Share this article

print logo

WHITNEY MANSION IS ONE OF CITY'S OLDEST

The Whitney Mansion located on a bluff overlooking the Upper Niagara River Rapids is one of the city's oldest and finest intact historic structures. The mansion was completed around 1850 by Maj. Solon M. N. Whitney and is significant architecturally and historically because of the importance of its builder and occupants to the development of this area.

The Whitney Mansion occupied Lots 60 and 61 of the Mile Strip. Construction started in 1837, but was delayed by war and other events. It is of Greek Revival design, with four large pillars on the front. The three-story structure has 11 bedrooms, two apartments and honeymoon suite. The interior woodwork is all black walnut.

Solon Whitney was the son of Gen. Parkhurst Whitney, who was one of the founders of Niagara Falls, having come here in 1810 just four years after Judge Augustus Porter, the first permanent settler. Gen. Whitney was the owner of the Eagle Tavern and the Cataract House, the first hotels here. He had three daughters, for whom the Three Sister Islands were named.

Solon Whitney was born in the Eagle Tavern in 1814, the first child born in the Village of Niagara Falls. He lived to be one of its oldest residents and was president of the Niagara Falls Gas Works, director of the Cataract Bank and president of the Village Council.

In 1837, Whitney bought property on Buffalo Avenue, set out trees and laid the foundations of his house. His duties in the Patriot's War prevented him from continuing construction on the house immediately.

On May 12, 1840, Whitney married Miss Frances Drake. They had two children. According to a Feb. 14, 1883 newspaper report, the Whitneys occupied the house after 1851. When it was completed, it became the second house on the south side of Buffalo Avenue after that of Judge Porter.

After the Edwin B. Whitney family moved, the mansion was owned for a time by A.H. Zimmerman of Moore Business Forms and then by Edward E. Franchot, a prominent lawyer.

Sometime after 1950, it was purchased by the Carborundum Co. The company beautifully restored the mansion with many of the original furnishings. In 1962, the mansion was sold to the University Club of Niagara Falls, to be used as a home for young executives.

The Whitney Mansion presently serves as the offices of John P. Bartolomei & Associates.

The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places Jan. 17, 1974, one of nine sites in the city so listed, according to the Local History Department of the Niagara Falls Public Library.

There are no comments - be the first to comment