786 Delaware Avenue - First House: Prosser House
Built 1855 - Demolished 1911

Photo courtesy of Peter Clement

See TEXT beneath the photo



The house shown in the photo was built in about 1855 by Hon. Erastus Sabinus Prosser (1809-1888).

Prosser was an investor in businesses related to the Erie Canal. He was involved in shipping and forwarding on the canal, built and owned canal boats and pulling stock (horses and mules), numbering at one time 1500 animals. He built steam powered canal boats before retiring from canal business.

He was elected to the State Senate in 1858 and served through 1861. He was considered an authority on transportation issues, and favored turning the canal over to the government in the face of competition from the railroads.

He owned the Prosser Block at West Seneca and Pearl Streets.

He was married in 1834 to Lucy Wilbur, and had three children. The house he built in "suburban" Buffalo was unnumbered until the City Directory of 1868. Prior to that time he was listed as living "on Delaware above summer." The house was described as a showplace, with well-manicured gardens, that served as a focus of Buffalo social life.

The house was sold to Augustus Franklin Tripp in 1881. Tripp was a partner in Sidney Shepard and Company, manufacturers of tin and metalware. He had three children, George Augustus Tripp, Emma Hannah Tripp Frost and Carolyn Jewett Tripp. Carolyn Tripp was married to Stephen Merrell Clement [SMC2], in the parlor of the house, in 1884.

Augustus Tripp sold a portion of the property to William H. Gratwick, for his house, designed in 1886, by Henry Hobson Richardson, the architect of the State Asylum on Forest Avenue.

When Tripp died in 1908, 786 Delaware Avenue was given to Stephen and Carolyn Clement. The fireplace that served as the centerpiece of the drawing room where they were married was removed when the couple tore down the house in 1911. It was installed in the master bedroom of their new house, where it remains today.