The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 327 - 331

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Old Folk's Home

which occupies the right wing of the building and was designed for this purpose soon after its dedication. On the 1st of December 1986 the first aged person entered the home and according to the report of the Home, dated January 20th, 1901, the number of inmates had increased to 48.

In the same report the Board of Directors is given consisting of the following: President, Rev. A.E. Dahlmann, Vice-President, Mr. Chas Boller, Corresponding Secretary, Rev. G.H. Geiger, Fin. Secretary, Miss Carrie Houck, Treasurer, Mr. Otto Ulbrich, Mrs. N. Moerschfelder, Mr. F.H.C. May, Mrs. O. Bueren, Mrs. Philip Becker, Rev. Dr. O. Becher, Rev. F. Hoffmann, Rev. A, Kaechele, Theo. Speyer, Gustave Kleindinst and Jacob Ritzmann.

The German Hospital

Of the many charitable institutions of our city the German Hospital is one of the youngest, but in spite of its short period of existence one of the most successful and it is universally considered by lay - as well as professional - men as a model hospital. The first suggestion for the erection of such a hospital was given by the Bavarian Sick-Benevolent Society and the founding of this institution was soon thereafter resolved in a mass-meeting held in Schwabl's Hall, June 12, 1895. A citizen's committee was then appointed to take preliminary steps in this matter. For the purpose of raising a fund, a "Volksfest" was held the 2nd of September of the same year in Teutonia Park. A vast number of the German population of Buffalo participated in this feast and the satisfactory proceeds of it formed the foundation of the capital from which the hospital was to be erected.

The organization was perfected by the election of the following directors: Chas. H. North, Dr. Chas. H.W. Auel, Jacob J. Lang, M.J. Chemnitz, Emil Jackson, August J. Simon, Chas. Duchmann, Alexander Kercher and Michael Schwarzmeier and on the 22nd of November of the same year the organization was incorporated under the Laws of the State of New York in Albany as the "German Hospital." Repeatedly theatrical-performances, concerts, picnics, etc. were given and held, the financial proceeds of which added largely to the fund so that a Polyklinick could be opened in a building, No. 621 Genesee Street, on the 14th of September, 1896, with a staff of more than 20 Physicians. Some of the most noted German Physicians have labored gratuitously and since its opening an average of 1800 patiented have received free treatment.

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Soon after this Polyklinick had been in progress the necessity of the erection of a new and improved building had become manifest and efforts were made to secure a suitable building lot for the same. Through the means of Mr. E.G.S. Miller a suitable site was offered under the most favorable conditions by the heirs of the deceased Gerhard Lang on the west side of Jefferson Street, south of Genesee Street, at the same time a donation of $5,000 had been promised unto the hospital. Later a Mortgage on the property had been discharged, so that the heirs of Mr. Lang actually presented the entire building lot. Unforeseen events, especially the unfavorable condition of the money market caused by the beginning of the Spanish American war brought many discouragements to the board of directors.

After the first contracts were given out on the 16th of March, 1898, ground was broken for the erection of the new building October 15th. In the presence of many thousands of people, with the participation of many German societies, attended by the heads of all city departments and the most prominent German citizens, favored with delightful weather the cornerstone of the simple but noble monument of German unity and benevolent spirit was laid on Sunday, November 27, 1898.

Caption under picture at center reads The German Hospital

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The difficulties under which the board of directors labored had not all been overcome, adverse circumstances again caused delay in building and not until the end of the year 1900 could it be completed.

With an elaborate reception this building erected of light colored brick and with terra-cotta decorations - a creation of the German-American architect, Mr. Geo. J. Metzger - was formally opened. The building is a complete fire-proof construction and built in accordance with the best devised modern hygenic improvements and conditions. The wards are bright and cheerful and the private rooms, furnished by friends of the hospital and by different societies, have been arranged very tastefully.

Since the opening of the hospital it has been well attended and the applications for admittance have been so numerous that the board of directors contemplate enlargening [sic] the present building which was calculated to accomodate 70 patients. This addition, however, could be made without any disturbance to the present management of the hospital.

The first officers of the organization who in order to carry out this project labored under many difficulties were: Chas. H. North, President, (who was actually the promoter of the undertaking and acted as its president three years), Dr. C.H.W. Auel, Vice-President, Jacob J. Lang, Treasurer, M.J. Chemnitz, Secretary, Chas. Duchmann, Financial Secretary, and Geo. F. Lehmann, Assistant Secretary. At present the business of the institution is transacted by the following board of directors: William Simon, President, Dr. C.H.W. Auel, Vice-President, and chairman of the staff of Physicians, Jacob J. Lang, Treasurer, Chas. H. North, Secretary, E.G.S. Miller, Ottomar Reinecke, Jacob Stern and Geo. Bleistein. Mr. Chas. Duchmann is superintendent of the hospital and the Polyclinic has from the beginning been under the care of the steward and registrar John Schasny.

Two women societies have united themselves with the hospital which have been very active in providing for linens, furnishing of rooms, raising money, etc. These societies are the Sewing Circle and the Ladies Auxillary. The officers are: Mrs. M.M. Rickard, President, Miss E. Junkens [1], Secretary, Mrs. Fischer, Treasurer.

John Schasny is at the head of the Auxillary as chairman and Franziska Shasny [2], Secretary and Treasurer.


[1] The German text identifies this woman as "Emma Junkens." Return to text

[2] The German text spells the name "Schasny." Return to text

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Supplementary Notes

A work as the present, showing a laborious and toilsome gathering of material, evidently requires a comparatively long period of time for its completion. It is also self-evident that such events of special significance occurring during the time of its completion cannot be left unconsidered, hence these supplementary notes. The events which in this case made necessary this appendage are the Pan-American Exposition to which the German element of Buffalo has contributed largely in the accomplishment and development of this work and in gaining such excellent results; the tragic death of our esteemed and Martyr-President, William McKinley, which unfortunately will always be remembered in connection with the exposition and the 30th "Sängerfest" of the North-American Sängerbund which was held in the city of Buffalo on the 24, 25, 26, and 27 June of the Pan-American year 1901.

History of the Pan-American Exposition

The Idea of a Pan-American Exposition originated in the minds of some of the most distinguished citizens of Buffalo even before the Spanish-American war, among them were some of the most noted Germans. The idea was favorably received and the initiative made when the breaking out of the Spanish-America war made an end of the entire project for the time being. After the glorious victory of this war the idea was again revived and Dr. Conrad Diehl, Mayor of Buffalo, made a strong appeal to the people of Buffalo to interest them in this cause to which they responded enthusiastically. Committees were chosen to secure the approval and endorsement of congress as well as of the state. Subscriptions were signed by 11,000 citizens of Buffalo pledging themselves for the sum of $1,500,000. The territory adjoining Delaware Park was chosen for the exposition grounds and the Park Commissioners generously granted the Directors the use of the most beautiful part of our park in connection thereto. In the spring of the year 1900 the project actually became a decided matter. A capital of $2,500,000 and bonds for the same sum were secured. In addition thereto the government appropriated the sum of $500,000 and the state $300,000 so that the entire resources remaining at the disposition of the directors amounted to the sum of $5,800,000, not including the different sums appopriated [sic] by the various states for their own buildings, nor the amounts received from the Midway concessionaires for their privileges or money received from other sources. The enthusiasm of the inhabitants of Buffalo for the

. cause had not in the least been dampened, for after a year the entire project had grown larger and had become more beautiful than at first had been anticipated. The Pan-American idea was received favorably everywhere. The republics of South and Central America were not only willing to co-operate in this cause, but manifest their approval by greeting the idea with enthusiasm, and Mexica and Canada not standing back in this respect.

When on May 1st of the year 1901 the gates of the Pan-American Exposition were opened the visitor did not find the exposition complete in all its details owing to unfavorable conditions of the weather which made it impossible to do out-door work and therefore delaying the exposition and yet it is conceded that this exposition was nearer its completion than is usual the case with such undertakings. This exposition has indeed, proven itself to be without a comparison. To

Caption under picture at center reads Birdseye View Pan-American Exposition


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Revised May 14, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks