George L. Thorne House
40 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo, NY

Additional sources of information found beneath the 2015 photos


"The first house built on Bidwell Parkway, as the home of real estate dealer George L. Thorne. His business partner Byron Angell built his own house on Lafayette Ave., designed by W. W. Carlin." - Grant-Ferry-Forest Intensive Level Historic Resources Survey
Original owner:
George L. Thorne

See also:  George and Dollie Thorne House, 16 Tillinghast Place  Built ca. 1911
Bethune Bethune & Fuchs

"Although the firm is not known for its residential commissions, the prominent local architectural firm of Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs also contributed a small handful of projects to the Elmwood Historic District. While a local company whose works, such as the Hotel Lafayette (1905),  and numerous factories and school buildings, were largely in the Buffalo area, Bethune, Bethune and Fuchs is also of national significance. Louise Blanchard Bethune (1856-1913) was the firm founder and the first professional woman architect in the nation. She was also a highly regarded professional in her lifetime." -
Elwood Historic Preservation District (West), Section 8, p. 112
Queen Anne
Contributing member in the Elwood Historic Preservation District (West)

George L. Thorne House

2 1⁄2-story complex massed frame Queen Anne house with engaged 2-story polygonal [having many angles] tower, stone foundation, wood clapboard and shingle, asphalt roof.

Full width 2-level open front porch, Doric columns [Tuscan columns], spindle balustrade 1st story.

Open front gable with shingle bands, small oriel projecting from peak, vergeboards.

Tower features 1/1 windows with Craftsman type muntins.

Second Empire-style dormer on raked upper level with pediment.

Beltcourses, courses of  shingles.

Contains contributing frame flat roof secondary building (garage).

Elmwood Historic Preservation District (West), Section 7, p. 80
Bidwell Parkway

Bidwell Parkway is an excellent example of Olmsted’s Buffalo parks and parkways system, cutting diagonally through the Elmwood Historic District (West) from Richmond Avenue and Colonial Circle through Elmwood Avenue near Potomac Avenue further on to Soldier’s Circle in the north-east.

The street and parkway itself were previously listed on the State and National Registers as a contributing element to the Delaware Park-Front Park system in the Olmsted Parks and Parkways Thematic Resources.

A divided roadway with grassy median, Bidwell Parkway is an excellent example of the type of road-as-park that Olmsted envisioned; linking pre- existing settlement at Black Rock and Cold Spring with ribbons of trees and landscape to Delaware Park.

The entire street measures approximately 200-feet in width, creating a broad roadway. The median is planted with numerous elm trees on a grid layout, helping give this area a shady, forest-like orderly appearance. Streetlights on Bidwell Parkway are cast iron decorative luminares on poles with Art Nouveau flourishes and glass globes.

Houses on Bidwell Parkway date from approximately the 1890s to 1900s, and many feature more high-style examples of Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles. The street also contains several apartment buildings, compatibly scaled to the neighboring 2 1⁄2 or 3-story houses.

Notable buildings on Bidwell Parkway include the George L. Thorne House at 50 [#40] Bidwell Parkway, designed for one of Buffalo’s most prominent real estate moguls by
Bethune Bethune & Fuchs around 1885. The house at 123 Bidwell Parkway dates to 1895 and was designed by Joseph Lyman Silsbee, a nationally-significant architect and early mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built for Charles Dudley Arnold, official photographer of the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition in 1901.

- Elmwood Historic Preservation District (West)
2015 Photos

Queen Anne  style

Engaged 2-story polygonal [having many angles] tower  ... Tower features 1/1 windows with Craftsman type muntins.

Second Empire-style dormer with pediment ...  Note guilloche molding

Second Empire-style dormers with pediments

Two styles of shingle ... Clapboards

Open front gable with shingle bands, small oriel projecting from peak, vergeboards.

Tuscan columns ... Double balustrade

Tuscan columns

Double balustrade

Leaded glass side lights ... Doric pilasters

Leaded glass side light ... Doric pilaster

Additional sources of information on this house found on Buffalo Architecture & History website:

1. Olmsted Park and Parkway System - Table of Contents
Bidwell Parkway is part of the Olmsted and Vaux-designed park system, the first designed park system in the US.

2. Grant-Ferry-Forest Intensive Level Historic Resources Survey
Intensive level surveys are usually professionally researched and published.  A wealth of information, among other uses, they can  lead to the formation of historic districts.

3. State and Federal Elmwood Historic District (West)
Bidwell Parkway west of Elmwood Avenue is included in the historic district.  There are current efforts (May 2015) to create a Elmwood Historic District (East) that would include Bidwell Parkway east of Elmwood Avenue. The main impetus for creating historic districts is for developers and  site owners to benefit from tax credits which is a way for society to express the appreciation of history.

Photos and their arrangement 2015
Chuck LaChiusa

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