It was the early 1900s and Buffalo was in its heyday when John D. Larkin built five homes around Lincoln Parkway near Delaware Park for his wife, Frances, and their four children.
Larkin, founder and head of the soap manufacturing company that dominated the Hydraulics District east of downtown, had purchased an entire block of land then known as Rumsey’s Wood from the estate of Dexter P. Rumsey. Largely bordered by Rumsey Road, Forest and Windsor avenues and Lincoln, the area became the family compound, which the family dubbed Larkland.
The grand mansion at 107 Lincoln Parkway belonged to Larkin himself, and overlooked Delaware Park at the corner of Lincoln and Rumsey. But it was demolished in 1939.
The other four – at 65 Lincoln Parkway and at 160, 175 and 176 Windsor – remain standing today, harkening back to a bygone era.
And one of them just changed hands for the first time in 30 years.
A Buffalo orthopaedic surgeon and his wife have purchased the seven-bedroom Harold Esty House at 176 Windsor, paying just shy of $1 million for the three-story red-brick colonial. The couple, Dr. A. Marc and Nancy Tetro, say they see it as their “vintage dream home” and plan to “preserve the home’s exquisite historical detail while refreshing it, with a caring touch, for the 21st century,” according to an emailed statement.
“We can’t wait to embrace our role as ambassadors of this historic Buffalo residence,” the couple said in the statement.
They declined additional comment, saying they weren’t far enough along in their plans.
Tetro is a board-certified orthopaedist at Pinnacle Orthopedic & Spine Specialists, with expertise in hand surgery, as well as in shoulder and elbow surgery, arthroscopy and microsurgery. He is also an assistant clinical professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He and his wife have four children.
The 5,353-square-foot red-brick Colonial mansion was designed by McCreary, Wood & Bradney, which also designed the Sidway Building, the Spaulding Building and the two Lincoln Parkway homes. It was built in 1916, for Larkin’s daughter, Frances “Daisy” Larkin, and her husband, Harold M. Esty. It later passed to their daughter, Elberta Larkin Esty, who owned it from 1963 until 1986, when William H. Zacher bought it.
It remained in his family until now. And it went under contract for $999,900 just one day after it was listed by Hunt Real Estate Corp.
The architecturally detailed home has three-and-a-half bathrooms, grand living and dining rooms, a sun porch, a den and library, a recreation and game room on the lower level and a third-floor guest suite. The first two floors are air-conditioned. There’s also a carriage house with two bedrooms and one bathroom above a two-car, 1,550-square-foot garage. And the entire home is surrounded by gardens and patios, on a large Buffalo parcel of 0.7 acres.
Additionally, Larkin had built a limestone wall to surround the entire block almost immediately after he bought the land, and that wall remains intact today. He also put in a service road cutting through from Rumsey to Forest for delivery of coal and other items, and erected a large garage for his own house in the center of the block, with an apartment for his chauffeur and family. There were also greenhouses and utility buildings.
The three homes for his sons were built by 1915, a year before the Esty house. Each had a garage with an apartment for the chauffer’s family above, and a heating plant in the basement, bringing heat through steam pipes through a tunnel from the garage to the house.
Hunt agent Adele Cloutier, who represented the Zacher family in the sale, said the Tetros “are lovers of Buffalo history.” Besides updating the baths and kitchens, she said, “they are largely going to restore both the interior and exterior to as much of its original splendor as possible.”
Cloutier said there are still a “few bits of Larkin memorabilia” that will be “preserved and highlighted” as part of the restoration, and noted that the original plans for the home, which were found inside, are being used by the architect and builder as guides for the work.
“I’m so pleased that we were able to get immediate results for the family and even more excited that the buyers are going to restore this wonderful, historic home to perfection,” said Cloutier. “It will once again be one of the crown jewels of Buffalo real estate.”