Woodlawn Avenue Row
Note: the Woodlawn Avenue Row appears to have been destroyed by fire August, 2009.
The Woodlawn Avenue Row (75-81 Woodlawn Ave.) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.
The row at #75-81 Woodlawn Avenue occupies a half-acre lot on the south side of Woodlawn Avenue at the corner of Michigan Avenue in the Masten Neighborhood of north central Buffalo. Built in 1898, the row originally contained seven identical two-story single-family units. However, the units at #71, 73 and 83 were demolished c.1950. The row now contains four units. The surrounding neighborhood is composed of much altered turn-of-the-century (c.1900) single-family dwellings, vacant lots due to demolition, and parking lots. The boundaries of the row were drawn to exclude the surrounding detached houses and vacant land. There are no outbuildings associated with the row, which was designated a local landmark by the city of Buffalo in 1981. There is one contributing building.
Built in 1898, the three-story Stick style row has a decorative slate mansard roof, denticulated cornice, projecting eaves, and clapboard sheathing. The eight-bay row rests on a stone foundation. The paired and single one-over-one double-hung sash dormers feature perforated gable panels with intricately carved floral motifs and exposed bracing. Original wrought-iron cresting remains on some of the dormer roofs. The paired and single one-over-one double-hung sash on the second floor have lattice-work panels with end consoles above and molded apron panels below. The first floor trapezoidal bay windows repeat the same decorative treatment. The entrances have simple wooden surrounds and retain their original paneled front doors. The rear elevation has single gable dormers with Stick style ornament and single one-over-one double-hung sash on the second floor with lattice-work panels above and cross-buck designs below. The rear entrances have canopies supported by decorative brackets. The west elevation has two exposed brick chimneys from the adjoining rowhouses which were demolished in the 1930s. The west and east elevations have asbestos shingled sheathing added c.1950.
The original floor plan remains intact and consists of, from front to rear: living room, dining room, kitchen and side hall and stairway. The second floor has several bedrooms and a bath while the third floor contains additional bedrooms. Original interior features include built-in dining room and kitchen cupboards, decorative fireplace surrounds with beveled glass, tile hearths, fluted pilasters, elaborate stairways with turned posts and balustrades, paneled oak woodwork and wainscoting, and built-in window seats.
The Woodlawn Avenue Row was restored in the early 1980s and thus exhibits most of its original design. The only exterior features which were not restored were the elaborate Stick style enclosed entrance porches (removed c.1970) and the wrought-iron cresting on the main roof and the roofs of the bay windows (removed c.1970). Also during the early 1980s, the original wooden stoops were replaced by concrete steps with modern wrought-iron railings.
The Woodlawn Avenue Row is historically and architecturally significant as one of a rare surviving group of multi-unit frame residences, designed to resemble rowhouses in the city of Buffalo. The row is one of only four intact groups of similar housing remaining in the Masten Neighborhood of north central Buffalo, the only area in the city where frame multi-units rows were built in any concentration. Built in 1898, the Woodlawn Avenue Row is architecturally significant as a highly detailed, well-crafted example of the Stick style of architecture. The most decorative of the surviving groups of frame rows, the Woodlawn Avenue Row is well-documented by turn-of-the-century (c.1900) photographs and post cards reflecting its prominence within the city's late nineteenth century building stock. Like the other rows, the Woodlawn Avenue Row was built by a speculative developer. Louis F. Lautenslager, at a cost of $7,500. Although three of the end units were demolished c.1950, the row retains enough of its original plan, form, and detailing to merit inclusion in the thematic resource. The Woodlawn Avenue Row remains as one of the most intact examples of its type and period; it illustrates a distinctive architectural response to the issue of designing standardized urban housing and recalls an important aspect of the late nineteenth century residential growth and development of the Masten Neighborhood.
Built in 1898, the row is an exceptionally well-crafted example of the popular late nineteenth century Stick style of architecture. The four-unit row exhibits such stylistic characteristics as an inbricated-patterned slate mansard roof, projecting eaves with a denticulated cornice, decorative window surrounds, and bay windows. The Stick style design is evident in the window treatments, which include exposed rafters, intricately carved floral motifs, lattice-work panels, and paneled aprons. The facade is further distinguished by narrow clapboarding which emphasizes the precise and delicate detailing of the building. The rear of the building is unusual for its degree of detail and ornament including lattice-work panels, cross-buck designs, bracketed entrance canopies, and floral-patterned gable dormers. The interiors of the units are also distinguished by built-in cupboards and window seats, oak woodwork, decorative fireplace surrounds, and elaborate stairways. Recently restored, the Woodlawn Avenue Row remains significant as one of four groups of late nineteenth century frame rows surviving in the Masten Neighborhood that recall a unique building phenomenon in the city of Buffalo.