Mary Vought Lansing House - Table of Contents
History - Mary Vought Lansing House
An excerpt from
Oakland Place: Gracious Living in Buffalo
By Martin Wachadlo
Published by Buffalo Heritage Unlimited
Mary V. Lansing purchased the lot at number 29 in 1897 and her husband, Williams Lansing, designed a home for the property. Lansing, an architect, was a principal in the architectural firm of Lansing & Beierl. This house has the distinction of being one of only two on the street built as an architect's home [the other being the home of Duane Lyman].
Lansing made maximum use of the narrow lot by designing two homes separated by a thick party wall. Together, 29 and 33 Oakland Place presented a balanced and unified façade. The façades and floor plans of these Colonial Revival residences were originally mirror images. Bays fronted the living rooms, which were situated under the master bedrooms. Although the entrances originally included front porches that were supported by smooth Tuscan columns, only the porch at 29 is still intact. The windows are nine-over-nine sash and a Palladian window on each side highlights the main staircase. Balustrades originally topped the high hip roof with its flaring eaves and the area between the dormers. The thick party wall is topped by a massive center chimney.
The vestibule leads to an entry hall with an exquisite Colonial staircase that turns twice as it ascends to the second floor. The hall opens directly into a large living room. A fireplace with Tuscan columns is flanked by built-in bookcases while a large bay window overlooks Oakland Place. Pocket doors lead to the dining room that features the original beamed ceiling. The ceiling in the living room matches the dining room but it is not original; it was added by one of the home's later owners. A triple window, overlooking the back yard, is framed by leaded glass bookcases on either side. The first floor of this home also features pedimented casings on all of the door and window openings; this unusual feature suggests an appreciation of Greek Revival architecture.
Williams Lansing (1860-1920) worked for several years as a clerk before joining the architectural office of Green & Wicks in 1886. He opened his own office in 1889 and began a partnership with another Green & Wicks draftsman, Max G. Beierl (rhymes with spiral), three years later. Lansing & Beierl soon became one of the leading architectural firms in Buffalo. The firm designed a variety of buildings, including the massive Connecticut Street Armory and a series of imposing churches, beginning with the Lafayette Presbyterian Church. They also excelled at residential design, as evidenced by at least five homes on Oakland Place (numbers 28, 29, 33, 37 and 127). In 1910, the firm became Lansing, Bley & Lyman. Lansing's partner Duane Lyman later built his own house at 78.
The Lansings moved to Bryant Street in 1914 and sold their home to Norman and Margaret Clement. The Clements lived in the adjoining 33 and intended to turn the two homes into one. Upon learning that major structural complications would result, they instead rented out 29 to Bert L. Jones, general manager of the spectacular Niagara Gorge Railway. In 1919, Norman sold both 29 and 33 Oakland Place to his brother Harold T. Clement (1890-1971). A 1912 graduate of Yale, Harold was treasurer of the Rogers-Brown Iron Company. He and his wife, Constance, lived in 29 and rented 33 to another brother, Stuart H. Clement. In 1923, the Clements sold both 29 and 33 and moved down the street to 116.
Katherine Cooke Brehm was the next owner of 29. She later married Preston B. Porter and, in 1929, sold the house to Cecil W. Farrar, an industrialist. Farrar was president of Excelso Products Corporation, a company that manufactured water heaters, and he eventually became president of the Case Manufacturing Company before retiring to Florida. In 1945, he sold the house to Louis C. Dodd, who lived in the house until his death in 1960. Harold T. Clement's namesake son, who lived here as a child, purchased the house in 1965, so at least one Oakland Place resident seems to have proven that you can go home again!
Present owners: Joan and Norman Effman