This unique modernist house at 321 Humboldt Parkway was design by Buffalo Architect Robert T Coles for his own residence. It was constructed in 1961 at a time when very few new private houses were being built. It was also built at a time when its Hamlin Park neighborhood was being assaulted by the destruction of Humboldt Parkway for construction of the Scajaquada and Kensington Expressways. As a result of this and white flight the neighborhood experienced substantial disinvestment but remained a pleasant neighborhood and is sure to see a lot of new interest as the popularity of city living gains strength. The house looks to need some substantial work but it retains all of its original detail, which is a good thing. Ultimately this is a bargain price for this house on this quite beautiful lot and in this very pretty city neighborhood.
The house has eight rooms total with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths totaling 2000 square feet on three floors. The yard is a generous 7900 square feet. Taxes are $1756.
Here is the pitch:
An architectural gem, with great history! The house was designed in 1961 by renowned architect, Robert T Coles. With loads of natural light and centering around the spacious backyard, this house was made for entertaining! House has three levels. The lower level has two bedrooms, a den/study, and an eat-in kitchen with sliding glass doors that walk out onto the recessed patio!! The second level is composed of an entry foyer and studio with additional space that could be reverted back into a garage. The upper level consists of a master bedroom with a full bath and sliding glass doors onto a large balcony overlooking private backyard, in addition to a guest bedroom and a large living room! This house stands out for its unique character and contemporary styling, a rarity to find in the city!
The house is interesting for its architecture but also for its history. Coles has always been a great advocate for city living and was dedicated to rebuilding Buffalo when most were running for the exits. He was one of the lone voices fighting the move of the University of Buffalo to Amherst. The university was a foregone conclusion unfortunately. Ironically he was later on hired to design the Alumni Arena at the suburban campus.
Coles was a pioneer in Buffalo architecture as one of, if not the first African American architect in Buffalo. This alone is not an accomplishment if it was not played out against the racism and segregation that strangled our country for the first half of his career. WIVB Channel 4 reported that a high school teacher tried to steer him away from a profession in architecture saying, “Bob there are no Black architects. Why don’t you go into some other field? The ministry. Social work. Or something like that?” He was determined to be an Architect and as far as I can tell is still practicing his craft.