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Thread: Buffalo's West Side: Architectural Gems

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Buffalo's West Side: Architectural Gems



    Brick cottage from the 1870s on LIttle Summer Street.



    Another brick cottage from the 1870s on LIttle Summer Street. Bright colors are the rule rather than the exception.



    Next door to #2.



    Here's another one on Little Summer.



    A friend's restored 1830s home on Johnson Park. Johnson Park was Buffalo's first suburb as it was an upscale enclave with larger homes built on large lots (for the time) isolated by some distance from the crowded, noisy central part of the boomtown that was Buffalo in the 1820s-1830s thanks to the Erie Canal.



    Another Johnson Park home from the 1830s. Johnson Park is a U-shaped street with a large park-like space in the center.



    This is actually a new-build (probably 1980s) built on Cary Street off South Elmwood, which is in a neighborhood called The West Village. It's literally just steps from downtown.



    This stately brick home is on North Pearl Street in the Allentown neighborhood, directly north of downtown Buffalo.



    Another North Pearl Street home.



    This large wooden Victorian is also in Allentown.



    The side yard of a more modest Allentown home. Notice the curling old asphalt singles. This is probably a two family home, with the single story in the back added on at some point.



    A Victorian front stoop on a home near Symphony Circle.



    My favorite Victorian! It's off York around Grover Cleveland HS.



    A restored/renovated cottage on York Street.



    Another frame Victorian charmer.



    This is another modest frame Victorian. This one is a two family (frequently called a "double" in Buffalo), as evidenced by the door and the awning framework on the upper porch.



    Gaudy paint schemes and front yard gardens are becoming increasingly common on Buffalo's West Side. This home is on Ketchum Place near York.



    A less bright paint scheme on a home on Ketchum Place, but non-traditional still.



    Colorful front yard gardens and paint schemes on some homes on Bird Avenue near Elmwood.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    These "gems" are terrific! And maintained and restored very nicely, too. Thanks for posting your photos.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for sharing these photos. I really enjoyed seeing them. Were you on a garden tour when you took the photos? Each home has nice gardens.

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Very cool photos. Thanks for putting them up.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I'm kinda jealous looking at these photos, had I not had a wedding to attend that same weekend I would be in Buffalo for the National Trust's annual conference in October to view all these in person. Thanks for posting them!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Very nice. Reminds me of Corktown.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    Thanks for sharing these photos. I really enjoyed seeing them. Were you on a garden tour when you took the photos? Each home has nice gardens.
    Yes, these are from three Buffalo Gardenwalks that I attended in the last four years, but not all of the homes were officially on the Gardenwalks. Buffalo has a program called "Buffalo in Bloom" that encourages residents to plant gardens in their front yards. Between the Gardenwalks and the Buffalo in Bloom campaigns, the West Side of Buffalo, traditionally the preferred residential area of the city, front yard gardens have become commonplace.

    Buffalo's West Side is becoming a success story as more middle-class people are moving into many of the once-rough neighborhoods and transforming them into stable residential neighborhoods. One of the things that I noted when I attended this year's Gardenwalk is that I didn't see a single vacant house or even a dilapidated one. There were a few that had the look of somewhat "down-at-the-heels" rental homes, but even those were neat and in general good repair. Six or seven years ago, vacant and decrepit houses were common in most neighborhoods away from Elmwood Avenue.

    The reason that people are willing to gamble on moving into the rough West Side neighborhoods is the architecture. As the cottages on Little Summer Street demonstrate, even tiny little houses (700-900 square feet) can be desirable when they are well designed and well built. As the homes in neighborhoods along Delaware and Elmwood Avenues have become pricier, poorer but determined would be homeowners have taken back significant parts of the West Side.

    Buffalo's East Side, where the housing stock tends to be plainer, more utilitarian, and often less well built, has not seen anything like the renaissance on the West Side, even though housing is dirt cheap there. I think there's a lesson that needs to be kept in mind when planners/politicians/business leaders are considering plans for redeveloping inner cities: architecture, especially historic architecture, sells, and if you save it, they will come.

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    Buffalo vs. Jerusalem

    Reminds me of a story: in 2002, I combined a short vacation in Buffalo (where I had lived a few years earlier) with a trip to Jerusalem. What a contrast! Buffalo's residential blocks (on the West Side where I lived and visited friends, as opposed to the East Side) were a riot of color.

    Jerusalem's pattern of brown and gray Jerusalem stone contrasted even more sharply with Buffalo than with most American cities.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks, Linda. I'll be in Buffalo for the National Trust conference and will be sure to check out what the city has to offer architecturally!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    Thanks, Linda. I'll be in Buffalo for the National Trust conference and will be sure to check out what the city has to offer architecturally!
    You and your fellow conference attendees will be in for a treat. Buffalo's West Side is literally crammed with some of the most beautiful historic architecture in the US, much of it just private vernacular architecture that ordinary people can afford to live in.

    The saddest thing is that when you live surrounded by so much great historical architecture, you tend to take it for granted. It took me living elsewhere to appreciate how beautiful the city is.

    If you like industrial architecture, you should tour the grain elevators if you get the opportunity, especially if you can see "Elevator Alley" by boat from the Buffalo River. The elevators are iconic symbols of Buffalo's faded glory, but sadly, they don't lend themselves to pragmatic reuse, and they are becoming more and more endangered every year.

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