Ella Portia Conger Goodyear .............. Charles W. Goodyear House - Table of Contents
Ella Portia Conger Goodyear and
Text by Martin Wachadlo
Text reprinted with permission from Oakland Place: Gracious Living in Buffalo
123 Oakland Place
Moved from 178 Bryant Street
Charles W. and Grace Rumsey Goodyear, Jr.
S.V.R. and Ellen Goodyear Watson Spaulding, Jr. -
This grand home [123 Oakland Place] was built in 1892 for Edwin G. Hoag, an employee of prominent realtor L. F. W. Arend.
Ella Goodyear subsequently purchased the property around 1911. The widow of lumber baron Charles W. Goodyear, Ella, who lived at 888 Delaware Avenue, wanted each of her three children to have homes opening onto her large back yard. She also wanted the property at 178 Bryant Street as the site of a new home for her daughter, Esther, and Esther's husband, Arnold Watson. In late 1911 or early 1912, the house was lifted up, pushed back, turned ninety degrees, and placed in its present location at 123 Oakland Place. The entire process took place on the grounds of the extensive Goodyear property.
Per Ella's wishes, the house now located at 123 Oakland Place became a home for her second son, Charles W. Goodyear, Jr. (1883-1967), and his wife, Grace Rumsey. After graduating from Yale and marrying Grace, Charles Jr. managed the Goodyear lumber interests in Louisiana, but in 1910 Grace insisted on returning home to Buffalo. In 1914, Ella transferred the house to Grace. Ten years later, as she and her husband prepared to move into their new house at 190 Bryant Street (designed by Bley & Lyman), Grace returned the house to her mother-in-law. Ella then rented out 123.
190 Bryant Street
Charles W. and Grace Rumsey Goodyear, Jr.
Unfortunately for Charles and Grace, their new home [190 Bryant Street] was not a happy one. Charles had "strayed off the marital reservation," and was having an affair with S. V. R. Spaulding's wife, Marion. The affair scandalized Buffalo society, and the pair became personae non gratae in many quarters. Charles was even forbidden entry into the home of his brother-in-law, Arnold Watson, next door at 180 Bryant Street. Eventually Charles and Marion divorced their spouses and in 1935 married each other.
Ella transferred 123 Oakland Place in 1936 to her daughter, Esther Watson. Esther's daughter, Ellen, subsequently moved into this house with her new husband, S.V.R. Spaulding, Jr. - an ironic twist, inasmuch as Spaulding Jr. was the son of Charles Goodyear's new wife.
180 Bryant Street
Arnold and Esther Goodyear Watson.
160 Bryant Street
A. Conger Goodyear
Photo source: Bogalusa Story p. 56
During the 1920s, Langdon Albright (1880-1962) moved into the house [120 Oakland Place] with his family and lived here until his death. The second son of industrialist John J. Albright, Langdon had previously lived at 33. In 1914, he moved into a large new house adjacent to his father's mansion on West Ferry Street. (Both of those mansions are now gone.) The senior Albright's reversal of fortune during the early 1920s evidently affected Langdon as well: he left his West Ferry Street home and returned to Oakland Place. His sister, Ruth Albright Hollister, lived across the street at 115.
Langdon, who was trained as an electrical engineer, served as vice president of the Niagara, Lockport & Ontario Power Company. He also served as a longtime trustee of the Albright Art Gallery. Like architect Edward B. Green, he was opposed to the gallery's acquisition of avant garde art, spearheaded by A. Conger Goodyear, who lived around the corner at 160 Bryant Street. Albright, Green, and other conservative gallery members were especially scandalized by the acquisition of Picasso's La Toilette in 1926, and they ensured that Goodyear was not reelected to the board three years later.
By then, Goodyear had moved to New York City where he soon became the first president of the Museum of Modern Art. Prior to leaving Buffalo, though, he kindled an interest in modern art in Seymour Knox . For Knox, this interest grew into a lifelong passion. One wonders what Albright might have thought about Knox's modernist transformation of the Albright Art Gallery, both inside and out, in the years after World War II.
Photos and their arrangement © 2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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