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  • Wilcox Mansion - Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic SiteWilcox Mansion - Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site Buffalo, New York
    The Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site is preserving the Ansley Wilcox mansion in Buffalo, New York, because it is the site of Roosevelt's inauguration in 1901, just after William McKinley was murdered. There is a marker outside the house that tells of the event, when on September 14, 1901, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the President of the United States. Also on the site, is the oldest part of the site that contains the Buffalo barracks of a fort that was constructed in 1839, since the US and Canada were on the verge of hostilities. The barracks become the officer's quarters in 1840, and then closed in 1845, with the home becoming a private residence. The owners that followed made various changes to the property, adding and demolishing many of the buildings that they didn't want on their property. During the late 1800s, Dexter Rumsey gave the estate to his son-in-law, Ansley Wilcox and wife, Mary Grace Rumsey. The Wilcox's would make many refurbishments to the house, and the plans are on file in the historic site. At the Pan-American Exposition, being held in Buffalo at that time, President William McKinley was shot twice by anarchist Leon Czologosz, while his condition went from bad to worse, and by the time that Roosevelt arrived in Buffalo, he was the new president. The inauguration was done immediately due to the tragedy and the political climate at the time. After due consideration, the best place to conduct the inauguration was the Wilcox House and so, about 50 dignitaries and their families, various cabinet members and other officials gathered in the library for the event. Unfortunately, there weren't any photographs taken of the inauguration, although many pictures of the library were taken afterwards. Judge John R. Hazel administered the oath. The Wilcox family lived in the house until the 1930s, when they passed on, and the estate was then sold at a public auction, which was purchased by the Kathyrn Lawrence Restaurant. They in turn, took away many of the interior walls, demolished the carriage house and painted over the magnificent wood finishes that had been installed in the house many decades before. The restaurant stopped its services in 1961. The house has become a museum with many of the antiquities of the Pan-American Exposition, that contained playing cards, wine glasses, plates and the key to the Temple of Music. The last room to be renovated was a recreation of the Oval Office like it was during the terms of Teddy Roosevelt; and has an interactive desk that you can use to send an email to yourself from his desk. In 1966, it was designated as a National Historic Site, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same day, and managed by the National Park Service.

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  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin HouseFrank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House Buffalo, New York
    The Darwin D. Martin House Complex, or the Darwin Martin House State Historic Site, contains a magnificent house that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1903 and finished in 1905, in Buffalo, New York. The home is thought to be one of Wright's best projects of his Prairie School period and has been ranked as one of his greatest works that was constructed east of the prairie, besides the home at Graycliff that was designed for the family in Derby, New York, which is close by; as well as the Guggenheim in New York City and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. The complex was the home of entrepreneur Darwin D. Martin and his wife, Isabelle. Darwin and his brother, William E. were the co-owners of the E-Z Stove Polish Company of Chicago, and in 1902, William asked Wright to build a home for him in Oak Park, being finished in 1903. When Martin saw the outstanding job that Wright did for his brother's home, he was so impressed that he asked him to visit his property in Buffalo, where he had thought of building two houses. The complex was a strange conglomeration of connected buildings that included the main home, the conservatory with long pergola between, the carriage house-stable and a smaller home for his sister and her husband, Delta and George F. Barton; with a gardener's cottage being the last building constructed. Martin was disappointed with the meagerness of the conservatory and decided to add a 60 foot long greenhouse that sat between the gardener's house and the carriage house, that would supply the plants and flowers for the grounds and buildings. Although the greenhouse wasn't designed by Wright, he did offer to add a "little architecture on it". Throughout the next two decades, the friendship between Martin and Wright grew, with the Martins helping Wright financially and other kinds of support as career blossomed. In 1926, Wright designed the second main complex for the Martin family, that became known as Graycliff, a beautiful summer estate that looked out over Lake Erie, in Derby, New York.  The complex is part of the Parkside East Historic district of Buffalo that was designed by well known American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876, with the completed Martin complex being 29,080 square feet. The Martin main house is different from many of Wright's other prairie designed homes in that it is bigger and more open; actually becoming one of the biggest houses designed by the famous architect. There wasn't any specific budget for the home, and it is thought that around $300,000 was the final cost. His brother's house had been built for $5000. The ground floor or first floor held the living room, dining room and library that opened into each other, and the dining room floating out into a huge covered porch. The second floor had 8 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and the sewing room. The Barton house was built first, in 1903, a story affair with living room and dining room facing each other, and the reception area, with two bedrooms on the second floor, at the end of a hall, and kitchen on one end and open porch on the other. The carriage house was turned into various places, at first, a stable for the horses, the hayloft and carriage storage area, then it became the garage for the automobiles and upstairs apartment for the chauffeur. The boilers which heated the entire complex were housed here also. It was built between 1903 and 1905, and then taken down in 1962, but then added again in the major renovations of 2004 to 2007. The gardener's cottage, pergola and conservatory round out the complex.

January 11, 2011