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Efforts to Landmark Buffalo Houses Meet with Resistance

Photo by Patrick J. Mahoney

Along with the Martin House, Buffalo is home to two other notable excellent examples of Wright’s Prairie period: the Heath House (1903) and the Davidson House (1908). Efforts by the City of Buffalo to designate the Heath and Davidson Houses as city landmarks, which would protect the houses from future alteration, have met with resistance from the owners of the houses. On March 1 the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy communicated to the Buffalo Preservation Board and members of the Common Council its support of the landmark designation proposal. The issue to landmark these houses without owner consent is under consideration and will be brought for a vote to the City’s Common Council soon. We understand that the current owners are not in favor of designating their properties as local landmarks at this time.

While we recognize and applaud the stewardship of the current long-term owners of these homes, in the Conservancy’s experience fine stewardship can change in an instant with a change in ownership. With no protections in place, new owners can decide to heavily alter a house, sell important windows and fixtures, or demolish the structure outright. Local landmark designation is one of the best ways to protect a historic building.

The Conservancy urges the Buffalo Preservation Board and the current owners of the Heath and Davidson houses to work together to ensure the long-term protections of these two very important Wright-designed buildings.

Heath House
Photo by Patrick J. Mahoney

Davidson House

Posted on March 8, 2018

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