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Fargo Estate Historic District in the Works

Kleinhans Music Hall Management, Inc., is the sponsor of Buffalo’s newest National Register historic district, now in the final phase of its formation: The Fargo Estate Historic District.  An informational meeting on the proposed district is planned for August 19.

“We are delighted to sponsor the nomination of a new historic district comprising the residential neighborhood at the western boundary of Kleinhans Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark. On the occasion of Kleinhans’ 75th anniversary, it’s the perfect opportunity to recognize the neighborhood’s significance, and to enhance its beauty and preservation through the availability of historic tax credits for property owners,” said Christopher N. Brown, chairman of Kleinhans Music Hall Management, Inc.

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Nearly 150 years ago, one of the nation’s wealthiest men, William G. Fargo, decided the lakefront Buffalo neighborhood just south of Porter Avenue, about 1½ miles north of downtown, would be an ideal location for his home. Fargo built an imposing urban estate on 2½ blocks bounded by Jersey and Pennsylvania Streets, and Plymouth and Fargo Avenues.

Other large houses soon arose in the vicinity but these were joined by middle class dwellings and even worker’s cottages, proving that the neighborhood was not restricted to homes for the wealthy. After Fargo’s death in 1881 his heirs began to sell portions of the estate property, and the area soon became filled with impressive large single and two-family homes.

Today, the neighborhood remains a residential district of approximately 300 fine homes, joined by a few small storefronts and apartment buildings, all built before 1930. Set back from the street and shaded by large trees, these finely preserved homes make it one of the most intact and attractive neighborhoods in the City of Buffalo. Located immediately to the west of the Allentown Historic District, the Fargo Estate Historic District will include Fargo Avenue between Hudson Street and Porter Avenue, portions of Porter, Prospect, and Plymouth Avenues, as well as portions of Pennsylvania and Jersey streets.

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Sponsored by Kleinhans Music Hall Management, Inc., funding for the Fargo Estate Historic District nomination was provided by the Preservation League of New York State, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Councilmember David Rivera of the Niagara District, and The Baird Foundation. Principal authors of the nomination are Dr. Frank Kowsky, author and retired distinguished Buffalo State College professor; and Martin Wachadlo, architectural historian.

Among other benefits, all contributing owner-occupied residential structures within the Fargo Estate Historic District are eligible for the NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit (valid at least through 2019). The credit will cover 20 percent of qualified rehabilitation costs, up to a credit value of $50,000. At least $5,000 must be expended on qualifying work and at least 5 percent of the total project must be spent on the building’s exterior. National Register historic districts do not restrict owners in any way when making exterior or interior modifications to their home when using their own funds, nor require approval from the Buffalo Preservation Board.

An informational meeting will be held on Wednesday August 19 at 6 pm at the Niagara Branch Library, 280 Porter Avenue to discuss the proposed district.

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Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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