Wednesday, July 2, 2008

At The Foot of Breckenridge Street

Much has been in the news lately about the collapse and potential revival of the historic White Brothers Livery. Sam Savarino was able to take ownership of it yesterday for $1, and thus insure maximum effort and ability towards restoring it. That's a far cry from the original $400,000 asking price for a building assessed at $40,000. After allowing it to deteriorate, the previous owner didn't want to take responsibility for his lack of action. Surprise, surprise.

This started me wandering, camera in hand, to another old building in the area. Sort of a "whatever happened to" type of thing.

Also on the west side is the Breckenridge Street Church (pictured) which was built in 1827. Located at the end of Breckenridge, it too was the focus of much hand-wringing until Rich Products agreed to preserve it. I think that means mothball it, but at least it's not demolished.

The Breckenridge Street Church (also known as the Union Meeting House) exists on land that was originally part of a large parcel owned by Peter Porter, of Porter Avenue and War of 1812 fame. Supposedly when President Grover Cleveland was in town he attended services there. It is now classified as a warehouse.

Right around the corner from it, at 19 Mason Street, is a little house that was built in 1800. That means (if the date is accurate) that it survived the War of 1812, in which most of Buffalo was burned to the ground.

Although Mason is listed as a street, it actually is a narrow alley. Located among warehouses, it's easy to miss - I thought it was a driveway for loading docks. The house itself is the only residence left on the street that at one time overlooked the Niagara River.

Currently, the Mason Street House has bars on the windows and doors. It has siding on it, so it has been taken care of but lacks the "original look". However, it's so isolated that I wouldn't want to be there after the workers have left for the day (as a matter of fact, even with a worker visible I didn't get out of the car).

It doesn't seem to be architecturally significant, and other than being old, nothing special. I would think it's construction and interior details would be historically interesting though, unless it was gutted somewhere along the line.

The Mason Street House survived the burning of Buffalo...that alone should count for something!

(the map is from 1894 and is part of the City of Buffalo Atlas located on the Erie County/Real Property website; click on sections within for detail)

Update: More pictures of the church and the little house on Mason

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