Three buildings in the city's Fruit Belt neighborhood have cleared the initial hurdle to become part of a proposed High Street Historic District.
The High Street deli, a run-down Civil-War era former doctor's office and home and a Baptist church that dates to about 1875 would make up their own local historic district. The buildings are on a short block between Maple and Mulberry streets a block from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The proposal, first raised four years ago, has been renewed by the Fruit Belt McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force and next goes before the Buffalo Common Council for formal approval.
The city Preservation Board voted unanimously late last week to recommend that the Common Council create the landmark district.
The push for the historic district is part of a larger effort by some neighborhood residents to push back against development and demolition activity that preservationists and some residents say threatens the character of the Fruit Belt as the Medical Campus grows.
"It's part of the effort to preserve the historic significance of the neighborhood," Veronica Hemphill-Nichols, founder of the housing task force, said in a recent interview. She spoke at the Preservation Board meeting in favor of the historic district, as did one of the owners of the deli at 195 High.
Aside from the deli, the district would include the red brick Promiseland Missionary Baptist Church at the corner of High and Mulberry; and a 5,400-square-foot building made up of two brick Italianate homes joined together that once served as the home and office of Dr. John Meidenbauer, an instructor at the University at Buffalo's College of Pharmacy. It was later the home and office of Dr. Lyle Morgan and was last used as a physician's office in 1979. It is now owned by the city.
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