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Don’t Pick on the Little Guy

On today’s agenda for Buffalo’s Preservation Board is an issue of David against Goliath.
Buffalo State College has submitted a request to demolish a fine little house they own at 649 Grant Street. Built in the mid-19th century, and expanded in the back over the years in classic telescope fashion, this house nestles against much larger houses, including classic Buffalo doubles, built much later. Its size allows for a tree, welcoming front yard, and even sidewalk, which its larger neighbors don’t enjoy.


Bob Franke of the Grant-Ferry Association said, “If Buffalo State has a coherent plan for this area that they’d like to present to the community for open discourse, I have no difficulty in discussing the demolition of 649 Grant Street. Absent such a plan, I am vigorously against the demolition of any viable structures. 649 Grant is indeed a nice little house. It makes a valiant attempt to lend a pleasant look to an otherwise unpleasant environment created by Buff State’s parking lots and the rest of the residential structures in this particular area.”
According to Harvey Garrett, the Preservation Board will most likely ask for a stay on the demolition in the hopes of getting Buffalo State to move the building—if a nearby spot can be found—rather than demolish it.


This charming Italianate house reminds me of some of the cottages in the Little Summer neighborhood and several other places on the west side. Because of the small size of the houses, some of those neighborhoods have come to be distinguished by the picturesque gardens developed around them, which we enjoy on GardenWalk. If saved from the bulldozer and moved, I look forward to visiting this house in its new “home” on a future GardenWalk. Do you have a new “home” for this house?
The Beatles said, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Hopefully, with a little help from a friendly preservation board, and a cooperative Buffalo State, this house—a friendly presence on Grant Street for over a century—will get by to see another century.
This issue will be discussed at the Buffalo Preservation Board, Thursday, December 11, at 3PM, Room 901, City Hall. Also on the agenda will be over thirty demolitions proposed by the City of Buffalo.
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Buffalo Preservation Board

Written by RaChaCha


RaChaCha is a Garbage Plate™ kid making his way in a Chicken Wing world. Since 2008, he's put over a hundred articles on here, and he asked us to be sure to thank you for reading. So, thank you for reading. You may also have seen his freelance byline in Artvoice, where he writes under the name his daddy gave him [Ed: Send me a check, and I might reveal what that is]. When he's not writing, RaChaCha is an urban planner, a rehabber of houses, and a community builder. He co-founded the Buffalo Mass Mob, and would love to see you at the next one. He represents Buffalo Young Preservationists on the Trico roundtable. If you try to demolish a historic building, he might have something to say about that. He is a proud AmeriCorps alum.

Things you may not know about RaChaCha (unless you read this before): "Ra Cha Cha" is a nickname of his hometown. (Didn't you know that? Do you live under a rock?) He's a political junkie (he once worked for the president of the Monroe County Legislature), but we don't really let him write about politics on here. He helped create a major greenway in the Genesee Valley, and worked on early planning for the Canalway Trail. He hopes you enjoy biking and hiking on those because that's what he put in all that work for. He was a ringleader of the legendary "Chill the Fill" campaign to save Rochester's old downtown subway tunnel. In fact, he comes from a long line of troublemakers. An ancestor fought at Bunker Hill, and a relative led the Bear Flag Revolt in California. We advise you to remember this before messing with him in the comments. He worked on planning the Rochester ARTWalk, and thinks Buffalo should have one of those, too (write your congressman).

You can also find RaChaCha (all too often, we frequently nag him) on the Twitters at @HeyRaChaCha. Which is what some people here yell when they see him on the street. You know who you are.

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