Eye-catching wrought-iron gates telling a tall Gothic tale - The Buffalo News
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Eye-catching wrought-iron gates telling a tall Gothic tale

The gates installed recently in front of the mansion across from Delaware Park already are stopping traffic, even though the project is far from complete.

A crane last week hoisted two massive wrought-iron gates into place in front of the 12,000-square-foot English manor at 175 Nottingham Terrace. They will be the centerpieces of a fence designed by a Ukrainian-born architect, living in Canada, whose artistic blacksmithing has garnered attention on both sides of the border.

The installation has spurred increased traffic – by motorists and pedestrians – stopping to check them out. Some people have likened the gates’ intricate design to nearby Forest Lawn, and the settings of “Game of Thrones” and “The Addams Family.”

“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Jim Ziccarelli of North Buffalo, who stopped by with his girlfriend and her parents to see it. “It’s going to be great.”

Ziccarelli has a friend who works for the concrete company that already has poured approximately four dozen of the 90 piers to anchor the gates and, eventually, an 8-foot-high fence enclosing the property.

Stonework, antique lighting and plantings also are planned for the site, according to project manager Daniel Regan of Regan Landscape. “The fence is certainly a huge piece of what we’re doing,” he said.

The project manager would not comment on the cost of the fence project, but one source with knowledge of the plans told The Buffalo News that the price tag is approximately $800,000.

The western gate is for the driveway, and the eastern is for pedestrians.

They were designed by Oleg Shyshkin, who opened a studio in Toronto almost two decades ago to design and forge artistic wrought iron. His company, Wrought Iron Art , also creates stairways, railings and balconies, and lights and chandeliers, among other things.

Site work began last fall, said Regan, an owner of the family business that has been doing work at the mansion.

Albert and Donna Haid of Burlington, Ont., bought the mansion for $1.7 million in 2010.

Albert Haid is the founder of Children’s Educational Funds Inc., an investment fund manager and promoter of the Children’s Education Trust of Canada. The Haids left the design up to Shyshkin. It’s new Gothic style, he said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday.

“This is completely hand-forged … in my shop in Canada,” Shyshkin said. “Every flower, every leaf, every scroll.”

Installation should be complete by the end of summer, Shyshkin said.

A variance for the fence, which exceeds height limits in the City Code, was approved by Buffalo’s Zoning Board of Appeals in early 2014.

At the time the application was presented, nearby residents believed that the 8-foot-high fence would extend only along Nottingham Terrace and Lincoln Parkway, according to a neighbor who asked not to be identified. Middlesex Road is to the north and Randwood Lane to the east.

When completed, the fence will run behind neighboring properties, which include the Middlesex Road home of former Buffalo Sabres player Tyler Myers.

“We originally, as neighbors, went to the Zoning Board on their behalf,” said the neighbor, who has never met the Haids. “We approved it.”

The neighbor, who expressed concern about possible damage to trees close to the property line, said, “If we had known it would be along the back of our property, we would not have approved the 8-foot fence.”

The Haids are the latest owners of the property, which was farmland before the house – still widely known as the Miller Mansion – was built between 1929 and 1933. Through the years, it served as a home, a convent and private school, and again a home.

“They were not in the market to look,” said Bonnie Clement of Hunt Real Estate, who had the listing for the property. But Donna Haid had noticed the oversize sign on the property as she was driving by with her son, who attended Canisius College.

“They called me on a Sunday and they wanted to see it right away,” Clement recalled. Donna Haid told her that it was her favorite house in Buffalo.

The site also had housed the Honduras building for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901, during which President William McKinley was assassinated.

While touring the house with her husband, Donna Haid, who is a distant relative of McKinley, came across a painting of the president.

Despite the concerns expressed, the neighbor’s review of the project so far is glowing.

“The workmanship on those gates is absolutely beautiful. It looks like the posts aren’t going to be that intrusive,” the neighbor said.

“I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful in the end.”

News Staff Reporter Joseph Popiolkowski contributed to this report. email: jhabduda@buffnews.com

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