house at 218 Dearborn is a post-Civil War era shotgun worker’s cottage
located in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo, NY.
Constructed c.1880, the home was built as the area became a thriving
working class neighborhood, with many members of its immigrant
population working for the nearby waterfront and rail industries.
The house is eligible for the National Register as a surviving example
of the worker’s cottage type, which during the last half of the 19th
century dominated much of the landscape of the Black Rock neighborhood.
Significant in the local context, a period of significance has been set
from c.1880, the era in which the initial home was constructed, to
c.1890, when the house’s porch received a fashionable late-Victorian
Based on the extensive survey completed in 2010, there are as few as
four shotgun workers’ cottages remaining in the Black Rock neighborhood
that maintain enough exterior integrity to be considered eligible for
the National Register. Of the four examples documented, 218 Dearborn is
the only example known to have an intact interior plan and an intact
late-Victorian era porch.
known about its residents is consistent with the German settlement of
the neighborhood. The first documented occupancy dates to 1900 and
lists the owner as Isador Keller
who was born in Germany in 1833 and migrated to the United States with
his parents in 1836. After living a lengthy life as a farmer outside of
Buffalo, Isador Keller and his wife, Catherine Keller,
moved into 218 Dearborn Street in order to retire, away from their
farm. They remained at the residence until 1920, when the next
occupancy is listed as Jacob and Mary Sommer
, both German immigrants, and a daughter, Caroline
. The Sommer family retains the longest tenancy in the home’s history, with Caroline living at the residence through the 1970’s.