In an effort to reach an even wider audience, Views of Buffalo is now utilizing both Instagram and Twitter. Of course the blog will still remain the primary source, be sure to us both apps for additional photos around Buffalo, updates of the dollar house, links to current posts, and teasers to new posts. To follow on Twitter click here and for Instagram click here. I can promise everyone now there will be no crappy filters applied. Enjoy.
P.S. There will be one or two CNU 22 follow up posts coming soon
This Saturday June 7th
I’ll be giving a walking tour of the Hamlin Park Historic District as a part of
the Congress for New Urbanism Next Generation events, which is free and open to
the public. The tour goes from 3pm to 5pm and begins at the Hotel Lafayette
downtown. From there we will jump on the Metro Rail at 3:12pm and get off at
the Humboldt station at the corner of Main and Humboldt Parkway around 3:25pm. If you can't make it downtown, feel free to hang around the station at the arrival time to join up.
Here’s the official
description from the CNU NextGen page: The
Hamlin Park Historic District: What’s Next? Hamlin Park is the East Side’s
only historic district, an African American middle class enclave built around
Frederick Law Olmsted’s Humboldt Parkway, the Elm tree-framed boulevard
destroyed in the 1960s by the sunken pit of the Kensington Expressway. Learn
what residents are doing today to reclaim their neighborhood against an
onslaught of forces, including the highway scar, population flight, and the
bulldozers on its periphery. Meet people who have purchased abandoned homes for
a dollar and rehabbed them under a unique program offered by the City. And help
answer the question, what’s next for the Kensington Expressway?
The first stop on the tour
will be the Robert T. Coles home and studio on Humboldt Parkway. An urban
activist and architect in the era of urban renewal, Robert fought heavily
against the destruction of the parkway. He designed his own home and studio before
the expressway was rammed through the neighborhood and has lived there with his
wife since its completion in 1961. The Coles’ home is the only built work
designed specifically in reaction to Buffalo’s greatest self-inflicted tragedy.
We’ll depart from the Coles' home and make our way to Hamlin Park’s oldest structure, the Old Stone
Farmhouse at 60 Hedley Place (c.1840-1860). Stephanie Barber-Geter, the
president of the community association will greet us at the farmhouse and discuss
the ongoing efforts to ensure the beauty and stability of the neighborhood. She
will also talk about her involvement with a project that seeks to remedy some
of the damage the expressway caused and long path of rehabilitation for the
Finally we’ll make our way
down to several homestead homes where people, including myself have purchased
homes from the City of Buffalo for just a dollar. While it may sound like a
bargain, these places require full rehabilitation, but with some vision, sweat equity,
and proper spending they are being reborn rather than sent to the landfill.
I recently had an
opportunity to join a potential buyer on a tour of a homestead eligible home I've profiled which is available for just a dollar (more here). Unfortunately, he is not moving forward
with the purchase, but now I have a lot more information about the state of the
house and updated photos.
The house is still a solid rehab candidate, but it appears there are some structural issues that need to be addressed. Both
the east and west walls towards the back quarter of the house appear to be
sagging. Upon closer inspection the lack of gutters and a
rotted soffit on the east side is directing rainwater between the exterior and
interior walls, which is likely the culprit.
Determining a more in-depth cause for this problem was not possible due to the vinyl siding, but the east
wall on the interior was noticeably wet. If we can assume a worst-case
scenario, the affected portions of the wall likely need to be rebuilt. Not a
small cost for sure, but not the end of the world for those who plan to save on
costs elsewhere on the rehab with their own sweat equity. I’ve personally found now that I own a project house my friends have been falling over themselves to
lend a hand. Beer and pizza certainly helps.
Another potential negative
is the amount of stuff still left in the house, much of which is concentrated
in the basement. Hosting a clean up party on a weekend with some friends,
willing neighbors, and a dumpster or two should solve the problem of the
previous tenant leftovers pretty quickly.
On the plus side the house
is still all there and much of the original woodwork remains intact and
unpainted. The leaded glass windows and French doors are long gone, but many of
the original wood windows remain in the home and in good repairable shape.
To summarize the house is
very much a project, but with such a meager cost of acquisition it allows for an opportunity
for greater reinvestment. Don’t forget that half of this place is going to make
you money as a rentable, large three-bedroom apartment and the added benefit of the historic
tax credits. If you have an interest in the property, contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org.