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Cleveland grandson views 1882 mayoral office

George Cleveland, the near-look-a-like grandson of U.S. President Grover Cleveland, on Wednesday got a look at the office his grandfather occupied when he was mayor of Buffalo.

Cleveland, who will be commencement speaker at Friday's 80th and final graduation at Grover Cleveland High School, marveled at what he called the "typically" small-sized second-floor mayoral office in what is now Erie County Hall at 92 Franklin St.

Cleveland, 58, who runs a nonprofit senior services center in Tamworth, N.H., was shown the office in the building that served as City Hall in 1882 by Martha Howe, secretary to Erie County Surrogate Barbara Howe.

Noting that a copy of a famous painting of his grandfather hangs in the office, Cleveland said that his grandfather "was not into ostentation" and that his gravesite in Princeton, N.J., doesn't even carry a notice that he was once president of the United States.

Richard Pyszczek, senior class adviser and a social studies teacher at Grover Cleveland, said Cleveland will give the commencement address at the 80th and final graduation of the high school, which will be renovated over the next year.

Pyszczek said Cleveland will be addressing the 60 students in the combined final graduating class of Grover Cleveland and the first graduating class of the year-old International Prep program, which had been operating on the Grover campus.

"We're calling it the Alpha-Omega graduation ceremony," Pyszczek said of the combined ceremony, which will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday in the Theatre of Youth Building on Allen Street.

Wednesday, Cleveland and Pyszczek made a noontime visit to 92 Franklin, greeting Howe and her staff and Justice Paula L. Feroleto, administrative judge of the state's Buffalo-based Eighth Judicial District and her staff.

Cleveland noted that Buffalo's Phillips Lytle LLP is a direct descendant firm of his grandfather's Buffalo law firm.

At 11 a.m. today, Cleveland will attend the annual meeting of the Association for a Buffalo Presidential Center in the Karpeles Manuscript Library, 453 Porter Ave. He was recently named an adviser to the group's board of directors.

President Cleveland, born Stephen Grover Cleveland on March 18, 1837, was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States.

He is the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms (18851889 and 18931897); was the 28th governor of New York from Jan. 1, 1883, to Jan. 6, 1885; the 34th mayor of Buffalo, from only Jan. 2, 1882, to Nov. 20, 1882; and sheriff of Erie County from 1871 to 1873.

George Cleveland is the grandson of both President Cleveland and the late Francis Folsom Cleveland, who grew up in Buffalo's Allentown district and was the daughter of Cleveland's Buffalo law partner, Oscar Folsom.

In 1873, Folsom died in a carriage accident, and Grover Cleveland was made executor of his estate and became legal guardian of the then-9-year-old Frances Folsom, whom he married in the Wite House in 1886 when he was 45 and she was 21.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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