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Architecture Around Buffalo: Dr. Matthew D. Mann House

By Lucas Watson, Features Contributor

Allentown hosts various stunning buildings, rich culture and thriving nightlife. Allentown is also the home of the Allentown Art Festival, which has been running for the last 66 years. Allentown has also been home to some of the most prominent people in the history of the City of Buffalo; founded by Lewis F. Allen, the area served as his farm, and what is known as Allen Street today was the path his cattle used. Later in life, he donated much of the land to the City of Buffalo. The city grew rapidly during the 1840s and 50s, and Allentown grew along with the city.

Dr. Matthew D. Mann was born in Vienna, Austria and emigrated to the United States sometime during the mid-nineteenth century. He came to Buffalo after he accepted an appointment to the faculty at the Medical College of the University at Buffalo. His specialty was gynecology. Dr. Mann served as president of the American Gynecological Society in 1894 and as president of the Buffalo Academy of Medicine. He was an American Congress of Physicians and Surgeons member, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a New York State Medical Association member, wrote Deborah Bucki. He is one of Buffalo's most notable medical figures, apart from Dr. Roswell Park. According to one local historian, Dr. Mann "reached the mountain peak of professional success in the special lines of medicine he pursued with a devotion unrivaled, and no physician was richer in the love of those who sought his healing aid.” A prolific writer of medical articles, he published a standard textbook on gynecology as well as a "Manual of Prescription Writing."

Dr. Mann was crucial in one of the most tragic events the city and even the nation witnessed: he is best known as the physician who operated on President William McKinley after the president was shot on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition on Sept. 6, 1901. For many years, controversy surrounded the quality of care given to President McKinley, particularly concerning Dr. Mann's decision to perform immediate surgery on the Exposition grounds rather than to transport the dying president to the new operating theater at Buffalo General Hospital, not far from the Exposition grounds for treatment by the acclaimed surgeon Dr. Roswell Park. Nonetheless, in 1902, Congress authorized the payment of $10,000 (Roughly $350,000 today) to Dr. Mann for his services in treating the President.

The residence of Dr. Matthew D. Mann still stands today, right at 37 Allen Street between North Pearl and Franklin, in a lively neighborhood. Nearby you can find Rickcycle, various clothing stores, Don Tequila, Cafe 59 and many other notable establishments in the Allentown neighborhood. The facade of the building is the spitting image of the Queen Anne style of architecture. The Queen Anne gable roof features a tympanum with wood shingles and a Palladian-style window. The tympanum has a sunburst design comprising the wood shingles on the facade. The residence still features many aspects that distinguish it from other architectural styles and cements its place as a Queen Anne style residence. Amongst further details, the building features Medina sandstone lintels. The building was an antique store until around 2008-10 when the sign was removed and the antique store closed. The building has been occupied throughout the years. The building has not faced what many other esteemed local landmarks have in the area, such as the Black Rock Union Meeting House, the buildings at 110-118 South Park Avenue and so many others that have fallen into disrepair and downright neglect.

What we can do is use our platform at this urban institution to push forward for a change. While the future may bring fruits of joy and prosperity, we must look to the past and remember what came before us; remember the very fabric which binds our communities together. To demolish is to forget these places of life, business and happiness in our communities and thus destroy the fabric of our communities. There are ways to preserve our rich heritage and bountiful history by bringing about further development and embracing the future and the past.

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