Coplon Mansion - Table of Contents
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)
Italian Renaissance Revival
column, arches, and base of building are of Indiana stone.
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
- Driveways (2) from Getzville Rd. and Main St. and the driveway around the mansion are original
- Perimeters of the land to the south and west of the mansion are original.
- Land loss to the east and north has been minimal
- Contributing garden wall of uncoursed fieldstone includes a stone bench and flagstone stairs leading to the north driveway, and was part of a formal garden.
- Stone walls (southeast of house) are original and made up part of the formal, sunken garden.
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.
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.
- Low-pitched hipped roofs covered with ceramic tiles
The original tile-clad, low-pitched hipped roofs of the house and garage were one of the outstanding design characteristics of the mansion buildings. Although in recent years they have been replaced by another material, the color and general appearance has been retained.
- Widely overhanging eaves, often supported by decorative brackets
The broad eaves of the house were supported by decorative brackets until the roof was replaced in ?.
- Upper-story windows smaller and less elaborate than windows below
The flat-headed, rectangular, upper-story windows are smaller than the first-floor arched windows. The square attic windows are small, flat headed, symmetrically placed, and located just below the roof line.
- Symmetrical facade
The U-shape design of the mansion was strictly symmetrical and the east and west wings are nearly identical.
- Cubic massing
The mansion has three block sections, a one story central loggia flanked by nearly identical east and west wings.
- Recessed portico with Tuscan order columns
The entrance to the house is at the south elevation. It is located within a recessed portico with six columns supporting arched openings. The portico is three bays wide with multi-light French doors and sidelights, blind arches in the end bays, and a central bowed window with copper-clad dome.
- Stucco wall cladding
The house and garage are clad in stucco.
- Arched window and door openings
The window and door openings of the south, east, and west elevations are dominated by rounded arches with simple stucco surrounds. In addition to the three larger arched openings to the portico, the south, front elevation includes two blind windows defined by a simple shouldered surround, one in the first floor center of each wing.
- Flat roofs
The central section of the mansion is flat roofed distinguishing it from the hipped roofs of the east and west wings.
- Courtyard elevations of the east and west wings have wall dormers with shaped parapets.
- Marble floors and Indiana stone fireplaces in main rooms.
- Fountains in the reception halls have hanging pails cast in bronze especially for the Coplons. Drains were installed for the water.
- As of 1997, original clay tile flooring intact at the loggia.
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
- Crouch-Waite Mansion, another early twentieth-century Italian Renaissance style residence, located on the Daemen College campus
- Hedstrom Caretakers Cottages, 4196-4200 Main St. (Amherst Landmark status)
- Arthur Hedstrom Mansion, 50 Getzville Road (Amherst Landmark status)
- 4287 Main St.. Directly across from the Coplon Mansion. The Amherst Industrial Development Association purchased it, restored the exterior and added a wing in the style of the existing building, a ca. 1880 2 1/2 story farmhouse.
Architect Louis Greenstein
A local and prolific architect, Greenstein was responsible for designing buildings in various styles including:
- Bryant & Stratton Business Institute / Tapestry Charter School 40 North St., Buffalo, Georgian Revival, 1925.Originally medical business offices.
- Lederman's furniture store, 239-241 Lombard Street, Buffalo, 1929. Commercial building with Art Deco ornamentation in the center of the Broadway-commercial district.
- Riverside Men's Shop, Ontario St., Buffalo. After a fire destroyed David and Raymond Ehrenreich's family store, 1940, Louis Greenstein was hired to create a brand-new building which used the most modern features of the day including the city's first air-conditioning, first plate-glass doors, and first fluorescent lighting.
- Abbott Theatre, 1298 Abbott Rd, West Seneca. Opened October 19, 1950. Later changed to the Towne Theatre. Now demolished.
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
- Building Department, Town of Amherst
- Bero Associates Architects, Intensive and Reconnaissance Level Surveys
- Durkin, Corinne and Elizabeth Wolf