Woodlawn Row Houses - February 2007 Update...

While local preservationists continue to morn the loss of the Atwater House on Elmwood, the Woodlawn Row Houses - owned by the City - were given "local landmark" status by the Preservation Board in 1986. They sit diagonally across the street from the new home of Performing Arts HS. The demolition by neglect of this property is preventable as they sit within 50m of recent public investment in the arts and education.
Sort of boggles my mind. Do we live in one City or two? Despite my best efforts to find an owner, keep the lawn mowed in the summer and the property boarded - the Woodlawn Row Houses continue to rot.

Here's the archive - Woodlawn Row Houses - to see Buffalo's best example of 'demolition by neglect' of a local-landmark. After 30 months of calling this to the City's attention, the place is still wide open. Suggestions? Let me know.
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row Housesfaqmy flickr
the creativity exchange


Black Rock Advocate said...

The tale of two city's we are well aware of this practice in are Community as other areas of the city are favored over less affluent Neighborhoods. Keep pounding away even though the Row Houses are in a sad state and help seams to not be knocking at the door your persistence has made a difference look no further than Dodge St and East Utica . B.R.A

Anonymous said...

I would not blame the preservationists for their lack of attention to buildings in desperate need of help on the east side. This city and its people in general do not have an appreciation for the treasure of its historic building fabric. Those that do are trying to call attention to the potential and importance of these buildings but have a very steep uphill battle in every neighborhood in the city. They have to fight tooth and nail on a shoe string to save buildings even in the prosperous neighborhoods. If they can barely make a dent where investment money is more plentiful they certainly will have much less success if any on the east side. They need to concentrate meager resources where their efforts are more likely to make a difference. That is the sad sad truth.

Anonymous said...

at least these properties were not flipped over to the mbba behemoth.
is the city planning on selling these anytime soon? hopefully, they will be sold as a package. the row appears to be symmetrical. do you know the approximate square footage of each of the units? is there any fire damage to any of the units?

Anonymous said...

is this row on a large lot? are there garages for these houses?

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of taking a break from this blog and some others like BRO. Believe it or not I couldn't sleep well last night because of the Atwater House (Yes, I know, maybe I need to get a life). Such waste. What upsets me perhaps even more than the unnecessary destruction of distinctive bldgs is that there are people out there celebrating it.
It boggles my mind. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

it is important to stay positive and keep a focus on the goal of preservation. we should not let the negative comments of detractors affect us. in my own experience, i have noticed that the greatest hostility to inner-city revival and restoration comes from the children and/or the grandchildren of the "white flight"
crowd. this is not unique to buffalo. occasionally, those folks will show up at a christmas house tour or a spring garden tour, pissing and moaning about how the whole city has gone to hell since their own families fled. there is so much hostility in white suburbia against historic preservation of inner cities. i deal with it by ignoring it. i have noticed that the revival of neighborhoods is almost always the act of outsiders who have fallen in love with certain aspects of the city as well as its architecture. for me, those are the people whose opinions really count.

Mark Williams said...


Interesting comment and I am not too sure if I quite agree with the “white flight” but it does present an interesting topic.

I once had an open debate with a person of color over urban decay. He laid the blame squarely on the fact that the white population left the inner city for the suburbs; I almost laughed until I realized that he was serious.

I am often mistaken for the antagonist in these blogs but I have truly placed a great deal of thought into why inner cities are so destroyed.

My more liberal friends use the default excuse of poverty, lack of education and employment which falls rather flat when presented to a descendent of low-wage, blue color workers who resided in the inner city of Niagara Falls. Our home was a simple workman’s cottage that was maintained despite the lack of monetary funds and it was always clean. Being ethnic Irish, there was a sense of pride in maintaining our home which is a trait that I carry on with my own home today.

I am not referring to ancient history here either; late 1970’s to early 1980’s and this was a period of time when industry had, for the most part, departed and urban decay had already taken a grasp of the surrounding neighborhoods.

My question is; what does it take to clean a house, a window or a porch? Is maintaining a front yard so difficult considering that inner city yards are relatively small in comparison to the acreage of suburbia?

I guess I am taking about taking pride in your home; even if you don’t own it, it is still your home.

I fully realize that there are numerous outside influences that affect a person’s life and that fact is probably compounded a hundred times over in inner cities. However, generally speaking, you go where the work opportunities are because the opportunities are not going to come knocking at your door – especially in a city like Buffalo.

Case in point – me.

I love my home and I appreciate what Buffalo has to offer, but I was forced to leave and will probably never return as a resident.

I guess my point is that inner city communities need to pull together as a whole but, as we have witnessed through this blog, is seems to be almost impossible for reasons that remain a mystery to me.

fixBuffalo said...


Click through the Row House Archive. You'll see pix of the side yard that could be bundled with the project as it's also owned by the City.


What boggles my mind is that the 4000 plus people who signed the petition to save the Atwater house seem to have gone missing when it comes to Woodlawn Row Houses, save a few people.

Go ahead take a break...as I type I'm looking out my second floor office window - view down Michigan towards the medical campus. There are three City owned houses that I can see that are ready to collapse and then...I see Artspace!

Anonymous said...

I am still upset about Anna Nicole Smith. May be a while till I am back to my old self.

Anonymous said...

check out anna nicole smith's major film SKYSCRAPER from 1997.
your life will never be the same again.

Anonymous said...

you are so right Bill. she was awesome in that film. sad that she was set to star in a remake of "gone with the wind" which would have also starred gary coleman! what a cast that wouldve been!

Anonymous said...

Geeze, knock it off with the Anna Nicole garbage. If I wanted to read People magazine, I wouldn't be here.

I appreciate Steel's observation. Forgive me but it prompts a devil's advocate question: If all the wealth, access, and influence of the Elmwood district could not save the Atwater, what makes you think we'll have better luck in a more damaged, powerless neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Geeze, take your Anna Nicole crap to People magazine.

Steel's observation prompts me to ask a devil's advocate question. If all of the wealth, influence, and access in the Elmwood district could not save a basically sound structure, the Atwater, what makes you think we'll be more successful in more damaged, powerless neighborhoods with more deteriorated structures?

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the duplicate posts. Blogger acted as though I flunked the word verification test so I thought I had to start from scratch.

fixBuffalo said...


Simple. The Woodlawn Row Houses are already designated a local landmark. The Atwater House lacked this designation.

For what it's worth,I think the horse was already out of the barn with the Atwater House. Here, the opportunity still exists to get it right.

Anonymous said...

buildings in less affluent neighborhoods, particularly those off the radar screen, are more likely to be saved, provided they aren't destroyed by arson or the elements. in many historic districts here in florida, there are a number of beautiful old homes which have fallen victim to the mcmansion crowd. it's crazy, but it happens a lot, with no consideration paid to the existing housing stock on the block.