Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

landmark society

May 12, 2019 - 7:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, preservation, news, byron, elba, batavia.


The Landmark Society of Genesee County presented its annual preservation awards Friday night at the First Presbyterian Church of Byron.

Photo: Matt Gray, partner, Eli Fish Brewing Co., Rev. James Renfrew, First Presbyterian Church, Jermey Liles, Oliver's Candies, and Bill and Lucine Kauffman.

Below, links to writeups and photos (or in the case of Eli Fish, a video) for each of the award winners:


Rev. Renfrew with the volunteers from the church who prepared and served Friday night's dinner at the church.

May 12, 2019 - 7:53pm


Award text:

The people of the First Presbyterian Church of Byron celebrated their 200th year of ministry in 2018.  It was organized as a Congregational Church in the beginning but came under the care of Genesee Presbytery in 1830. The present building was dedicated in 1830 and reflects the meeting house form. It was 53 feet long and 40 feet wide.  Some of the lumber that was used was hauled from Dansville by oxcart with the remainder of the lumber being furnished by members in the area. The church was entered by two doors on the front as it is today, with stairs going to the galleries that were on three sides. In the early days, the church building also hosted community functions in addition to religious services.  In the early 1900s, the community gathered in the sanctuary of the church for a dramatic theater presentation.  The fixtures for the old velvet curtains, that would be drawn at the end of each performance, still remain. That evening the play required the use of a gun and unfortunately when the gun was fired it was not a blank and the real bullet hit the thick wood of the pulpit. The bullet hole is still there.

The original features of the church that survive include the flush board façade with pilasters and pediment with applied elliptical ornament.  In 1866 the balconies were removed and the building extended 12 feet to the north.  Also, the altar area was changed to the opposite end of the Sanctuary.  In the 1890s the Sanctuary floor was raised and a ground floor was added.   They now had rooms for classrooms and a kitchen.  Later in the nineteenth century, the church was remodeled along with the windows being altered to round-headed arches. At the same time, the Romanesque Revival style belfry was added and the bell is still rung each Sunday and at weddings and special days.  The next extension to the building was added in 1955 and is a two-story rear addition with a dining room and classrooms above.  This addition was dedicated in November of 1955.  Many in our communities have enjoyed the Annual Turkey dinner here in the Fellowship Hall for the last 50 years.  In the 1990s the new side entrance and lift were added.  Also, the front steps were added to the church.

Several years ago the rough-cut center beam that runs north and south through the church was splitting causing the floor to the crown.  Mike Loewke, a local contractor, had to wrap a steel band around the beam to correct this problem and then replace the floorboards.  The center aisle has been re-carpeted.  Other large projects completed in the last 5 years are having the parking lot resurfaced with commercial grade pavement, the two ancient front doors replaced and the roof was replaced with metal roofing.

Rev James Renfrew of the First Presbyterian Church of Byron shared some of the challenges of a building this old: ”Old building are never ”square”! Foundations sink, roof lines slump, old timbers warp, walls bow (thus our corner-to-corner tie rods).  Original builders were not thinking of modern accessibility issues at all, so stairways everywhere, and difficult to retrofit for modern needs. With security and safety as modern concerns for large gathering places, it is particularly difficult to adapt to these old building.  We can put glass panels in each interior door and institute child safety measures. But having so many entrances in an out of the building is a challenge.”

Rev. Renfrew said, “we love our old building, we are blessed with a generous congregation, and capable Trustees to maintain it, but as we all know, a church is first and foremost the faithful people.”

The Landmark Society of Genesee County presents the 2019 Tender Loving Care Award to the First Presbyterian Church of Byron


May 12, 2019 - 7:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, preservation, landmark society.


Award text:

Restoration category description - maintaining or recreating the original integrity of a building's exterior (perhaps the interior) architectural features, layout, materials, etc.

The style of the Kauffman residence is Greek Revival.  This was a popular American architectural style during the mid 19th century (between 1810 - 1855).  It was also referred to as the "National Style" because of its popularity.  This can be attributed to Thomas Jefferson and his affection for Greek culture, particularly the idea of democracy. Thus, reviving this classic Greek building form was appropriate for the burgeoning US democracy.
The Kauffman's purchased the house in 1992, approximately 160 years after the initial house was constructed.   It was designed as a simple farmhouse in the new "National Style" in approximately 1832.

This house, like many long-standing houses, was altered over time to fit the needs of the current owner.  In the late 1880's a wing was added to the primary structure and included a front porch that serves as the formal entry to the house.

Subsequent additions lengthened the house, adding more living and working space, including a summer kitchen.  These changes necessitated interior changes, such as relocating the interior stairs, not once, but four times.

As with all farmhouses, a barn was a central component of the landscape. 

It was torn down in the 1980s and the wood recycled to construct the utility shed.  Elements adjacent to the house still remain reflecting the rural nature of the site, including a concrete trough nestled beside the century old maple, and directly outside the kitchen, is the outdoor water pump that still functions today.

In 1923 the house was purchased by Orville and Emma Slater - who were prominent spiritualist in the area.  Their daughter Vera continued to live in the house until the late 20th century, selling it to Robert and Gabriel West in 1985.  The Wests are credited with saving the house from demolition.  They not only stabilized the house but added modern amenities such as indoor plumbing and heating.  (This image was taken in 1988 by Harold Kilthau and is featured in the Architectural Heritage of Genesee County book.)

The Wests did considerable work to the house. They added two fireplaces that were not original to the house and used local materials collected from other historical structures to embellish the interior design. (The Gothic-inspired cupboard doors were from a local church).

The Kauffman's, like the Wests, try to remain true to the architectural style and history of the house.  Their additions include a new bathroom and redesigned kitchen.  They retain original elements that illustrate the transformation and history of this house.    

In the kitchen, original fixtures are utilized, and custom built cabinets are modified to fit today's needs while maintaining the character and charm of the original.  Period paint colors are used and floors are refinished to highlight their age and natural beauty. 

The Kauffman's in a desire to honor the history and constraints of a 19th century home opted to commission furniture that fits the scale of the rooms while being sensitive to the Greek Revival farmhouse style house they call home.

May 12, 2019 - 7:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oliver's Candies, landmark society.


Award text:

Oliver's Candies is a Batavia and Genesee County institution, has been making candy and confections since 1932. It is a destination for many folks from the area and from far away. Over the last few years, cramped conditions at the Batavia operation sent co-owner Jeremy Liles searching for a solution to the problem.

"We've been busting at the seams in Batavia for a couple of years now and we've talked about building onto the existing building (in Batavia)," Oliver's co-owner and Vice President Jeremy Liles said. "We looked at expanding at Main Street location, but the Tonawanda Creek was problematic and the option was just too expensive."

Liles said, "We didn't choose Elba, Elba chose us."

Oliver’s owned commercial properties in several locations in Genesee County. They looked at property in Le Roy and Corfu, but the drive time didn't work. The Elba option was only a six-minute commute from Batavia, and although it required an extensive overhaul, Liles said they acted quickly to seize the opportunity.

"It called to us, and we acted fast," he said. "It had a cute barn for the store, loading docks, smooth concrete. We converted the inside; insulated it; added central heat and air-conditioning, put in steel walls that are easy to clean, new hoods for the ovens. Redid the roofs, which were pretty worn. It's nice."

The structure was built as a warehouse around 1920; it has served as a produce stand and an ice cream stand and a barn sale site.

The conversion of an old and long unused warehouse presented lots of challenges. Liles said that the building cost "more than I ever wanted to pay" but the location was perfect for the growth potential of the candy operation.

"It's very scary -- I've got to sell a lot of candy now," Liles said. "It's a huge change, huge growth, but a lot of opportunities there."

Liles said they are providing a large catalog company with private-label candies and are growing sales in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and are looking at an opportunity in Georgia.

Liles said "I love doing all this. It's fun, exciting but also very scary."

The Landmark Society of Genesee County presents the 2019 Adaptive Re-use Award to Oliver’s Candies.

May 12, 2019 - 7:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Eli Fish Brewing Company, preservation, landmark society.

Award text:

The fourth recipient of this year’s Landmark Awards goes to Eli Fish Brewing Company for their Adaptive reuse of the building known as J. J. Newberry at 109 111 Main Street in Batavia. Matt Gray and Jon Mager are here tonight to receive the award.

I am sure most of you in the audience tonight are familiar with Eli Fish and the story of their creation of Batavia’s first brewery in many, many years. There has been lots and lots of press coverage of the project and many happy diners and beer lovers have paid a visit since their opening in March of 2018. 

Many of you have memories of what was there before- I have fond memories of Main Street Coffee and Pieces (the jewelry, frame spot, art gallery) being there in the early parts of this century. After that, Brian and Beth Kemp’s T-Shirt ETC found a home there as did The American Red Cross. Of course, the biggest memory jogger for Batavians and folks from Genesee County was the decades that the building was known as Newberry’s.

The three-story Italianate style building was constructed in 1881. The architect was George J King who designed several buildings and residences in the area. The building was built by C.H. Turner & Son Company, a prominent local furniture maker and undertaker, before the J.J. Newberry Company, a national five-and-dime store, purchased the building in 1929.

Downtown Batavia was a hopping center of commerce during those years –both sides of Main Street were lined with late 19th century 2 and 3  story buildings, filled with every kind of business needed for a county seat. Shops were on the ground level floor and offices above. On the corner of Jackson and Main the Bank of Genesee, the building stands still, next it the now long vacant Carr Building remains as well. Between Carrs and Newberry a theater once stood, but a fire devastated it in the mid-thirties and was eventually replaced with a single story addition onto Carr’s.

Following World War II, storefronts in Batavia and all across the country began to change. In an effort to embrace the sleek new look in vogue, many buildings were altered by covering up the brick facework with steel or aluminum. The Newberry building’s storefront was altered- but not to the extent that other Newberry properties experienced across the country.  In 1948 a single story building was erected to the rear of the original structure, more than doubling its length.  The

renovation included a relocated lunch counter with a curved Art Moderne hood.  Main Street Coffee incorporated into their operation and Eli Fish left a portion of it exposed in the entry area of the brewery.  The modern storefront configuration with large plate glass windows was a marvel at the time; it even warranted a full article and large picture in the paper announcing its completion.

Newberry maintained its façade between the 1920s and 50s, even to the point of utilizing hand-cut

wooden gold lettering across the signboard to advertise its presence on Main Street, which was much more

sympathetic to its Italianate Design. The use of gold-painted wood is noteworthy given the proliferation of

plastic molding techniques which have become the dominant sign making style since plastic became available en-mass in the 1940s. Indeed, the Batavia sign was reportedly done by H.H. Upham Company out of New York City, one of the city’s most distinguished sign companies.

When thousands of square feet of Batavia’s downtown meet the wrecking ball in the sixties and seventies, the Newberry Building remained. In 1996 it closed and was briefly home to another 5 and dime before it was sold to Andrew Mistler in 2003. That’s when the building was divided into two elongated spaces available for rent. Main Street Coffee and Pieces rented floor space for a period of time, then T-Shirts ETC and The Red Cross followed them.

In 2015, the building was sold to AGRV Properties with the dream of drastically overhauling the building into a Brewery, restaurant and living spaces. Matt Gray and Jon Mager consulted with the Batavia Development Corporation and arrived at the concept of Fresh Lab to bring in two start-up kitchens to supplement Eli Fish’s own operation. Shortly after purchasing the building, Gray and Mager brought in Buffalo’s Preservation Studios to start the process of listing the property on the National Park Services Register of Historic Places. That highly detailed process resulted in the J J Newberry building attaining a position on the list on September 11, 2017. It joins 23 others on the Register in Genesee County. The achievement, in addition to the historical significance, greatly enhanced the financial feasibility of the project to do a 20 percent tax credit at both the federal and state levels.

Construction began in the spring of 2017. During the construction process, the original plans for the brewery evolved from having the brewing operation on the first floor to moving it into the rear portion of the basement, necessitating the removal of portions of the floor and altering the project’s use of the interior space. The final layout occupies more restaurant space than was originally intended.

Since opening last year one of the two start-ups has left the operation but Eden ( featuring vegan fare) has been very well received as has Eli Fish’s beers and food. The operation at the brewery continues to evolve with additional soundproofing to reduce interior noise levels and adjustments to their menu to meet the demands of the clientele.

Quote from The Preservation Exchange Blog entry by Matt Shoen

“The density of our streets have decreased as companies attempt to gain their own spaces, damaging the feeling and cohesion of our cities. Simply look at images of old Batavia to see how the city's commercial district used to be dominated by three-story Italianate buildings, filled with large stores and commercial tenants on the upper levels. Much of these are gone, replaced by box stores and the downtown mall. The Newberry Building is actually a bit of an albatross, standing between buildings put up in the 1950s. The fact that the building maintained its form from 1881 to the present day is remarkable, even more so considering Newberry's company-wide remodeling plan from the 1950s that sought to sheath many of its buildings with metal siding. The Newberry Building in Batavia escaped this treatment, making it one of the few buildings in Batavia to survive relatively unscathed from the city's heyday….., reminding pedestrians of the shape of their old Main Street.”

November 27, 2017 - 6:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in landmark society, news, Announcements.
From Cleo Mullins, vice president, The Landmark Society of Genesee County:

Join us for the annual meeting of The Landmark Society of Genesee County at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29th, at GOART!, located in historic Seymour Place at 201 E. Main St. in Downtown Batavia.

Local resident and Landmark Board Member Richard Beatty will be presenting a program on the historic Buffalo Landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright -- the Darwin Martin House.

Located in the Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo, the restoration of the six-building complex is nearing completion. The project began in 1992 with the goal of returning the estate to its 1907 condition.

Beatty, a senior docent at the house, will tell the story of the rebuilding and restoration of one of Wright’s greatest early works.

A colored sketch of the Brisbane mansion or former City Hall by Don Carmichael and a sketch of the former St. James Rectory by Gail Thomas will be raffled off. For the suggested donation of $5 you can have a chance to win both of these framed sketches. The drawing will take place at Wednesday's meeting.

The pictures that we are having in the raffle are on display at GOART! in the hallway as you go to the bar area.  Come to the meeting and buy a ticket and you may go home a winner!

Our by-laws state that a person can be a director for two terms and then need to take a one year off the board and can then be re-elected. The treasurer doesn’t have this restriction.

In order to amend our by-laws to allow a director to serve three terms, we need a 2/3 affirmative vote of the members at a membership meeting.

We will be voting for three directors to serve a three-year term.

October 12, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, landmark society, pembroke, indian falls, preservation.


Amanda Owczarczak, Owner

Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant

1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu

Tender Loving Care

Article by Tony Kutter

The Log Cabin Restaurant is located on land overlooking the Tonawanda Creek Indian Falls. It was part of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation until 1857.

In 1826, a grist mill was built on this location and was run by William Parker, father of Ely S. Parker, aide to General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. It was the only grist mill in the Holland purchase run by Native Americans.

In 1879 the Gilmore Mill was built on this location. During the 1930s an addition was built on the crumbling mill and it served as a refreshment stand.

In 1940 Clayton Betzold and Ken Hodgins bought the mill and tore it down. They built a log cabin restaurant on the mill’s original foundation. At one point it was named the Falcon Crest.

Originally they wanted to have a dance hall, restaurant and entertainment center in conjunction with near by Boulder Amusement park.

To build a log cabin they had to timber pine logs from area forests. It requires sturdy timbers in lengths long enough to support a roof which had to be straight and not tapered in diameter. It was uniquely constructed with mortar between logs. It has been said that there were Indians who built log cabins on the Reservation who instructed locals on construction techniques.

What is most fascinating about this log structure is its construction similar to cabins built in the 18th and 19th century, not from factory hewn boards. Logs were usually notched and stacked on top of one another, but they did not rest against one another. The next process was called chinking the logs. Materials used earlier between logs varied from clay, straw paper, and cloth and even dried animal dunk. This effectively sealed the interior from exposure to the elements. In the past century, log cabin construction methods utilized mortar mix similar to what was used to lay bricks or cement block.

Today most log cabins are built with log siding. One owner added an addition on the west side using log siding. However we are fortunate that the original owners in 1940 built it using the construction methods of 100 years prior.

The current owner, Amanda Owczarczak, purchased the restaurant in 2009. An outdoor deck was added to the front of the building in 2013.

For decades, the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant has attracted diners from all over western New York because of the unique environment along the Tonawanda Creek; the beautiful, scenic view of the waterfalls; and the rich history of the property.

Tony Kutter

October 12, 2016 - 11:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, news, preservation.

Press release:

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will hold its annual Preservation Awards Dinner on Oct. 15 at The First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy at 7 Clay St. Catered by the church (which is also an honoree), the dinner will begin at 6 p.m. and the awards presentation will follow (at approximately 7 p.m.).  The cost is $18 per person. Reservations can be made by emailing [email protected]

Six buildings in Genesee County will be recognized this year:


Gregg & Debbie McAllister

21 Ross St.


Tender Loving Care

Classical Revival


Garth & Amy Swanson

6209 Main Road





David & Robyn Tufts

4857 Ellicott St. Road, Batavia


438 E. Main St.


Adaptive Re-use

Mid-Century Modern


Chris & Michelle Krtanik


4835 Linden Road

East Bethany



Eclectic Style

First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy

Pastor David Pepper

Historian Ann Ver Hague

7 Clay St.

Tender Loving Care


Colonial Revival

Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant

Amanda Owczarczak, Owner


1227 Gilmore Road



Tender Loving Care

Log Cabin


“This year’s honorees beautifully represent the architectural variety we enjoy across the county,” said Lucine Kauffman, Landmark Society president and chair of the awards committee. 

The buildings being recognized on Saturday include one church, two commercial properties, and three private homes.

“We are fortunate that Genesee County has such a rich, long history and that some of the physical markers of the people who have made our local history so rich still remain standing today.” 

All of the owners of the buildings being recognized have one thing in common. In addition to all of their hard work, creative vision and patience, they have passion.  They have restored, replaced, reused, and revived their properties. And in every case it was a labor of love.

By investing in their historic properties, these award winners have invested in their neighborhoods and communities.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is a nonprofit, volunteer operated organization. Since 1965, The Landmark Society has encouraged local communities and individuals to work together to preserve our architectural heritage.

October 12, 2016 - 11:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Bethany, preservation.


Chris and Michelle Krtanik

4835 Linden Road, East Bethany


Article by Molly Grimes

Chris and Shelly Krtanik purchased their home in 1994.  This federal style house was built in 1833 and used as a tavern for many years. Other uses included a stagecoach stop, a barber house and a boarding house for travelers.  The parcel of land where the house stands was purchased from the Holland Land Company in 1811 and 1833. Mr. and Mrs. Faunce acquired the property and erected this house. This house is typical of the federal style. The Italianate features of the bay window and oversized scroll brackets are believed to have been added sometime in the 1870s or 1880s.  Interestingly, the home was used by the New York State troopers as headquarters during the unsolved Linden murders in 1922 and 1924. 

The house was in rough condition when Chris and Shelly bought it in 1994.  They have spent countless hours stripping paint on both the inside and outside of the house.  The entire outside of the house had the paint stripped down to the original wood on the clapboard and repainted the colors of Gingko Tree, peach and spice.  This task was undertaken by not only Shelly and Chris but other family members using a heat gun and scrapers over countless hours.  Chris was able to take sections of the original moldings and have reproductions made in places where sections were missing.  The original windows and storms remain on the first floor of the house, while the second floor has replacement windows.  There was an addition on the back of the house at one time; it has since been removed and replaced by a deck.  The side porch also has a huge roof overhang that Chris is still working on restoring and putting the tongue and groove ceiling back in place.    A hole has been cut in the porch floor to accommodate an existing shrub.  The landscaping has been going on as projects have been completed, the garden beds have been beautifully defined with rock walls hand placed by Chris.  Originally there was a barn when the Krtaniks purchased the home in 1994, but due to the dilapidated condition of the structure it has been taken down and removed. 

Their work on their house is ongoing.  Projects include working on the side porch as well as working on restoring the inside.  The staircase has been stripped and sanded, along with the hard wood floors, trim and moldings inside the house.  Stripping the molding in the living room took Shelly two summers to complete using tiny tools to get within the grooves.  The house continues to be a labor of love.

October 12, 2016 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Le Roy, preservation.

The First Presbyterian Church of LeRoy

7 Clay Street, LeRoy

Tender Loving Care

Article by Jill Babinski-Weidrick

Situated at the most prominent corner in the Village of LeRoy sits The First Presbyterian Church of LeRoy. Although architecturally important, this church’s primary significance is in its association with the founding and founders of the Town and Village of LeRoy.

The Congregational Society was formed in 1812, the same year as the Town of LeRoy. This society became the Presbyterian Church a few years later, in 1815. Initially, the members met in homes and later in barns and schools.

The purchase of the original church property from Ezra Benson, Jr., Herman LeRoy’s land agent, is listed as costing $200. The land was 66’ wide on Main Street by 264’ on Clay Street.

The Church was constructed between 1825 and 1826. The original church building was a two-story wood-framed rectangular building in the Wren-Gibbs style with tall windows on the long sides and a primary entrance on Main Street.

Of course, this church had a bell. The bell was originally protected by an open sided rood structure on the tower in the ‘crown of thorns’ style. The bell, situated at the highest and most central point in LeRoy, was sounded as an emergency alarm from its hanging until the 1940s. The bell continues to be rung for Sunday Services and every daylight hour on Christmas Day.

Not long after construction, an abolitionist rally was held at the church in 1830. This rally featured a speech by an elderly former slave. A pro-slavery demonstration took place outside and passions ran high, leading to a number of broken windows.

Seven years after this rally, in 1837, Frederick Douglass spoke at the Presbyterian Church, impressing many with his oratory.

This same year, Marietta Ingham and Emily Ingham Staunton, members of the church, founded the first university for women in the United States. Ingham University was active with the church, supplying the pulpit was asked and assisting at services. Due to its affiliation with the church, the school received financial help from the Presbytery and local churches. In good weather, students were known to attend Sunday Services.

In 1839, the sanctuary was extended by a 20 foot bay on the south end. A straight vertical joint in the stone foundation and a change in roof trusses on the south end is the only evidence of this addition left today. Note, that this is the extent of the existing sanctuary today.

Between 1850 and 1851, a new one-story session room/lecture rooms was added and the church pews were remodeled. The LeRoy Gazzette and church records document the modernization of the pews from enclosures with gates, to open-ended pews with scrolled arms. These are still in use today. Also at this time, central heating was installed, along with new wallpaper.

According to church records, the bell was enclosed and topped by a spire in 1866. This bell tower and spire are as seen today. The LeRoy Gazzette noted that during this time only the stones foundation and church timbers were left; everything else was new, including triple-hung windows with round heads on the exterior in place of the original windows. At this time, a new pipe organ was also installed.

The earliest photograph of the church dates from 1867. This photograph dates from the memorial service for Phineas Stanton, Chancellor of Ingham University.

In 1912, the first electric pipe organ was installed and later, in 1929, would be re-built. The pipes were placed behind a new neo-colonial grill designed by Charles Ivan Cromwell, a local LeRoy architect, who was just beginning his career.

In 1945, a bequest by Allen S. Olmstead in memory of his mother, Elizabeth Allen Olmstead, was received. An addition of a wing to the east was begun, but not finished until 1951 due to shortage of material during World War II. Also designed by Charles Ivan Cromwell, a large meeting hall/dining room and kitchen, with full basement, was added on the east side of the community building. When finished, the entire single-story community building attached to the sanctuary became known as Olmstead Hall.

In the early 1950s, a member of the congregation organized the first nursery school in LeRoy. This nursery school was located in Olmstead Hall. More than 50 years later, this nursery school continues to be operated in the same location.

In 1976, the wood shingles on the steeple were removed and replaced with aluminum shingles for maintenance purposes. Sometime during the 70s, all of the windows, including those in the sanctuary, acquired slim white combination aluminum storm/screened windows.

Today, the church continues to hold services and other events. 

October 12, 2016 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, preservation.


Gregg & Debbie McAllister

21 Ross Street, Batavia

Tender Loving Care

This elegant Classical Revival home was built in 1904 by Batavia jeweler CC Bradley on property he purchased from Dean Richmond.  Mr. Bradley commissioned architect M.P. Hyde. Located just north of the Richmond Memorial Library, the house remains largely unchanged over the decades.  In 1956, CC Bradley, Jr. moved in to the family home.

In 1992 Gregg & Debbie McAllister purchased the property. In keeping with the traditional colors of the Classical Revival style of the early 1900s, they chose a three color paint scheme: yellow body, cream trim, and forest green accent.  The McAllisters believe that the house has always been yellow. The dark green is to replicate copper, which would have been used in original Classical Revival architecture.  The copper would weather to a green patina.  The house is a study in contrasts of light and dark; light and heavyDistinguishing exterior features include the dormers with palladium windows. The McAllister installed custom made replicas when the original windows rotted.

Extensive architectural embellishments include Greek revival corner returns on the dormers and decorative brackets under the eaves.

Ionic round columns support the porch roof.  Fluted square pilasters with Ionic caps adorn the corners of the house. Three round Ionic columns flank each side of the porch entryway. The frieze boards are lined with dentils.

A porch swing invites visitors to enjoy the shade. Turned balusters frame the porch. Natural wood bead-board covers the porch ceiling.

A two-story round bay window graces the north side of the house. Note the custom made curved rain gutter and the curved clapboards.

On the south side, a square bay window contains leaded beveled glass.  On the western, rear side of the house, the McAllisters added small deck off of the back door. A screened-in sun porch was attached in 1955. The Bradleys built an attached garage on the north side of the house and deeded the original detached carriage house to their neighbor. The garage is adorned with leaded glass, diamond-paned windows which were relocated from the living room.

The paneled front door is surrounded by sidelights and a transom made of leaded, beveled glass.  A heavy entablature perches above the Ionic pilasters flanking the sides.

The entry way is wood paneled.  One of many original light fixtures makes this cozy entryway even more inviting.  From the interior of the home, one can fully appreciate the ornate leaded glass surrounding the front door.

The sweeping staircase in the foyer leads to a landing with a bank of leaded glass windows. The glass in these windows are tinted a pale lavender.

Among the many intricate flourishes of the staircase are a curved railing at the landing return another decorative curve around the corner and another curve at the bottom of the railing.  A wave pattern adorns the stringer.  Delicate, turned spindles grace the balustrade. Fluted round newel and Ionic newel cap.

Given the sum of its parts, the grand staircase makes quite an impression.  Tucked underneath the staircase is a charming little powder room. This is the original sink. When it was evident that it would eventually need to be replaced, Debbie had the good fortune to find the exact same model at a salvaged home parts store. The sink still has the original faucets. The powder room has its original door knob and original light fixture.

The library is located through pocket doors in the foyer. The fireplace mantle design repeats the Ionic round pilasters found throughout the interior and exterior of the house.  One of the few light fixtures not original to the house, Gregg brought this lamp home from India and had it electrified.

A stunning four-tier wedding cake chandelier lights the foyer.  It originally hung in the living room in front of the fireplace. The Bradleys had it moved to the foyer in the 1940s. Four matching sconces light the living room. The McAllisters had the sconces refinished and rewired.

Dividing the living room from the foyer, this magnificent doorway incorporates the classical revival features found on the exterior of the house:  a heavy entablature with decorative brackets and dentils supported by round fluted columns and square pilasters topped with Ionic capitals.  The original wood floors remain throughout the house, beautiful oak with a mahogany border, even in upstairs rooms.  The heat registers are decorated with fleurs-de-lis in the corners.

A second, Adamesque style fireplace warms the living room.

Again, the leaded glass windows gleam when the light pours in through them. This is one of the windows in the two story square bay window. Debbie still marvels that every morning the house is full of rainbows on the walls created by sunlight streaming through the leaded glass windows. Similar leaded glass adorns the square bay window of the master bedroom of the second floor.

French doors divide the living and dining rooms.  In keeping with the attention to details in this elegant house, the French doors have glass doorknobs.

A third fireplace, identical to the one in the living room, warms the dining room. The McAllisters had this chimney completely rebuilt due to water damage. Built-in wood cabinets with glass doors surround both sides of the fireplace.  Again, decorative dentils mirror the classical features of the home.

The paneled wood in the dining room is painted a fresh white which draws attention to the decorative plates and china.

The original brass wall sconces light the dining room. And the original wallpaper still hangs. Although the electrical wiring has been updated, the original push button switches remain.

The McAllisters purchased the sideboard from the Bradley family as well as eight chairs and the matching dining room table with seven leaves.  The leaves have their own built in storage space in the butler’s pantry. The dining room pieces were custom made for the Bradleys by a New York City firm about 10 years after the home was built.

An original copper sink in the butler’s pantry is still functional. The cupboards in the butler’s pantry still have the original brass hardware.

In the 1940s, the Bradleys commissioned LeRoy architect Charles Ivan Crowell to design a sun porch; and open up the kitchen and pantry rooms into a large, open kitchen space. The McAllisters remodeled the kitchen in 1993. They modified the layout and installed oak floors, but kept the gas stove from the 1950s, bead-board wainscoting and cupboards.

Debbie stripped the paint off of this door to the basement and a bead-board hallway off of the kitchen. That had to have been a labor of love.

True to the experience of owning of an old home, updating the heating, plumbing and electrical functions in their house has been “ongoing” Debbie joked.  The McAllisters have managed to preserve the elegant features of this stately house while creating a warm, comfortable home for their three children, as well as the many foreign exchange students they’ve hosted over the decades.

October 12, 2016 - 11:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, Stafford, restoration, preservation.


Garth & Amy Swanson

6209 Main Road, Stafford


Article by Brian Dougherty

The Swanson home at 6209 Main Road Stafford, was built in 1846 by Stephen Crocker, a local businessman for Isaac Newton Stage.  Stage was the proprietor of the Stafford Hotel. 

The house is a classic example of an early Victorian Italianate design with a low pitched hip roof, large eaves and prominent corbels that reflect the Italianate influences. 

The property’s original name was “Boxwood”; a shrub that was prominent throughout the property during the 19th century. Garth and Amy Swanson purchased the house in December 2014 which sits on approximately 5 acres of land.

While none of the original plantings remain they have carefully sought to include a variety of boxwoods in their planting scheme as they begin to restore the lawn and gardens.

The previous owner started the renovation process by stabilizing the chimneys, replacing the Bilco door and having a metal roof installed. 

 Prior to the Swanson’s purchasing the house it had been unoccupied for 4 years (unless you count the resident woodchucks and raccoons).  The house lacked a heating system, running water, a working bathroom and the electrical wiring was from the 1920’s.  Most of the plaster walls were cracked, falling down or completely gone.

A conscious decision was made to invest in the “bones of the house”.  The interior of the structure was gutted to the studs.

They reinforced the structural timbers in the basement and raised the floor by approximately four inches.   The interior is more reflective of a 19th century farmhouse, emphasizing function over form and was in serious need of modernization but they wanted to retain the 19th century character of the house. 

All the existing wiring and plumbing was removed.  The house was completely rewired and plumbed with a modern heating system and fully insulated.

Structurally, they have tried to change the exterior appearance of the house as little as possible and where possible have attempted to restore original design elements. 

Sometime in the early 20th century the ceilings in the house had been lowered to 8 feet. In almost all rooms they were able to raise them back to their 11 foot original height.

They created a modern kitchen in a 19th century farmhouse style. 

The second floor is the only space to experience serious reconfiguration. 

They created two baths (there was previously no plumbing on the 2nd floor) and a master bedroom. 

This space was previously bedroom space for farm hands and hotel staff. 

They have retained the two seater indoor outhouse (not used), however; and added laundry facilities. 

They worked hard to re-use as much of the original material as possible restoring almost all the hardwood and pine floors in the house with the help of skilled craftsmen.  The original woodwork throughout the house was kept. 

The house retains two fireplaces—unfortunately, neither fireplace is currently functioning but the long-term goal is the restore them useful function.

They are presently working with a master craftsman to build new storm windows for the seven second floor arched windows.  These are a unique architectural characteristic that we don’t want to lose.

Many projects still remain.  They are working to replace several of the corbels and other exterior architectural details.  They have plans to replace numerous sections of molding and trim damaged over the years as well as continuing to stabilize and secure the exterior by pointing up the rubble foundation.

PhD Painting did a wonderful job overseeing the exterior painting of the house.  They chose colors similar to the earth-tone palette used in early Victorian homes.  

The renovation has restored “Boxwood” with all the modern conveniences and energy efficiency of a 21st century house within an graceful, original Victorian Era shell. 

October 12, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, restoriation.


David & Robin Tufts

438 East Main Street, Batavia

Adaptive Re-use

Article by Lucine Kauffman

There are few examples of Mid-century Modern architecture in Batavia, especially among commercial buildings, and one that has been neglected for a long time has found a savior. 

In 2014, D.A. Tufts Construction purchased 438 East Main Street, which is at the corner of Main and Harvester and is perhaps most often thought of as the former WBTA building. The 1961 building had been vacant for four years, and had deteriorated over all those winters and summers of emptiness.

Dave Tufts said he's admired the building since he was a little kid and is a big fan of Mid-century Modern, so he wanted to be sure to preserve the era's clean lines and Jetson-style modernism of the structure.

"It's one of my favorite periods, so we're excited about it, to be honest with you," Tufts said.  Robyn Tufts pored over magazines devoted to Mid-century Modern architecture for ideas.

The Tufts plan to convert the 2,900-square-foot first floor to office space, suitable for business or medical use. The second floor was converted to two large apartments (1,300 square feet each) with open floor plans (appropriate for the era) and high-end amenities. 

The Tufts updated the electric, plumbing, and HVAC systems throughout the building.  They installed all new windows and doors. The building is fully insulated and 2015 energy code compliant.

David explained that the building needed remedial structural work starting with a new roof and steel support beam.  He is proud to report that they used all local contractors for the work.

In a statement about their project, David said, "The repurposing of the building goes along with the current trend of people returning to urban areas to enjoy downtown living."

The exterior has been upgraded with new entry ways added to the front and back; the Tufts wanted to provide a private entrance for each apartment plus a separate entrance for the professional office space.

Balconies were built for the apartments.  A “marquis” was added as a privacy wall and it also serves to add a third dimension to the flat, boxy façade.

Insulated metal panels were applied over the original stamped cement block common to the Mid-century Era.   The diamond-shaped flat shingles echo the pattern in the cement block.  

The Tufts constructed four garages and placed two one-bedroom apartments above the garages. Each garage also has its own private entrance.

David said Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator for the city, has helped them throughout the planning process.

Pacatte said she helped the Tufts by developing a marking list for potential office space tenants and also helped them with an application for a grant from National Grid for main street revitalization projects which they successfully secrured.

"We're thrilled about the project," Pacatte said, because it hits on so many of the city's economic development goals -- from providing mix-use buildings; bringing more viable commercial space and residential space to the central city corridor; and providing higher-end housing (apartments with garages) that doesn't currently exist in the market.

"We love that they're honoring the architectural style of the property," Pacatte said.

When we think about preservation, we usually think of grand buildings from the 1800s, but now buildings from the first half of the last century are over 50 years old and represent a distinct architectural style. With this adaptive re-use project, the Tufts have raised awareness of the importance of saving Mid-century buildings.

This report contains material from an article written by HOWARD OWENS for THE BATAVIAN September 2015

May 18, 2016 - 4:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in landmark society, Announcements.
Press release:
Each May, the Landmark Society of Genesee County invites all of the school districts in Genesee County to participate in the annual Fourth-Grade Architectural Drawing Contest. This year the awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19th, in the Reading Room of the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.
The following prizes will be awarded:
    *1st Place Prize: $50.00, a framed certificate, and a copy of The Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, NY.
    *2nd and 3rd Place Prizes (each): $25.00, a framed certificate, and a copy of The Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, NY.
    *20 Honorable Mention ribbons and certificates, as well as a certificate for all participating artists.
The public is welcome to attend. All the entries are currently hanging in the downstairs children's room at the Richmond Memorial Library.
In addition to providing a wonderful venue for displaying the students' creative artwork, the contest provides the children an opportunity to explore local architectural styles and to develop an appreciation for our architectural heritage.
April 20, 2016 - 1:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, landmark society, preservationism, batavia.
If you're interested in old buildings and young people, we hope you will join us from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, in the Gallery Room at the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia.
The Landmark Society of Genesee is hosting a talk by Derik Kane, CNUA, who will speak on the history and evolution of Buffalo's Young Preservationists (BYP) and how it has become a national model for the "New School" of preservation.

BYP members are not only concerned with the aesthetics and history of a building, but how it impacts the opportunities for livability, economic development, energy efficiency / sustainability, and social causes within the city.

The Senior Planner for Genesee County, Derik serves on the Board of Directors of the Landmark Society of Genesee County, and has been a core member of BYP since 2012. 
This event is free and open to the public. No need to RSVP.
June 5, 2015 - 3:42pm
posted by Billie Owens in landmark society, architecture, Event.
Event Date and Time: 
June 16, 2015 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

On June 16, at 7 p.m. the Landmark Society of Genesee County will present a special screening of a short documentary video on the Federal/Adams Style of architecture.  

Following the video, Bernard Schmieder will provide additional insights into making the film; he will also speak about his experiences meticulously restoring the 1815 Federal Style home he and his wife, Jane, share in Bethany. Schmieder, a licensed surveyor, is a past president of the Landmark Society of Genesee County.

May 14, 2015 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in landmark society, batavia, schools, education, art.


All of the entries in the Landmark Society's annual architectural drawing contest have all been hung in the children's room at the Richmond Memorial Library.

Local artist Brandi Bruggman is the contest judge this year. There will be winners announced in a ceremony at the library Tuesday night for first, second and third place, along with 20 honorable mentions.

Five schools are participating this year: John Kennedy, Pavilion, Oakfield-Alabama, Elba, and Byron-Bergen. Every year, the fourth-grade students from each school in the county are invited to submit entries.

Landmark Society Board Member Barb Miller is coordinating the contest with Elba Art teacher Stephanie Rudman and B-B Art teacher Melissa Condidorio.
May 5, 2012 - 1:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, landmark society.

From 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, the City of Batavia Historic Preservation Commission, in conjunction with the Landmark Society of Genesee County and The New York Landmarks Conservancy, will host free guided walking tours of some of Batavia's historic architecture.

May is National Preservation Month. The guided tour will bring guests to various locations that will highlight the historic significance of the “hidden gems” as well as explain the history behind some buildings that are now “lost treasures.”

The sites include GO ART!, the Masonic Temple, City Church, the Cary Mansion location, the First Presbyterian Church, the First Baptist Church, a couple of houses on East Main Street, St. James Episcopal Church, the Richmond Mansion location, the Richmond Memorial Library, and the Ross Street Historic District.

The First Presbyterian Church, locally designated as historic, and St. James church, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Their participation in the event is part of The New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Second Annual Sacred Sites Open House weekend.

The Cary Mansion location will be receiving an historic marker through the help and research of City Historian Larry Barnes, made possible by a grant from the Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse.

Guests will also get to enjoy refreshments as well as a special organ performance by Charles Bradley. However, you MUST reserve your space for the FREE guided tour. Call Marcia Gann at 343-8218 to reserve your space.

To close off the event, The Landmark Society of Genesee County will host its 39th Annual Preservation Awards & Dinner that evening at 6 p.m. at St. James. The dinner will honor property owners for the thoughtful care and/or restoration work they have done.

The cost is $15/person. Anyone interested in attending the dinner must call Lucine Kauffman at 757-2455 or Laurie Oltramari at 343-1457 by Saturday, May 12th.

November 3, 2010 - 3:35pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, landmark society.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will be hosting its annual meeting and  board elections at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the First Presbyterian Church in Batavia. The guest speaker will be John Bero of Bero Architecture in Rochester.

He is an architect that has specialized in historic preservation for more than 30 years. He will be discussing architectural styles. From Greek Revival to Craftsman style, you will enjoy this informative presentation on what to look for when identifying the style of your house or building.

For more information about Bero Architecture, visit their website at www.beroarchitecture.com.

The presentation is FREE and open to the public. Anyone interested in joining  or supporting the Landmark Society are encouraged to attend.

Following the presentation will be a brief board meeting with board member elections.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break