Part III - $20,000 Later...

I've been following the plight of 125 Woodlawn Avenue. Since a local contractor who lived here and left for Charlotte, the place has been on a down hill slide. The City took possession last October in a tax foreclosure proceeding. It was demolished this week. Price for this demolition, $20,000.

125 Woodlawn - Before & After

DSCN3838 Picture 434
click image to enlarge

I first wrote about 125 Woodlawn in August 2006 - High Price of Red Tape. I learned from looking through the documents stapled to the front door that the City was paying a local contractor $8,000 to remove the asbestos siding. In Red Tape - Part II, from December 2006, shows what the house looks like without the asbestos siding.

Picture 364 Picture 365 Picture 366 Picture 370
click image to enlarge

Asbestos siding is an amazing product. It holds paint very well and seems to require very little maintenance. Structurally this house was in very good shape, with the exception of some support issues on the front porch.

Let me ask again. Why are we spending so much on demolition when the same 20K could have been used in a revolving loan fund to help with the rehab here at 125 Woodlawn. This sort of stick style house appears all around the Cold Spring neighborhood. We need a few people with vision.

When I moved to this neighborhood, on this block with 125 Woodlawn, there were 18 houses 10 years ago. That's down from the original 25 shown in this picture from 1956. Today are 13 houses. Five are occupied.
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row Housesfaqmy flickr
the creativity exchange


Anonymous said...

what a shame...

Anonymous said...

A. Why the hell does it cost $20K to demolish one house?

B. You continuously (and correctly) state that Buffalo is a shrinking city, yet (in some sort of altruistic sense) we should be saving all these houses that no one seems to want anymore?

Seems a bit like a mixed message to me.

Mark Williams said...


I cannot speak for David Torke but my own personal concept would be to make an attempt to save, or perhaps a better word would be, mothball buildings that represent (in detail) a specific architectural style.

This building featured was a classic Victorian Styx that should have been placed in stasis for a future renovation project instead of demolished.

I would focus more on Congresswoman Louise Slaughter who is currently spearheading the demolition of thirty-seven homes in East Buffalo only to replace them with new, subsidized, housing.

The homes being demolished really have no architectural significance and I agree with this demolition. However, building new only adds to the over-abundance of housing stock in Buffalo.

It would make more sense to return blighted neighborhoods back into green space and renovate the existing housing stock, which is readily available, throughout the entire city.

This approach may not set well with many since it may be interpreted that I am against new builds for those in need of housing but, in reality, I think a total renovation of a home will save the architectural features but will also bring these homes into the 21st Century as well.

The proverbial win-win situation.

What does bother me is that these new builds will become the next victims of demolition but only on an accelerated timetable. Repeating the cycle of urban decay instead of curbing it does not help the current housing epidemic.


Anonymous said...

Seems like demolition madness is becoming rampant in Buffalo. Sad.
I agree with MW tha certain properties should be assessed in regard to their architectural style and mothballed for the future. Not all decrepit houses are worth the effort so save but some certainly are and this is an example of one. And wouldn't it make more sense to rehab the existing stock, stop building new vinyls, and offer the rehab to someone at cost or via a lottery?
Such a waste.

Anonymous said...

No such thing "Styx", btw - that was the river at the border of Hell, remember? The style is called "Stick Style". Anyway:

Major "cost" = ripoff : Someone with ties to City Hall hires minimum wage (or lower) guys to pry off the "asbestos" siding (it is cement - don't fool yourselves, thinking there is any danger) and sticking it into trash bags. Cost is surely under $One Thousand, but CHARGE is usually $7-8+ thousand.

Just one example of the profitable Poverty Industry around here.

Mark Williams said...


I do beg your pardon; I am but a humble Design Draftsman and did not attend the school of architectural narcissism….


Anonymous said...

FYI, tuvjjhwi = Jefferson

Anonymous said...

before it's too late, i hope that buffalo will develop an urban homestead program, exclusively for owner-occupants, to recycle the older houses and redevelop the older neighborhoods. there are so many young people who are priced out of the suburban real estate market, people who are bright, energetic and environmentally aware, who would be ideal candidates for such a program.