Ransom House - Table of Contents
Exterior - Bemis / Ransom House
267 North Street, Buffalo, NY
TEXT Beneath illustrations
Special thanks to Collins & Collins for their cooperation in 2019 in photographing their building
Historic photo courtesy of Collins & Collins
Queen Anne style house by Silsbee and Marling in 1886(?) ... Details from the top down:
Dual Catamounts (mountain lions) finials
Running bond brick pattern with terra cotta ornamentation ... Roundel
Catamount (mountain lion) finial
"Hi, I know a little of Henry Plasschaert. He was a terra cotta sculptor. My church building, which used to be a vaudeville theatre, and was built in 1914, bears much of his handiwork on the facade. That building is in Hagerstown, MD. I did a lot of research and discovered a group called "Friends of Terra Cotta" in NYC that know of his work also. He is the only terra cotta artist that is known to have signed his work on the facade of any building in NYC. He did so at the German American Shooting Club building in the St. Mark's district of NYC. I do also have some other information about him, but not much. His daughter became a famous violinist of her time." ... "He also did the monumental terra cotta frieze at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, Ct. (completed 1893). He also signed this work. It's an impressive American history told in terra cotta relief panels, starting from Native American to Industrial Revolution in Bridgeport." - Two comments on Ancestry.com (online April 2019)
Chimney with spiral chimney brace (note anchor) ... Terra cotta roof tiles ... Two details below:
Large, Victorian chimney with decorative brickwork
Terra cotta roof tiles ... Spiral chimney brace (note anchor at right)
Roundel ... Banded/ ribbon windows with hoodmolds and fluted keystones ... Parapeted bay window
Historic photo courtesy of Collins & Collins
Terra cotta ornamentation topped by ball finial, and including acanthus leaves and Flemish scrolls
Keystone ... Terra cotta panels ... Wrought iron railings ... Medina sandstone steps
Terra cotta panel
Wrought iron railing ... Medina sandstone steps
Medina sandstone patio
Dutch gable ... False front ... Catamount (mountain lion) sculpture (three details below:)
Wrought iron railing features center baluster with scrolling acanthus leaves rising from a fleur-de-lis
Arch with keystone enclosing a Palladian window
Facade (left) and east elevation
Terra cotta roof tiles ... Art Nouveau terra cotta window surrounds ... Note feathered volute at right (detailed below:)
Terra cotta feathered volute
Historic photo courtesy of Collins & Collins ... In 2019 this is a large commercial parking lot behind an Elmwood Avenue store
and James Marling
Silsbee's second house commission for Buffalo. $25,000.
The first commission was next door at 291 North St., the Noyes/Naylon House. The cost for each house was $25,000.
In 1882 Silsbee opened an office in Buffalo with Buffalonian James H. Marling (1857-1895) who also had worked in Silsbee's Syracuse office before coming to Buffalo. (Silsbee continued his office and residence in Syracuse.) All of the commissions that Silsbee had in Buffalo (21 houses, plus some commercial buildings) were the result of the contacts he made when he designed the Falconwood clubhouse in Grand Island and the Hamlin Park Driving Club. Silsbee designed several houses for the Hamlin family.
Bemis lived on the property in another building and is listed at the address in '83 but building citations and research of Silsbee's work of the period proves that the home was built a few years later.
See also: Highlights of Buffalo's History, 1885
|Queen Anne....... Flemish Renaissance|
designed for John Muzzy Bemis and his wife, Mary.
Bemis owned a wholesale lumber company in downtown Buffalo until
when the family moved to Pennsylvania. The company was then
consolidated with Taylor and Crate.
Silsbee met Bemis when he was designing the Falconwood Club. Bemis was a lumber baron who accumulated great wealth selling the abundant timber from area forests. The exquisite interior woodwork reflects Bemis's career success.
Mr. and Mrs. Philip W. Ransom lived in the house from 1955 to 1981. . Mr. Ransom's career centered on real estate and investments. He was a descendant of Asa Ransom, an early settler of Western New York.
The house was the Decorators' Show House in 1983.
Main source of information:
See also: Joseph Lyman Silsbee in Buffalo Bemis House architect