One of most interesting and important buildings in the Elmwood Village is up for sale. The building, 123 Bidwell Parkway, was built for CD Arnold
in 1895. Arnold was an important and well known early architectural photographer in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was known best for his work documenting the Pan American Expo in Buffalo and as photographer to architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee
. Silsbee, in turn, was an important 19th century architect with a large number of commissions in several cities including many in Buffalo and Chicago where he had offices. In Buffalo he was very busy designing mansions for the city's elite, many of which are still standing especially on Linwood Avenue. Since Arnold did so much work for Slisbee, I believe that it was probably logical that 123 Bidwell was also designed by the master architect. However, I have not found any evidence of this yet. The house does look like a Silsbee house, and the realtor, Gurney Becker & Bourne
, states that it is a Silsbee design. This may be nothing more than a marketing gimmick however. The house is being sold as a four unit with an attached three-storey photo studio. The listing says it has loads of natural woodwork, three fireplaces, separate porches, leaded glass, and great rental income or owner occupancy.
This is beautiful house and an important piece of Buffalo's urban fabric. It fills almost its entire site, sitting close up against the sidewalk and neighboring buildings. Its prominent front porch is not original to the house but looks like it has always been there. It would be a wonderful space from which to watch the city go by. It was designed in the romantic half timber English Tudor style including a picturesque round tower. For a long time I thought that this house was connected to the similarly styled Elmwood Avenue commercial building which is directly adjacent. At some point it was cut up into multiple residences (like so many of Buffalo big houses) but the apartments look pretty interesting in the realtor's pictures.
The house is being offered for the bargain basement price of $265,000. A cost which could easily be covered by the rents. It looks to be in sound condition, but it is clear that it will require some serious maintenance investment by a new owner. The roof shows serious deterioration (and has for years). The original worn wood shingle roof is exposed below rotted new roof coverings in several locations. It is hard to believe that there are not serious leaks in the building. This is a very important building that needs a good owner. Can I dream of someone converting it back to single family? Can I dream of a brand new cedar shingle roof on this one? Please?
Get connected - Gourney Becker & Bourne listing agent Leonard Sciolino can be reached at 716.308.2182 or by this link