Old House History – Bailey Ave

Buffalo’s involvement in the lumber trade dates back to the city’s earliest years. Many found fame and wealth either by felling the many local forests, or by stocking lumber from Canada and the mid-west.

In 1850 there were 61 lumber yards in the city, principally handling hemlock lumber, and they were all locally owned. Some of those involved included the Goodyears, James Scatcherd, Calvin Hazard, and in the early 20th Century, the Zoladz brothers.

The Zoladz’ came to Buffalo from Poland in the early 1920s. All three owned lumberyards in the area. Walter (1110 Clinton Street, 40 years), John (4525 Broadway, Depew), and Joseph (1400 Bailey Avenue).

Joseph was born in 1886 and emigrated in 1900. He owned a tavern, then a housewrecking business (east Buffalo Housewrecking Co.) before settling in the lumber trade around 1924.

In 1925, under his wife’s name, he purchased property at 1386 Bailey Avenue from William H. Bailey of San Diego, California, known as part of the “Bailey Estate.” This was where they built their first warehouse.

By 1929 the Zoladz bought 1205 Bailey Avenue, a couple blocks away, to build a new home. This home, with several distinguishing features outside and inside, was pride of the neighborhood.

The Zoladz Lumber Co. had a semi-professional baseball team in the 1940s, playing in the Municipal Baseball League and also sponsored bowling teams.

Joseph died in 1972, but his sons had been running the day-to-day operations for some years. His wife Mary continued to live in the house until her death inn 1989. In prior years her eyesight had deteriorated, and the house had been modified to allow her easier movement.

The Zoladz Lumber Co. continued in operation until the mid-1990s. Declining sales, reluctance to change with the times, and big competitors helped close their doors.

In 1991 the Zoladz house was purchased by only its second owner, and in 2000 a fire destroyed what was left of the old Zoladz warehouse.

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3 thoughts on “Old House History – Bailey Ave

  1. Mike,

    Awesome info on the zoladz family!

    Where did you get the great history?

    I am Leon zoladz’s daughter and would love to know more. My dad was the younger brother and we lost him to a tragic car accident a few yr’s ago. Please direct me to your sources, if possible, because I am trying to pass on this valuable info to my two young daughters.

    With much gratitude,

    • Hi Julie,
      I did the research and probably have it in the file. When I get a chance I will dig it out.
      I’m glad you found it helpful.

      • Hey Mike, thanks! I’d be very interested in more info or your source or anyone’s elses info on Joseph Zoladz Lumber company history, just because it’s so good and would be a great history for my kids, my brother (who lives in Lancaster,) and myself. We so appreciate this now that my dad and grandparents are gone.

        Feel free to email me or If you’d rather drop something in the mail, my address is:

        21 Sunset Dr, Ottsville, PA 18942 (Southeastern PA in Bucks Co.)

        For your info, my brother and I believe that the John Zoladz Lumber Company (The one in the Depew area which we believe probably isn’t far from my brother’s place in Lancaster,) is the same family that currently owns Zoladz Limousine and a tire place/garage. These are obviously distant cousins of ours whom we kind of fell out of touch with.

        Walter Zoladz had a son (also Walter,) who was my dad’s first cousin and his son worked at that lumber company and after it was sold went on to work in another suburban lumber company. Walter Jr and his son (Also Walter!) currently live in Hamburg, NY and they lived only 6 houses down from my father’s house in Hamburg (Wanakah area) where we grew up, but since my parents passed a way just a few years ago we sold the house last year.

        So, the lumber business is deeply rooted in my family.

        On a side note, my father, Leon, and his brother, Joseph, were active and owned and raced race-horses with Dotty Brown and Pat Menchi at Buffalo raceway and in Batavia and throughout New York state and the US. Their stable was known as Sportacular Stables. A few of our horses did well locally and in New York state. They got out of that hobby together awhile ago. Obviously, the fairgrounds and Buffalo raceway is another big part of Western NY history.

        I’m not sure if you or anyone else has any more info on that part of their local involvement?

        Your diverse Bufffalo History is very interesting and well-written. Great job!

        Julie (Zoladz) Wenskoski

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