Automobile Club of Buffalo / Clarence Town Clubhouse - Table of Contents

History -
Automobile Club of Buffalo / Clarence Town ParkClub House

10405 Main Street, Clarence, NY
Town of Clarence - Official Website




Esenwein & Johnson


Arts and Crafts

Current owner:

The Town of Clarence bought the club and surrounding property in 1957.
Today, the club house serves as a meeting and dining facility for the citizens of Clarence.

The historic photographs below were made available by Erie County Historian Doug Kohler


Art Nouveau and Other Expressions: Rediscovering the Architecture of Esenwein and Johnson
A 2005 Exhibit at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum

"The delightful symplicity [sic] of the Old Mission architecture has been maintained in the planning of the building, a spacious., rambling bungalow. The first impression that the motorist receives as he turns into the grounds is of the broad eaves, roomy verandas with their easy wicker chairs, inviting nooks and restful corners, all soliciting investigation. The soft gray stucco walls against the dark-green of the trees are in such perfect harmony with the environment as to seem a part of it." -- The Buffalo Motorist, April 1911

"The [main] room is finished in weathered oak - unpolished - -andshowing its natural, beautiful grain. Vaulted ceilings give an historic touch to the apartment, one of medieval romance, recalling ancestral halls of the old barons who gathered their friends together and made merry over the flowing bowl of mead.

The austerity of the Old Mission style is softened in this beautiful room in the country home by the dark, rich draperies that fall in rich folds from archways, windows and entries." -- The Buffalo Motorist, April 1911

Western New York Heritage Press: Mid 1920s photo

Reprinted from
"The History of Clarence Past and Present,"
July 4, 1924

To many of the nearly 10, 000 members of the Automobile Club of Buffalo, one of the most attractive features of membership is the club's beautiful country quarters nestling in charming environment at Clarence, N.Y., seventeen miles from the business center of Buffalo. The location for the clubhouse was selected by able club committees more than fifteen years ago, when a thorough inspection of probable sites in this end of the State was made.

Formally opened in the spring of 1911 to the members oft he Automobile Club of Buffalo and to members of all automobile clubs affiliated with the American Automobile Association, the national body of organized car owners, the Country Club immediately became a mecca for club members and their families. The popularity of the country quarters has steadily increased. Its reputation for all of the comforts and conveniences embodied in a modern automobile country club has brought to the attention of thousands of motorists throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe,

The Automobile Club of Buffalo is the only automobile club east of St. Paul that maintains an institution of this kind, and is one of probably not more than six automobile clubs in the United States that possesses a country club.

The country club is seldom mentioned in print or otherwise unless coupled with the name, "Clarence, N.Y.," a form of persistent advertising that has brought the village and the club quarters to the favorable attention of probably 3,000,000 motorists in the past several years.

In the guests' register maintained at the clubhouse will be found the names of motorists from every State of the Union, and from practically all parts of the world.

The grounds

In the many acres of grounds surrounding the clubhouse there is a beautifully wooded section, a broad expanse of well-kept lawns, an immense gymkhana field for a wide range of out-of-door pastimes, a trap-shooting range, tennis courts, and a small, but beautiful, lake fed by natural springs, which provides facilities for swimming and other aquatic sports. The Urban Gardens, a beautiful floral plot which graces the property along the main highway, is one of the most pleasing views on the grounds when thousands of perennials are in bloom. The Urban Gardens were the gift of George Urban, Jr., a pioneer member of the club, who takes personal interest and pride in maintaining the gardens.

Ornamental and electrically lighted pergolas have been installed in various parts of the grounds and combine with other embellishments to make the scene most delightful and. refreshing.

Originally printed in the Clarence Bee

The Clarence Town Park Club House is an excellent example of a "typical" Arts and Craftsman Bungalow-styled building. Its wood frame beam construction covered with a stucco finish is unusual for Western New York, but has weathered the years well.

Formally opened on June 15, 1911 as the country club for the Automobile Club of Buffalo, it provided a pleasant destination after an adventurous 20-mile drive from the rigors of city life. Ladies and gentlemen of the City of Buffalo would venture out to the country in their new Pierce Arrows or other stylish automobile to relax in the peaceful atmosphere of a park setting and enjoy the comforts of a beautiful club house. Dinner was served in the expanded dining room that, before it was enclosed, was the east side porch overlooking a quiet pond and grassy knoll.

The Town of Clarence bought the club and surrounding property in 1957.

Today, the club house serves as a meeting and dining facility for the citizens of Clarence. Local clubs hold weekly meetings, various service organizations conduct fund-raising activities and a variety of groups have dinner parties to celebrate special occasions. The Historical Society had maintained the genealogy office of the town's historical documents until early 2003.

Some of the building's outstanding features include two large fireplaces with stone exterior chimneys, multiple roof planes, including a circular roof above an entrance porch fashioned by white columns with battered sides, exposed exterior rafter rails and exposed interior timber beams that frame the large main hall along with the two massive fireplaces and a wide open wood staircase leading to a surrounding balcony.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2003; Photos added 2010
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