The following newspaper story - published in 1941 - is printed verbatim.

Alterations to be few; Panels kept
By Nat Gorham

A Fabulous period in Buffalo's history is typified by the Goodyear mansion, 888 Delaware Ave., which was taken over this week by the Hospital Service Corporation and the Western New York Medical plan.

From the time it was completed in 1902 at a cost of $500,000 the mansion was the scene of many interesting social functions. The large living room or, "
hall," its walls covered with a rich red Italian brocade and with pilasters and cove mouldings of exquisitely carved American walnut, has enclosed receptions for royalty and dances for debutantes and their beaux. Soon it will be the "underwriting and service" room of the corporation. Instead of string orchestras there will be tapping typewriters and the hum of busy people.

The lavish study used by Charles W. Goodyear, who built the home, will be the office of the director and the delicate, charming oval breakfast room will be the office of the comptroller. The board will meet where once the Goodyears kept their books and spent their evenings.

Prince's Chair Remains

Mr. Goodyear owned timber tracts In Louisiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. So extensive were his holdings that if one tract were shorn and replanted, it would have been reforested by the time the lumber jacks had harvested the others. The wood in the Goodyear house is naturally the finest that could have been supplied. Beautiful walnut paneling fills the library and hallways, as well as the living room.

The dining room was furnished with a table, sideboard, and 12 chairs of solid Honduras
mahogany, said to have cost $7000. Descendants of Mr. Goodyear own the two chairs in which the King and Queen of Belgium sat in 1919, but the one for Prince Leopold, with his name carved in the back, remains in the house.

One door in the dining room opens into the breakfast room. Another leads onto the
loggia commanding a spacious view of the gardens nearby and the lawns beyond. Through still another, one reaches the palm room.

Over the
mantle of the marble fireplace in the main hall is a six-foot marble relief called "Life" by K. Bitter, which won first prize at the St. Louis exposition. Weighing two tons, it is placed on a foundation extending to the cellar. It was bought at the recent sale of Goodyear pieces, but the purchaser never took it away because experts found they would have had to tear down the house to get it out

On Five Levels

In the butler's pantry, presided over for years by Alfred Taylor, are two long German silver sinks and rinsing trays. The kitchen was distinguished by a fine large stove with an overhanging metal hood and by an electric refrigerator opening into the kitchen and also into a hall back of the kitchen. It was large enough to hold a side of beef as well as other large stores.

The house has five levels: basement, ground floor, first bedroom floor, second bedroom floor, and attic. Through three of these floors, from the ground to the second bedroom floors, spirals a graceful staircase with a wrought-iron balustrade and an oak hand rail. A heavy iron chain drops 40 feet through the well and at the end is a polychrome chandelier.

There are nine bedrooms on the two bedroom floors, each with a luxurious marble fireplace and each with a marble bathroom. A sewing room, 20 by 20 feet, has flowered wallpaper, a fireplace, and a built-in closet with wash basins.

Mrs. Goodyear, who died last September, occupied the bedroom in the southeast corner of the second floor and Mr. Goodyear, who died 28 years ago, the room adjoining. Both are beautiful paneled with solid mahogany.

In Blue Brocade

Two of the most beautiful rooms of the house were those occupied by Mrs. Arnold B. Watson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Goodyear. The large sitting room of her apartment was covered with a light blue brocade and the woodwork painted with 10 or 12 coats of ivory enamel.

There are four servants' bedrooms on the second floor, five on the third, and four over the garage. In the attic is a 40-foot cedar chest for storing Oriental rugs and several cedar rooms for linens. An elevator extends through the five levels. In the basement are two boilers for the steam heat and a coal bin holding 65 tons.

The main floor is supported by steel "I" beams resting on giant stone and concrete pillars. On the beams is a layer of two inches of concrete and on this a rough wood flooring and finally the hardwood. Experts believe this floor is as strong as a factory floor.

With the exception of the kitchen and pantries and a few of the bedroom partitions, the house will not be changed by the hospital corporation. It expects to move in May 1.

Taylor Caldwell (Mrs. Marcus Reback), Buffalo author, was inspired to write her forthcoming book, "The Strong City," while attending the sale of furnishings in the house.

See also: Highlights of Buffalo's History, 1941


Research by Gregory Lodinsky
Photo © 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..