Hamlin Park Community History
The story of this most interesting neighborhood is well worth the telling. Named after Victorian horse racing aficionado Cicero Hamlin, the area was one of the nation's premier trotting tracks from the time Hamlin opened it in 1858 to the end of the century Race days at Hamlin's Driving Park. The design of Humboldt Parkway by Frederick Law Olmstead paid homage to Hamlin Park. For it was here, at the north-eastern end of the Driving Park, near Agassiz Circle, that Humboldt Parkway arched elegantly on its gentle flow southward and eastward from Forest Lawn to The Parade. In the 1890's, it was converted into an amusement park, and in 1912, was the center of real estate development.
Hamlin Park was the city's first planned subdivision. The first residents in the subdivision were German immigrants followed by Jewish immigrants. Canisius College, the largest landholder, moved to the area in 1912. African American migration to Hamlin Park began in the late 1950's, and led to the development of a stable, middle and upper class neighborhood which remains intact today because of the many amenities in or near the area.
It is these attributes, beautiful, tree-line streets, a large number of architecturally interesting and significant homes, that led this neighborhood to the recognition it so well deserves: the designation in 1999 of Hamlin Park as an "Historic District," the largest African-American community in the nation to be so cited.