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Aretha Franklin Summered in Buffalo as a Child

As the world mourns the passing of legendary singer Aretha Franklin, there is a small contingent of Buffalonians who are making a pilgrimage to the city of Buffalo’s East Side. Why? Because at one point, as a child, the iconic singer spent her summers at 179 Glenwood Avenue.

The story goes that after separating in 1948 (they never got divorced), Aretha’s parents, C.L. and Barbara, went their separate ways geographically. Barbara moved to Buffalo (to be with her mother) with one child from her first marriage, and C.L. made his way to Detroit with the rest of the children, including Aretha.

In Buffalo, Barbara made her living as a nurse. According to Wikipedia, “Barbara died of a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 34. Her husband did not attend her funeral.” Barbara is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Earlier today, a few of us paid a visit to the home where The Franklins once lived, on Glenwood Avenue. In the front yard, under a small tree, was a bouquet of flowers*.

*Thanks to whoever laid the flowers at the house – Dawn Madden is holding the bouquet in the feature photo. 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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