Delaware Avenue Historic District - Table of Contents ............ Other buildings on Delaware Avenue
Millionaires' Row, Buffalo NY
Delaware Avenue, between North Street and Bryant Avenue
Buffalo was incorporated as a city in 1832. At that time, North Street was the northern boundary and was called Guideboard Road and led to the Black Rock ferry.
In 1868, Buffalo was extended to Ferry Street and the farmland began to give way to development. The development of the area corresponds with a great rise in fortunes in Buffalo in commercial banking and industrial trades – Delaware Avenue was perfectly situated removed from the congestion of downtown but with a direct connection to business. Delaware Avenue became the most prestigious street in the city around the turn of the century and thus most of the larger residences that were built in the city are on this street.
The Delaware Avenue National Historic District includes all the properties on the west side of Millionaires' Row. It is also one of the city's preservation districts.
Francis R. Kowsky, "Delaware Avenue," in The Grand American Avenue 1850-1920
San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994, pp. 55-62
During the 1880s and 1890s, Delaware Avenue had achieved its exalted status as one of the eminent addresses in America. Here in a sort of linear paradise of many mansions set amidst tree-shaded lawns and elegant gardens most of the city's sixty millionaires lived in a manner that would have astonished antebellum residents....
For the first three decades of the twentieth century, Delaware Avenue - especially the section beyond North Street - remained the most desirable residential address in the city. In fact, many of the older mansions of the 12860s and 1870s gave way to new, more palatial constructions. ...
The [Delaware Avenue] Association succeeded in 1924 in having the city widen the avenue [Delaware] from Niagara Square almost up to North Street... The modernization of the avenue, however, occasioned the destruction of most of the splendid elm trees that had lined the thoroughfare, two rows on each side, since even before Olmsted's day....
Above North Street, the residential character of the avenue survived... But while business was held at bay at North Street, apartment houses began to make their appearance in the residential section of the street. By the 1920s, several large apartment blocks , gracefully detailed with ashlar ground floors and tasteful Classical ornament, were erected there. Notable is the Westbrook ... Another grand apartment house was the Campanile...
After World War II, more and more families moved away from the avenue. The mansions they left behind were either demolished, turned into multiple dwellings, or taken over by institutions. Landscaped grounds suffered from the lack of professional care and the street, gradually denuded of its trees, acquired, for those aware of its former glory, a forlorn aspect...
Religious properties, however, were less affected by the ravages of change. Today they are are often the brightest reminder of the street's former gentility and urbanity. A notable exception to this general truth, however, is ...the "new" St. Joseph's Cathedral ... the white marble cathedral was declared in the mid-1970s in need of repair. After selling the windows, the bishop demolished the church....
Despite many loses, much of the physical evidence of old Delaware Avenue endures. Increasingly it is card for by corporations, who like the former families find in the mansion as discreet but effective symbol of attainment.
Some of the buildings on Millionaires' Row:
Williams-Butler Mansion - 672 Delaware Avenue
Williams-Pratt Mansion - 690 Delaware Avenue
Westminster Presbyterian Church - 724 Delaware Avenue
Stephen Clement Mansion - 786 Delaware Avenue
Grace Millard Knox Mansion - 800 Delaware Avenue
Temple Beth Zion - 805 Delaware Avenue
Forman-Cabana Mansion — 824 Delaware Avenue
George B. Matthews Mansion - 830 Delaware Avenue
Richmond-Lockwood Mansion - 844 Delaware Avenue
Harlow C. Curtiss Mansion - 864 Delaware Avenue
Asa Silverthorne House - 877 Delaware Avenue
Charles W. Goodyear Mansion - 888 Delaware Avenue