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CITY TO APPEAL COURT'S ORDER TO DEMOLISH BECK HOUSE

The City of Buffalo, defeated by Anna Beck while she was alive, appears to be determined to win its current battle with Anna Beck, deceased.

Corporation Counsel Michael B. Risman said Friday that the city would appeal Wednesday's court order to demolish Miss Beck's family homestead as she directed in her will.

Risman said it was his "understanding that the demolition order is stayed pending the appeal."

It was the second time Erie County Surrogate Judge Joseph S. Mattina refused to overrule Miss Beck's decision that the tiny yellow frame house her family had lived in for more than 130 years be torn down after she -- the last immediate member of her family -- died.

Mattina repeated his concern for St. Louis Church, the main beneficiary of Miss Beck's $150,000 estate.

"An appeal process could not only be lengthy," Mattina said, "but will drain money away from St. Louis Church that Anna was totally devoted to."

Miss Beck, who died on Jan. 4 at age 97, considered the house, built by her grandfather just after the Civil War, a family shrine.

Friends remember her saying that after she was gone, she never wanted anyone else to live in the house.

The city, which lost out to Miss Beck in 1977 when it wanted to bulldoze the house because it was in the way of an urban renewal project, now feels, according to a Common Council resolution, that it is "a pristine example of Buffalo's vernacular residential architecture."

That is the description Fillmore District Council Member David A. Franczyk used in the resolution asking that no demolition permits be issued "until all appeals and legal challenges surrounding the status of the property are resolved."

Franczyk introduced the resolution that was approved by the Council on July 21, several days after Mattina had ruled for the first time on July 2 that the house be demolished.

An intern in Franczyk's office, James Brem, said he wanted to preserve the house by buying it and living in it.

Brem's attorney is Robert J. Kresse, a dedicated preservationist who is also determined to do everything to save the house.

Brem also has appealed to the city's Preservation Board to designate the house an historic landmark.

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