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Architecture Around Buffalo: Dorsheimer House

By Lucas Watson, Features Contributor


The style: French. The architect: American. William Dorsheimer was a prominent lawyer, politician and journalist. He brought Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to Buffalo and was a friend of Henry Hobson Richardson. Olmsted and Richardson are best known for the Richardson-Olmsted Complex. This was the commission which brought Richardson to Buffalo; a commission which brought him out of poverty. His early work was mediocre and did not reflect his signature Richardsonian Romanesque which he propagated later in life.


The style of the building closely reflects the style of the middle class suburbs of Paris in its Second Empire style. It was built in 1869-71 and features a mansard roof and gray sandstone across the brick. This house does not appear to be the most significant of those on Delaware Avenue and Millionaires Row, nor does it belong to the mansion category either. However,​​ it was in this house that Dorsheimer and other Buffalo parks commissioners first met with the great American landscape architect Olmsted, as well as Vaux, to plan a park system for the city.


This building stands as one of the many on Delaware Avenue; over the years, the interior has largely been demolished, and all that remains from the time of Richardson is the staircase, now currently it is being renovated. Crux Wealth Advisors, a California-based wealth management firm, purchased the William Dorsheimer House at 434 Delaware for $1.09 million in late February of 2021. They are currently renovating the building, adding a chairlift to the rear entrance and bringing new life to the historic building.


In Buffalo, there is an increased effort to revitalize the buildings across the city and to bring what was almost forgotten back to life. The Dorsheimer House has not been forgotten. A place where Milliard Filmore once visited Dorsheimer, a place where Richardson began to grow further and achieve so much more in his career, and a place where the renowned Buffalo park system was discussed and put into place. It may blend into the many homes surrounding it on Delaware Avenue, but it does hold significance in its own right.



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