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A Closer Look: Curtis Hall, a mansion with historic roots

The mansion at 4380 Main Street in Amherst was built in 1918, a time when the town's population and residential development were growing steadily.

Commissioned by brothers Joseph and David Coplon, the interior of the mansion was nearly identical on each side with a small apartment for their parents, Rosa and Samuel, on one side. A middle gallery was the meeting place for the brothers' two families.

Designed by local architect Louis Greenstein, the mansion is one of only three Italian Renaissance style buildings in the town.

A Closer Look: Curtis Hall, the former Coplon Mansion, at Daemen College

"The style is characterized by low-pitched hip roofs covered with ceramic tiles, wide overhanging eaves, small and less elaborate upper story windows, arches above first floor doors and windows, stucco cladding, and a symmetrical facade," according to the Amherst Historic Preservation Commission.

The mansion was converted to apartments in 1935 and purchased in 1956 by Rosary Hill College, now Daemen College, which uses it for offices.

"We are proud to have a building with such a rich history and significance in Amherst’s early residential development as part of our picturesque campus,” said Daemen President Gary Olson. “As home to several academic offices, Curtis Hall continues to be used today and we remain committed to retaining its overall historic integrity and detailing that is the hallmark of the facility’s architectural style.”

Rosa and Samuel Coplon were Lithuanian immigrants who arrived in the U.S. around 1890. Samuel and his sons founded the Walk on Rug store and the Select Furniture Co.

They became one of western New York's oldest and most prominent Jewish families. "A philanthropist, Samuel Coplon died prior to the completion of the mansion and Rosa Coplon lived there only a short time before she died. Rosa Coplon was a devout humanitarian and founded the original Jewish Old Folks Home," according to the commission.

In 1990 it was dedicated as Patricia E. Curtis Hall, after a member of the first class of Rosary Hill College and longtime faculty member.

The mansion was designated a local historic landmark by the Amherst Town Board in February 2007.

How Amherst's Rosary Hall became part of Daemen College

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