Linwood Avenue Table of Contents

Lock-Butler House - Table of Contents

2002 photos - Lock-Butler House
429 Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on photos for larger size -- and additional information

Edward H. Butler

The wrought iron on the porch is not original

Note the unusual open-arch chimney and oriel window

Curved Dutch gable at the center of the front (west) facade

One of a pair of dog gargoyles [grotesques] made of heavy tin

The gargoyle [grotesque] which originally sat on top of the Dutch gable now rests on a chair on a landing

Window in the front gable

Terra cotta ornamentation which has designs (strapwork) similar to those in the porte-cochere wood designs

Another distinctive, beautiful window

Driveway (north) side foundation

Stained glass

Stained glass

Stained glass


Rear and driveway side of the house with porte-cochere roof to the right

Rear of house foliated terra cotta ornamentation

Medina sandstone foundation of the porte-cochere


Eastlake style using English strapwork design in addition to spindles

Eastlake style using English strapwork design in addition to spindles

Chimney cap ... gargoyle

The Silsbee-designed Bemis House at 267 North Street. Note the similarities in design to the Linwood house.


Queen Anne


  • 2 1/2 story house

  • The curved Flemish Renaissance gable at the center of the front (west) facade

  • Almost every window is uniquely distinctive. Some of the art glass in the windows is original, some replacements

  • An unusual, open-arched chimney; soaring chimneys

  • The main window stunningly decorated with leaded glass

  • Although stunning, the wrought iron on the porch is not original

  • If the roof to the porch is original, it is likely that there were decorative wooden posts or heavily spindled posts - similar to the porte cochere posts - which supported the roof

  • Two resting, heavy tin dog gargoyles on the flanks of the Dutch gable

    There was another gargoyle like the two up there. That creature sat on the top of the Dutch gable, and must have added a more imposing look to the front (west) facade. This third gargoyle rotted at its base, in part from a bees nest which gathered in the hole at the base. The owners have this gargoyle sitting on a chair in the house (See photo above).

    An original fourth gargoyle is missing. It crouched on all fours and was placed on top of the main chimney.


Christopher Payne:
[William] Lock was from a contracting family. His father, John Lock, was a mason from England. He began one of the earliest contracting companies in Buffalo in 1844. His most prominent work in the city is the spire of St. Paul's Cathedral on Main Street. William Lock's first home on Linwood was built at 433 (now demolished) and designed by Henry F. Duck. Departing from Smith's shingle style developments, this home was a two and a half story brick residence. Lock lived there until 1888 when he sold it to carriage manufacturer John Harvey. 

In 1886, [William] Lock commissioned architect George Metzger for four more brick homes to be built on his properties. It appears that he developed all of the properties from 429 Linwood to 455 Linwood. A likely hallmark to Lock's background and knowledge of masonry, all of these homes feature elaborate brickwork, terra cotta and stone detailing, and fit neatly in what is commonly referred to as Queen Anne style architecture. 

After Lock sold his home at 433, he moved to the home he constructed at 429, with this listed as his address in the 1889 directory. That year, Lock placed advertisements for the sale of the home in the local newspapers. A year later, this "new home" was still listed, at a bargain, along with its large carriage house (now demolished). In May of 1890, the home was sold to newspaper man, Edward Butler. Butler is the name most associated with the home because of his stature in Buffalo society at the time and because of his association with a well-known Buffalo mansion that he lived in several years later. 

The year of construction is the first clue that leads me to believe that [Joseph] Silsbee had nothing to do with the design of William Lock's home. Silsbee had stepped away from his Buffalo office by late 1886 and [James H.] Marling was announcing a lot of work under his name alone. The final notice of work by Silsbee is in the spring of 1887 and by the middle of 1887, Silsbee is no longer listed in directories. He completed some work after that year but it was quite different from what he completed with Marling. In 1888, the same year that 429 Linwood was constructed, he was commissioned by banker George Howard for an elaborate mansion on Summer Street.

I first visited the Lock Home in 1992. I had the opportunity to tour the inside and to take some measurements of it. It is a beautiful home but I recall thinking at the time that it had none of the features that I would consider "Silsbee-like". No elaborate woodwork, no built-ins, no elaborate fireplace surrounds, no monumental stair, and art glass that seemed out of place from anything else I had seen in Silsbee homes.

For now, I am keeping 429 off of my list of works by J. L. Silsbee and will continue to cringe when I see folks post about "Edward Butler's home in Buffalo designed by J. L. Silsbee".

The plot of land the house is built on can be traced to Rumsey and Butler Families.

When it was built in 1885 (1886?), the house was part of the greatest building boom the city had seen. Residences were spreading out from the city's center at a rapid rate. 429 still was an easy walk, for residents much more used to walking, to downtown, and it was conveniently located near Forest Lawn cemetery and Delaware Park, the big green spaces which constituted the northern extent of Buffalo. Horse drawn trolleys were in service for those who did not wish to take their carriages downtown.


Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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