Bapst, Frank - Erie County

FRANK L. BAPST is a principal factor in several of the leading engineering and contracting companies of Western New York, is prominently identified with manufacturing enterprises, and ranks as one of Buffalo's ablest civil engineers and industrial executives.

Mr. Bapst was born in Buffalo May 22, 1856, being the son of Louis Bapst and Elizabeth Bauragarten. His father was a native of Alsace, and his mother was born at Williamsville, N. Y. Frank L. Bapst attended private and public schools in Buffalo, later entering the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, N. Y., from which he was graduated in 1879 with the degree of C.E. On returning to Buffalo he engaged in practice as a civil engineer. From 1882 to 1883 he was Assistant Engineer of the City of Buffalo, and in 1883 and 1884 was draughtsman in the City Assessor's office. In 1884 he was tendered the Democratic nomination for City Engineer, and though not elected, he made a splendid run, receiving about 3,400 votes more than the head of the ticket.

In 1885 Mr. Bapst, in association with P. B. McNaughton, inaugurated a general contracting enterprise which, after the admission of Charles E. Williams to partnership, in 1892, assumed the firm style of Williams, McNaughton & Bapst, a concern which rapidly attained a leading position, having immense interests in paving and other construction, and improvement contracts, and being prominently concerned in the abolition of grade and the building of overhead crossings at the Terrace, in Buffalo, the work involving problems of engineering and construction as critical as any ever known in this section of the State. Among the many contracts which the firm of Williams, McNaughton & Bapst has carried through with notable credit should be mentioned a large amount of underground work, street railroad and Erie Canal construction. In 1890 the German Rock Asphalt & Cement Company (Ltd.) was established. This concern, of which Mr. Bapst is General Manager, has laid about $3,500,000 worth of asphalt pavements its average business being approximately $1,000,000 per annum. The Buffalo Dredging Co., of which Mr. Bapst is President, was organized in 1895. It ranks with the leading local enterprises of its kind, and has done more than $3,000,000 worth of dredging and other submarine work. Another important concern of a similar character is the Lake Erie Dredging Company, in whose management Mr. Bapst is associated with Mr. Charles E. Williams. This company does an average business of $700,000 a year and among its noteworthy achievements are its improvement work at Sault Ste. Marie, under Government auspices, and its deepening of the Niagara River channel between Buffalo and Tonawanda, at a cost of $300,000. This concern also did over 14 miles of work under the $9,000,060 Erie Canal appropriation.

Another notable contracting enterprise is the Buffalo Expanded Metal Company, which was organized in 1898 with Mr. Bapst as First Vice-President. Its specialty is fireproof construction in expanded metal and concrete work, and the concern is doing a business of over half a million dollars yearly. The Continental Engineering and Contracting Company, in which Mr. Bapst is associated with Charles B. Williams and others, has its headquarters at Montreal, Canada, and is engaged in elevator and dock work. It has successfully carried on much heavy concrete construction for the Canadian Government and has built a large elevator for the Canadian Pacific Railroad at Fort William, Ontario. Mr. Bapst is Vice-President of the Babcock Electric Carriage Company, a Director in the Buffalo Crucible Steel Company; a Director in the German American and the Columbia National Banks, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Bapst has always been a thoroughgoing Democrat and his valuable services to his party received marked recognition when, in January, 1898, he was elected Chairman of the Democratic County Committee of Erie County, a position which he continued to hold for three terms, and whose duties he performed with rare efficiency and skill. He has often been chosen a delegate to State conventions, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention of July 4, 1900.

Mr. Bapst is prominent in several fraternal bodies, being a 32d degree Mason, a member of Ismailia Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He also belongs to the Buffalo, Ellicott, and Country clubs.

In August 1903 Mr. Bapst married Ida M. Mathews of Elmira, New York.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I