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The Buffum House

49 Buffum Street: A Chance to Save and Honor Our Heritage

After years of work, the preservation of the “Oldest House in South Buffalo” is at a crucial point. Erie Community College has devoted teams of students in its rehabilitation and hopes to rent part of the building as early as January 2019. But we won’t make it without your help. We are looking for community support and leadership to expand our board of directors into a workable team. As Michael Kearns, who founded the project, explains, “It’s the last play, fourth down, and the project is in peril without the community stepping up.” 

About the House

Few areas within Buffalo’s city limits can boast of a history as rich and diverse as that of South Buffalo. It has the remains of an Indian burial ground, the lore of the Underground Railroad, plus the beauty of a Frederick Law Olmsted designed park – all in a multicultural neighborhood that still maintains ties to strong Gaelic roots.

Also located in this area is one of the few remaining homesteads in the Western New York area. Hiding in plain sight, on the corner of Buffum and Parkview streets, is the Buffum house. Built circa 1850, it is believed to be the oldest standing house in South Buffalo. Even after 160 years, the house is still making history! In late 2008, it sustained serious fire damage and the property was in housing court, threatened with demolition. An inspection determined that the structure was sound and reflection revealed a rich history that was well worth preserving.

Thanks to the efforts of Assemblyman Kearns, two community partners purchased the house as co-owners, which was then taken over by a newly formed Not-for-profit, “The Buffum House, Inc.” We are continuing to pursue funding to rehabilitate this historic property. Since the Buffum house and the immediate area play an integral role in the early history of South Buffalo, the plan is to create a community meeting space in the form of a heritage center, where the rich history of this area can be told and visualized. The upstairs, once renovated, may be used to accommodate out-of-town families of patients at Mercy Hospital.

Previous opportunities to save history on Buffum Street and in the area have been missed. Hopefully, history will show that we were able to honor the past so we can preserve it for future generations.

$275K Restoration Goal


What Can You Do to Help?

We already received nearly $100,000 in capital to do work and pay bills these last several years. And we just received a $50,000 grant through the Old 1st Ward Community Association from the state. But we’re still quite a way from the whole building being fully usable and up to code. We can accept tax deductible donations, and welcome corporate gifts.

Most importantly, we need to show that the community supports this project. Become a member of our “citizens advisory board” by joining our “Friends of The Buffum House” Facebook group. [LINK]

Together, we can find donors, grants, and raise the fund to finish the project.