Coplon Mansion - Table of Contents

 Coplon Mansion / Alverno Hall / Curtis Hall
Garage and Chauffeur's Apartment/Thomas Reynolds Center
Daemen College, 4380 Main St., Amherst, NY




Louis Greenstein (40 North St. (Bryant & Stratton, Tapestry School)                   


Siegfried Construction


Italian Renaissance Revival

Building materials:

column, arches, and base of building are of Indiana stone.

Original owners:

Coplon family

2006 building uses:

  • Mansion - Curtis Hall (classrooms and offices)
  • Garage/chauffeur's apartment - Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education

Text adapted from the October 2006 Landmark Designation Application for Town of Amherst, New York


Major alterations


Adapted for student housing

Subsequent to 1956:

Adapted for classrooms and offices including some new walls

  • Storm panels added at exterior of windows
  • New door on east side
  • Garage - entrance vestibule added at front of garage.

Since 2001:

Tile roof with decorative supports removed from mansion; replaced with similar color roof but with different materials. 


Garage - expansion

 Italian Renaissance style

The Coplon Mansion is architecturally significant for embodying the distinctive characteristics of the Italian Renaissance Revival, an  architectural style which is relatively rare in Amherst.   
Exterior features:

Interior features:

Coplon family
The Coplon family was one of western New York's oldest and most prominent Jewish families; they were involved in many community groups and philanthropic endeavors. 

Samuel and Rosa Coplon, their three sons and one daughter emigrated from Lithuania ca. 1880.

Rosa was a charter member of the original Jewish Old folks home and was deeply interested in the care of the elderly.  She was a local philanthropist and a pioneer in the nursing home field.

Samuel and his sons David H. and Joseph founded the Walk on Rug store on Broadway near Fillmore in the early 1900s, and later expanded it into a furniture store.  During the 1910s, David and Joseph built a nine story building at 606 Main St. for their Select Furniture Co.  The business had branches in Western New York and Pennsylvania, but after 1929 and the Depression, only the Buffalo store was kept open.  The Select building still stands. 
The Coplons invested heavily in real estate in downtown Buffalo:  the entire northwest corner of Main and Chippewa including the Great Lakes (later Paramount) theatre; property along the north side of Chippewa from Pearl St. to Delaware Ave.; and several buildings just north of Chippewa on the east side of Delaware.  Only the Select Building remains.
Joseph and David Coplon purchased part of the Humburch property in 1918; they hired Louis Greenstein to design a house for their family and their parents.  The resulting mansion became the second house on the property and included a deed restriction stating the property would be used for residential purposes only for twenty-five years.  The mansion was a double home linked by a living hall and loggia. An apartment in the second floor northwest corner of mansion was intended for Samuel and Rosa Coplon, however Rosa died after living in the house only one day.  Samuel continued to live there. 

In 1923, the three brothers purchased the Daughters  of Israel home, 10 Symphony Circle, Buffalo, and renamed it the Rosa Coplon Jewish  Old Folks Home in honor of their mother.  It is now located at 2700 North Forest Rd., Getzville, NY.   

In 1935, the mansion was converted into nine apartments (Coplon Terrace Apartments), four in each wing and one in the connecting hall.  Joseph Coplon continued to live in one of the apartments.

The estate and house were purchased by Rosary Hill College in 1956 for $95,000.00, including six months of county taxes.  The college had been established next door at the Crouch-Waite Estate in 1948.  (The Crouch-Waite Mansion also has the rating of Blue+.)

The Coplon mansion was renovated for student housing; the same company (Siegfried Construction Company) that built the mansion renovated it.  The building later accommodated classrooms and administrative offices.  In 1976, Rosary Hill changed its name to Daemen College.

Historical importance: Early suburban development in Amherst

Amherst experienced a substantial population increase in the early decades of the twentieth century due to wealthy people moving here from Buffalo.  Construction of a trolley line along Main St. in 1893 provided improved access to Buffalo for commuters and facilitated development of Main St., especially in the southwest corner of town.  The combination of trolley line, improved roads, proximity to the city, and relatively flat terrain resulted in the development of the southwest part of town.      

Some of the earliest people to move here at that time were wealthy Buffalonians who established large suburban estates and horse farms beginning in the 1890s.  The Coplons, Hedstroms, Sattlers, Farbers, Crouches and others chose to build their estates in Amherst.  While none of these early estates have survived with the original acreage, setting, and all buildings entirely intact, scattered historic resources can be found.  Although the exterior of the Coplon garage has been altered and a portion of the original acreage has been lost, much of the estate remains.
The history of the estates along the Main St. corridor in Amherst is important because it marks the beginning of residential development in the town.  Prior to this time, Williamsville had been the focus of population, commerce, and industry in the town due to its strategic location on old Buffalo Rd. (Main St.) at the falls of Ellicott Creek.  From a marginal agricultural community at the end of the nineteenth century, Amherst's population grew dramatically during the first three decades of the twentieth century:  10% between 1900-1910, 36% between 1910-1920, and 110% between 1920-1930.  The period of residential growth is a significant period in the town's history. 

Historic neighbors eligible for Historic Designation

Architect Louis  Greenstein

A local and prolific architect, Greenstein was responsible for designing buildings in various styles including:

 In 1924, a contest was held for a new flag for Buffalo. Out of seventy-three designs, Louis Greenstein's was selected. 

Sources of information

Photos and their arrangement © 2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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