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Kenmore Village

Kenmore Village Hall is located at 2919 Delaware Avenue, Kenmore NY 14217; phone: 716-873-5700.

Beginnings [1]

The Village of Kenmore, in the Town of Tonawanda, Erie County, N. Y., "the fastest growing residential community in the country", and "The center of the Niagara Frontier Industrial District", was first settled in the spring of 1889. Louis P. A. Eberhardt, who is fondly called "Daddy Eberhardt", was the original pioneer and realtor. He built the first house during the winter of 1888-9 on the site now occupied by his real estate office No. 2749 Delaware Avenue; it was burned down in March 1894.

The next house built by Mr. Eberhardt was the brown stone house on Delaware Avenue now occupied, with the frame on W. Hazeltine Avenue by the Y. W. C. A. The other brown stone house at the corner of Delaware and Kenmore Avenues was built at the same time by Fred B. Eberhardt and is now occupied by the Wheel Chair Home. These durable and handsome twin structures have long stood as sentinels at the approach to our village from Buffalo, admired by all and prophetic of Kenmore's stability and future prosperity. The second house built in Kenmore was the residence of Myron A. Phelps, still standing on the original site at 2798 Delaware Avenue corner of Tremaine, now owned and occupied by Harrison H. Bury. Other houses were soon built, and the foresight and enterprise of the first settlers was readily admitted. In 1890 nearly three hundred people lived in the village. It requires some stretch of the imagination to visualize the awful roads, absence of sidewalks, lack of lighting, dearth of potable water, and other inconveniences in the newly settled village. The beautiful and busy thoroughfare which is now, next to Main Street, Buffalo, the main artery of traffic north and south was, at that time, an ordinary dirt road. All around Kenmore were fields of clay soil, none too fertile for farming, with a few scattered farm houses in the Township of Tonawanda in which the growing village is situated.

It was proposed calling the village "Eberhardt"; but firmly and modestly Mr. Eberhardt said, "No, they might nickname it 'Dutchtown'." But the real reason was Mr. Eberhardt's aversion to personal publicity and display. The Erie Railroad was building a station at this time in the north-east section of Buffalo near Main Street and had chosen the name "Kenmore", but the alert Mr. Eberhardt with an ear for euphony, appropriated the name for the fast growing community and the name "Kensington" was attached to the Erie Station. A sign bearing the name "KENMORE" was placed at the intersection of Delaware and Kenmore Avenues, where all who ran might read. There are several places called Kenmore in the United States, notably Kenmore in Fairfax County, Va., the home of Washington's sister, and a village in Ohio. Probably both these places, our own village, and other places so named, took their name from a small island on the south-west coast of Ireland; or from a village in Scotland, each of which bears the name of Kenmore.

Among those who were first attracted to Kenmore as a desirable place of residence and the location for a village were Louis P. A. Eberhardt, Fred B. Eberhardt, Myron A. Phelps, A. B. Crary, O. K. Horning, A. W. Olmstead, A. B. Floyd, G. W. Peck, John A. Miller, F. W. Drake, L. L. Briggs, Ephraim Funk, Frank Stillwell, John J. Bernd, Virgil M. Hunter, Henry Tremaine, C. M. Aiken, Arthur Hall, Andrew Frank, Jabesh Harris, J. B. Zimmerman, and others. Among those living in the town of Tonawanda at the time Kenmore was founded, and not far from the Buffalo city line, were John Winter, Henry Winter, Jacob Busch, John Bleyle, Fred Bleyle, Fred Ebling, Isadore Keller, Frank Mang, Isadore Mang, and others.

Kenmore being just over the line from Buffalo, the village became somewhat of a rival for real estate deals and home finders as incorporation began to be discussed. The attitude of the big city was that Kenmore should "Blow its own horn," a privilege which it was not slow to accept. The first decade of her history was now about completed. Progress was assured. Modern houses all occupied were reaching out on the newly paved streets. A lighting system was to be installed. The boycott against the trolley road was called off. Everybody took a ride on one fare. "Boost Kenmore" was the slogan. Everybody was smiling. "Incorporation" was now the watchword. So closed the year 1898.

The notice was posted in eleven conspicuous places ten days before the date fixed for the election. The whole number of ballots cast was 32: for incorporation 31 [9/5/1889]; against incorporation 1. Frank E. Hall was appointed Village Clerk September 16th, 1889 by John C. Webb, Town Clerk of Tonawanda until his successor was chosen.

So one-sided was the election that there was no excitement whatever. The fact that only 32 votes were cast not mean that only that number of people were interested in the proposition, for not all who are entitled to vote at regular County, State and National elections can vote on the question of incorporation. The Crystal Springs Water Co., anticipating favorable action on incorporation, had already made application for the privilege of supplying Kenmore residents with water.

  1. Parkhurst, Frederick S., Ph.D., History of Kenmore, Erie County, New York, 1926.
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