9/20/2008

Laurel/Michigan Row Houses

When I bought a neglected and vacant row house in the City's Cold Springs neighborhood 12 years ago I developed an interest in the remaining sets of row houses in the area. The Emerson Row and the Woodlawn Row (then occupied) were just a block away and were the last remaining row houses in the immediate neighborhood, a neighborhood that once contained 15 sets of row houses and maybe the largest concentration of this type of housing in the City - see map. Fifteen sets had dwindled to three.

A fixBuffalo reader sent the following link this morning to another set of row houses, a few blocks away at the corner of Laurel and Michigan. I remember this row and despite it's successful nomination and placement on the National Register and its designation as a local landmark, it was demolished in 1997.
Picture 3
I re-read the nomination package for this property recently and was struck by the high level of architectural detail that was described. The wrapped 'L' shape was unique. I also remember riding past this corner one morning 11 years ago wondering why construction crews were out shortening and shrinking the window openings. I called the building inspector and asked if a permit had been filed and whether the Preservation Board had approved the exterior changes. A permit had been approved for the window shortening.

This was probably my first direct lesson in the lack of institutional oversight and protection for the City's architechural and cultural heritage. Years later I learned that the Woodlawn Row experienced the same City Hall disconnect as building permits were approved on two occasions for exterior work - here and here - without the Preservation Board's approval for the installation of blue vinyl siding.

I spoke with a neighbor of mine later this afternoon about the 'L' shaped row at Laurel and Michigan. She told me that after a series of drug busts three bodies were found in the vacant structure, the place was demolished.
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ArtspaceBAVPAWoodlawn Row HousesfixBuffalo flickr
Creative ClassShrinking CitiesSaturdays in the neighborhood

2 comments:

RaChaCha said...

Dontcha love it how cities hold buildings responsible for bad things that people do in them or with them--? Baaad building, you were very naughty, we're going to have to put you down. Night, night, building.

Anonymous said...

FixBuffalo, thanks for caring and writing about this. I'm writing from afar, as one of a bunch of Wikipedia editors who focus on NRHP-listed places. See brief Wikipedia article now at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_and_Michigan_Avenues_Row
. It's too bad this was demolished. It is one more example (there are hundreds) of where NRHP listing might have worked against, but does not prevent, demolition. Regards, d on wikipedia.