Connecticut Street Armory - Table of Contents
Williams Lansing and the
Connecticut Street Armory
The text below is an excerpt from
Warren R. Baltes, The Story of the 74th Regimental Armory in Buffalo, New York
Captain Williams Lansing, commanding Officer of Company F, 74th Regiment,New York National Guard, was the architect who was appointed Superintendent of Construction for the new armory by the State Armory Board.
A newspaper account of the day had this to say about the man:
Captain Williams Lansing has been very little heard of in the campaign, but he is the man who has done most of the engineering and fine figuring, and in the last struggle hiscool-headedness and excellent architectural knowledge have done more than the efforts ofany one man in bringing the question to a successful end.
Williams Lansing was, however, much more than an experienced architect and military officer.
A member of one of Buffalo's oldest families, he was the son of Bleeker B. and Sophia E. Williams Lansing, born 1 October, 1860 at the home of his grandfather, E. P. Williams, on Court Street. After graduating from Buffalo State Normal School, he went to Colorado and spent several years on western ranches.
Returning to Buffalo, he started practice for himself in 1888, designing some of Buffalo's most important buildings, including, of course, our beloved 74th Regiment Armory, Lafayette Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church and Canisius College.
Residences he designed included the homes of Harry P. Ramsdell, Bronson Rumsey, Edward S. Warren, and Myron and John Bush.
Mr. Lansing was described as "a man who knew a great many things besides architecture ... he had seen much, read much, and had original ideas on many subjects."
Williams Lansing was supervising architect of the Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo in 1901 where President McKinley was fatally wounded. As an ardent supporter of aquatic and all outdoor sports, he was a founder of the Buffalo Canoe Club and its first Commodore. He was, also, a devoted husband and father.
His friends knew him as a fearless outspoken citizen who never refrained from expressing his opinion in plain terms upon social or civil subjects. "It is a fact of pathetic as well as practical significance that the last utterance of a public kind Williams Lansing ever gave was as a plea for the preservation of the noble elms in lower Delaware Avenue, and an expression of belief that architectural science was capable of providing a way to do that. The incident was characteristic of the fine nature and constructive qualities of the man.
Williams Lansing died on 30 September, 1920, a day before his 60th birthday. His death came quite unexpectedly, suffering a stroke during dinner at his home at 200 Bryant Street, from which he never regained consciousness.
Mr. Lansing was survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Vought Lansing; his daughter, Mrs. Arnold C. Saunders, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio; and two brothers, Gerrit B. and Stuart A. Lansing. He was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York - Lot #35, Section AA, an area befitting his stature in life, the family plot located next to the grave of Williams G. Fargo of Wells-Fargo fame.
Current State of New York Department of Military & Naval Affairs regulations prohibit the naming of a military installation after a person. However, in recognition of his unfailing efforts, it is hoped that one day soon, a plaque may be placed at the entrance to the Connecticut Street Armory memorializing the memory of the man who had done more than any one man in securing the desired home for the 74thRegiment - Captain Williams Lansing.
See also: Beierl & Lansing, architects - LINKS