John D. Larkin- Table of Contents .............................. Museum District - Table of Contents

Larkland: Five houses built by by John D. Larkin for his wife and children

John D. Larkin.
Brother-in-law William Heath.
Son John, Jr.
Son Harry.
Son-in-law Harold Esty.
Darwin Martin.
Son-in-law Walter Robb.
Catalog #86, Fall/Winter 1921-22

Photo courtesy of Daniel I. Larkin, author of "John D. Larkin: A Business Pioneer," pub. by Western New York Wares, 1998

1925 Photograph taken by Bachrach, probably at the time of 50th anniversary of the company. The image was sent out as part of a company mailing.

The reverse side which may have been the cover for the mailing reads: "Larkin Pleasure Trail Contest, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, August ...1926"

The Onondaga limestone wall along Lincoln Pkwy. just to the north (left) of the gates to 65 Lincoln Pkwy. Wall encompasses the entire block.

John Larkin House, 107 Lincoln Parkway

John Jr. Larkin House, 65 Lincoln Parkway

Harry Larkin House, 160 Windsor Avenue

Charlie Larkin House, 175 Windsor Ave.

Harold Esty House, 176 Windsor Avenue


Larkland History
By Bonnie Bristol Clesse, Writer / Mary Beth Parrinello, Historian

In February of 1909, John Durrant Larkin, Senior, founder of Larkin Company, purchased an entire city block of land known as Rumsey's Wood. Bordered by Rumsey Road and Forest and Windsor Avenues, the property fronted on Lincoln Parkway. Larkin and his wife Frances called it Larkland and proceeded to have beautiful homes built there for themselves and four of their children (Charles, Frances, John D. Junior, and Harry).

Each house had a garage with an apartment for the chauffeur's family above and a heating plant in the basement below. The heat was carried via steam pipes through a tunnel connecting the garage to the house.

In addition to the homes, there were greenhouses and utility buildings on the grounds. A road was built through the compound from Forest Avenue to Rumsey Road for deliveries of coal and other necessities. Finally, a limestone wall surrounded the whole property. Truly Larkland was a very extensive and beautiful estate.

Sadly, the main mansion of Frances and John D. Larkin Senior was demolished in 1939. The grandest, most lavish home of all, it had overlooked Delaware Park from the corner of Lincoln and Rumsey. The four children's homes at 160, 176 and 175 Windsor and 65 Lincoln remain with the original limestone wall to give us an interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of one of Buffalo's premier families.

John Durrant Larkin, Junior, worked in the family business as the general manager assistant to Treasurer Darwin Martin and finally, president. Married in 1900, he and Edna Crate moved into 65 Lincoln Parkway in 1915. There, they raised their three children, J. Crate, John III, and Mary Frances.

After her parents' deaths in 1945 and 1948, the tedious task of sorting through their belongings and extensive collections fell to their only daughter, Mary Frances Larkin Kellogg. To make this job easier, she and her husband, Howard Kellogg, Junior son of the founder of Spencer Kellogg Company, moved into the house with their six children. (Interestingly, the Kelloggs' own home at 12 Middlesex was the 1987 Decorators' Show House.)

In 1954 The Buffalo Seminary acquired and furnished The Buffalo Seminary Larkin House through the generosity of the Larkin and Kellogg families, Buffalo Seminary Graduates Association and many friends of the Seminary. The house has been used as the headmaster's residence and for social functions. In 1981 Larkin House, as it was known, was the first of the biennial Decorators' Show Houses. In 1999 it is the tenth, the only site visited twice.

The seven children of John and Frances Larkin:

Charles ("Charlie")

Frances Elberta ("Daisy")

John Jr.

Edith May

Harry Hubbard


Ruth Read

"Larkland" Houses:

Special thanks to Daniel I. Larkin, John Larkin's grandson and author of "John D. Larkin: A Business Pioneer," pub. by Western New York Wares, 1998, for sharing his time and knowledge in an interview.


Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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