyle faces carved in the archways that we had to clean with q-tips to get the dust out of all the details. My brother and I would play catch in the upstairs hallway because it was that long, and my mother would throw open the screen at the end of that hall and whistle out the back window for us to come home from the playground behind School 45. Thank you for including us in your story 🙂
So nice to hear from you Sabina! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you for sharing your memories. Your neighborhood sure seems like it was a great place to grow up! Thanks for reading!
Hi Sabina! What years did you live there? My name is Tony Lewis and we moved there in 1965 which would have made me 12 at the time. My cousin Nancy Bertini live around the corner at 157 Baynes. I remember the big bulls eye on the back of the building at PS 45 we used to throw snow balls at. The pictures I see now are so different than I remember. We were at 331 Lafayette. Sisters, Sandy and Sherry. Did you know them?
Hi Tony, my parents and older siblings moved there in 1963, I was born in 65. My mom sold in 2005 when she was alone and the house was just too much for her. I didn’t know your sisters but I knew Scott and Todd Augustine, they lived in the downstairs flat at 331 and I caught a spanking for going in their garage when I was told not to, lol. And I remember the DiGenarro’s lived there too but I was real little.
Ok, I did a little figurative walk back down the street with my brother and we figured out you lived next to Courtyard Theatre which couldn’t be 331. 321 perhaps? I don’t even think there is a 331 because we were all 4 numbers apart. We were 337 and on either side of us were 341 and 333. I remember Sherry and I’m pretty sure I remember you too. Sherry dated one of my cousins.
Still see John Bertini every now and then
I’m from the Guzzetta family mentioned. Grew up at 359 Lafayette and knew your sister Sherry Lewis well.
Joanne Guzzetta Inzinna
My grandmother lived at 332 Lafayette for years. The inside had beautiful woodwork also. My mother was a teacher at Lafayette High for many many years
Oh nice! It’s a beautiful home! Thank you for reading!
Love your pictures and description of that area of Buffalo
Thanks so much Herb, glad you liked it. Thanks for reading!
Thanks, Ellen! I didn’t know much about this area, and I’m fascinated to see the many similarities of the homes to those in my Parkside neighborhood (including my orange house on Woodward).
Perhaps someone can inform me for sure, but I think that all of the wrought iron porch pillars and railings are replacements of the original wood. I don’t think that the iron looks as good as the wood, but knowing how readily that wood rots, I do understand why people wanted to replace it.
Oh my gosh! I love your house! You’ve brought me around to loving orange as a house color! I agree with you about the wrought iron replacing the wood. But I also think the wrought iron in this neighborhood dates to the 1940s & 50s. Which was still good quality stuff, and it’s pretty cool that a lot of people have kept it. It’s back in style! 🙂 Thanks for reading Susan, appreciate you reaching out!
Yes our wrought iron railings were originally wood that rotted out. My mother was pregnant with me and she was leaning over showing my dad something when the railing gave way and they tumbled onto the front lawn. She broke her wrist but I was just fine lol! That was 1965 to give you time reference.
I really enjoyed this article, mostly because I’ve spent so much time in that area. My family lived at 211 Parkdale for a good number of years, then moved to 40 Lafayette. One of my best friends lives on Auburn, and I lived briefly on Baynes. I grew up on Winter Street, and spent many years walking the Grant Street area. I recognized most of the lovely homes and other buildings featured. Thanks for covering this neighborhood and sharing it with your readers!
I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! Thank you for sharing your story, and for reading!
My mom went to Lafayette High in the late 50’s, she was a cheerleader for the Lafayette Violets, what a team name!
Haha! What a team name indeed! Thanks for sharing, Tracy!
I grew up on the West Side and went to Lafayette High School. Your article brought back many memories. My mom was the church secretary and youth group organizer for Lafayette Baptist Church, which was also our “home” church. Next door to the church was the Cravatta family – I didn’t see the name mentioned in the article so I thought I’d add it here. The high school was beautiful, inside and out and my four years there informed much of what I am today. Again, thanks for the memories!
So happy you enjoyed the post Marcia! Thanks for sharing your story!
So awesome to see the old ‘hood’. I lived at 412 Parkdale from the late 50’s to the late 60’s. Family name was DiStefano. We went to Coronation school and church on Dewitt St. I swear there was a Martha that lived next door to me!!!!!!!!
Glad you enjoyed the post Nancy! Martha must have been a popular name! Haha! Thank you for reading!
Love your article. I grew up at 829 Ashland Ave. My family lived there from 1950-1997. I went to Lafayette High School 1963. I have many fond memories of Lafayette and friends. I noticed on Zillow that 829 Ashland sold and closed in the beginning of 2021 for $250,000. Elmwood Village is a much sought after area of the city of Buffalo.
Glad you enjoyed the post Cherise. You’re right, it is still a very popular area to live! Thank you for reading!
I grew up on the west side on Normal and Hampshire. We We’re always on Grant Street.I live in Canada now and miss the west side , up until the pandemic hit I was over there all the time and always stopped at Guercio’s Thank You for the nice article
Glad you enjoyed the post, Maureen. Guercio’s is an awesome little spot! Looking forward to the border opening!
A riveting walk. I grew up on Congress between Lafayette and Auburn, worshiped at Annunciation Church, attended Annunciation School from ’44 to ’51. Heartening to see good work continuing at Our Lady of Hope. My late sister Ann Branch (nee George) was in the Girl Scout troop that met at the Baptist church (now the Dream Center). Great photo gallery. What a gift. Many many thanks.
I’m so happy you enjoyed the walk, and thank you for sharing your ‘west side story’. Appreciate you reading and the nice comments!
Did you know any of the Pitman girls?
Another wonderful article, Ellen. This one REALLY hit home. Thanks for the memories. I shared your article with friends who know this neighborhood as well as I do. Some of their family names are mentioned in this article. This is what I wrote: “I would like to share an article that was sent to me by Hello Buffalo. Like myself, it covers a section of the West Side that may be very familiar to many of you. We lived a block or so away and had quite a few friends and family residing in this featured neighborhood. My two sisters went to Annunciation and we attended Annunciation Church. The names that are mentioned in this article are quite familiar and probably will be to many. Reading the article about the streets cited here makes me feel as if I am back home and roaming around them like we all used to do as kids many years ago”.
Thanks so much for the kind words and the shares John! Again, it sounds like you had a great childhood in the city!
Hi thank you for this article. Great reminders of the west side. I really really liked the Carnavalle house. Wonderful!
So happy you enjoyed it, Marilyn! Thank you for reading!
Loved reading your article and seeing all the pictures. I grew up on the West Side and went to Annunciation and walked along Grant Street everyday going back and forth to school. Seeing all your photos brought back so many memories.
Awesome Josie, thank you for sharing your ‘west side story’…
I grew up not far from Lafayette and Grant and attended Annunciation Church and Lafayette High School. I have been working in the rectory of Annunciation/Our Lady of Hope for over 30 years and the parish is still going strong thanks to many wonderful long-time parishioners and our very active and hard working immigrant community. Thank you for writing this article. Your pictures are beautiful
I’m so glad you enjoyed the post Cheryl. I’ll be showing up for mass some Sunday! It’s so nice to know the parish lives on!
What a beautiful article, it brought a tear to my eye reflecting on the memories and the best times of my life were on Lafayette Avenue where I grew up as a child.I attended Annunciation elementary and Lafayette high school. My brother and I were known as simply “the twins”.Those wonderful days are long gone But will never be forgotten. Thank you for taking me down a stroll of memory lane.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it Frank! Sounds like you had a great childhood on the West Side!
Thank you for a wonderful walk down memory lane. My family, Tirone, bought 231 Lafayette in 1950. It is one of the properties with two house. We lived in the back house until 2005. I went to Annunciation school all 12 years and Annunciation church. It is great to see the neighborhood looking so alive.
So glad you enjoyed the post, Gloria. So interesting to me with the houses behind a house. Seems like it was a great neighborhood to grow up in!
Great tour- thank you !!!! I grew up in Buffalo, have been in California for 40 years, and still my heart is always warmed by such sights as these – and the wonderful history of the city. These houses which would be at least 4-5 million dollars in San Francisco these days are still within reach of many working people making for a rich sense of community… Out here you just HAVE to be rich to love this way. Buffalo has SO much going for it. . .
Glad you enjoyed it, Marc! Buffalo DOES have a lot going for it…come on back! Haha! Thank you for reading!
I loved your article! I grew up at 164 Lafayette I went to annunciation school and church. I used to go to Guercios with my mother every Saturday and Sunday we would go to church and the bakery, I think it was called Russ’s pastry shop back then. The west side was a great neighborhood to grow up in. Like Martha said we would ride bikes and walk everywhere, I remember a lot of names that she mentioned.
When my mom passed away I moved back into her house, worked at Guercios for a couple years and then decided to rent the house and move out to the country. That was the biggest mistake I ever made! The people that I rented the house to destroyed it. They ripped out the banisters, fireplace, chandeliers, and even stole the toilets! I heard that the people that bought it fixed it up, I would love to see what it looks like now. I just wish that I never left that house, I miss it so much. If I could, I would move back. I still cry about it all the time.
Thank you for the tour, it was great. It brought back some great memories! I think I’m going to take a ride to the west side soon, maybe on a Sunday and go to annunciation church, I remember that church was beautiful inside and out!
Thank you, Della, for sharing your story. How sad that people would do something like this! What a shame. I hope you do take a ride over to the West Side to see your house and others, it might help you to see the home in better shape now. I also have plans to get to Annuniciation (Our Lady of Hope) Church soon too! Della, thank you for reading, and I’m glad you enjoyed the hike!
STEPHEN Strong 292 Lafayette great neighborhood with Great people Dad bought the house in 1975 .
It’s an awesome house! Love, love, love the color!
Loved the article. I lived at 59 Parkdale and went to Lafayette HI recently had 50th reunion was great seeing the old neighborhood. This was a nice trip down memory lane and all the places we roamed. Thank you for sharing!
I’m so happy you enjoyed the post, Darlene. Thank your for sharing your story, and for reading!
My Grandmother and Grandfather lived at either 137 or 148 Parkdale avenue. I remember all of the inside of the house. Grandfather took my to Grant street for Easter candy. Their name was Lorentz. If any one knew of them, I would like to know.
It took me a while to getting around to read this but I wanted to savor it. So fun to hear about Martha’s perspective and what the neighborhood was like “back in the day.” She knows A LOT more than I would have know. This is my current ‘hood and I love it. I lived in the gray/white house for 9 yrs (pictured right under “These. Are. Awesome”). Lived there while we worked at the Consulate. I adopted the apartment after my brother, who had lived there 9 or so years right before me. A local realtor did a beautiful job of updating this home while I was still living there. Here are a few peeks of the interior (or I guess not…can’t find where to upload photos)!! Anyway, I loved this one, Ellen.
P.S. Another consulate gal we know lives in one of the houses pictured on Lafayette with the sunroom!!!
Awesome Lucy! Thanks so much for the kind words. Walking around with you I’d have gotten a good view of the West Side today! We’ll get to it one day!! Looking forward to it too!
I really enjoyed taking this walk with you. My family grew up on Livingston St, which is at the end of your piece. We all attended Annunciation and so, took this very same walk down Lafayette Avenue every day for 8 years, and then, to Lafayette High School for another 4 years. So many memories accompanied every one of your photos! I wanted to help with mentioning a couple of little things.
the building on the corner of Lafayette and Grant St was part of Annunciation. It originally had two additional floors on top and contained an auditorium and a gymnasium. It was called “The Social Building”, and we had plays and spring recitals, as well as gym class, basketball games and CYO activities there. A fire destroyed the top two floors sometime in the late 70’s. It was said that there is a tunnel connecting the church and rectory to the school and convent across the street. My aunt Donna was a Sister with the St Mary of Namur nuns. She taught at Annunciation for a number of years. How fun to see the classrooms turned into apartments! They are beautiful!
The big blue house on the corner of Lafayette and Parkdale was once the home of a doctor, whose office was on the basement level. In the photo, you can see the door at the side of the house where patients would enter. My mother took me there once for a sore throat, but I can’t recall the doctor’s name.
Thanks again for your work here. I am completely delighted with all of the installments thus far.
Thanks so much for sharing your story! It sure seems like it was an incredible place to grow up! Did not know about the doctor in the big blue house, but I did see the entryway you mentioned. Glad you are enjoying the blog, thanks for reading! Appreciate it more than you know.
Yes, I was attending Annunciation grammar school when the fire struck O’Brien Hall, cigarette butts in the garbage cans from bingo were determined to be the cause. We were in 7th grade so 77-78. We got to be involved in the decisions for the “new” hall. And the reason the “Annunciation” Medina sandstone sign piece from the original building was placed on the front lawn in front of our school.
There are also tunnels under the street that do connect the buildings. But according to a couple old alter boys and my brother who’s been down there they run to Niagara Street and were part of the Underground Railroad.
I also took piano lessons from Sr. Elizabeth at the convent when I was 7 years old. It only lasted one year though because she got transferred to another parish. She was very, very nice and must’ve left a huge impact on little me because I named my daughter Elizabeth.
And I went to that doctor once too for impetigo. I remember walking down there with my mom and waiting FOREVER to be seen lol.
Donna, I lived at 337 Lafayette so you walked by my house every day 🙂