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Seymour H. Knox House
414 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY

Erected: Circa 1894
Architect: Milton Beebe
Style: Queen Anne

Color photos taken in 2005    ...     Knox history beneath illustrations

Historic photo    ...    The first home of the Knoxes    ...    Queen Anne style

Facade    ...    Details below, starting at the top:

     Queen Anne gable roof     ...    Tympanum  decorated with acanthus leaves and three  grotesques   ...   Note the missing lower section, hopefully in storage


Left corner detail

Right corner detail    ...    Note block modillions supporting the overhanging cornice

Lower left grotesque detailed below:

Note block modillions supporting the overhanging cornice

Pedimented gable roof with decorated tympanum    ...    Block modillions  and console  modillions    ....   Note Tuscan necking on paired inner columns

Two Medina sandstone panels flanking Medina sandstone sidewalk detailed below:

Broken finial atop  Queen Anne conical roof    ...    Wooden shingles    ...    Leaded glass window

Queen Anne style corner tower


Right side (east) pyramidal roof atop oriel window

Block modillions    ...    Pendant finial

Seymour H. Knox photo from The Buffalo Commercial One Hundredth Anniversary, 1911    ...     Grace Millard Knox
photo from Knox Family Photos at the Knox Farm State Park

The text below is excerpted from
Buffalo's Delaware Avenue:  Mansions and Families
By Edward T. Dunn
Pub. by Canisius College Press, 2003

Of Scots-Irish ancestry, Seymour Horace Knox was born in 1861 in Russell, Saint Lawrence County, New York, the son of James Horace Knox, a farmer, and his wife, the former Jane E. McBrier. James' grandfather had fought in the Revolution. The first of these Knoxes in America, William, came to Massachusetts from Belfast in 1737.

Seymour attended the district school and at fifteen, though he had never gone to high school, began to teach school himself. At seventeen he moved to Hart, Michigan, where for a few years he worked as a salesclerk. Then he left for Reading where in partnership with his first cousin, Frank W Woolworth, he opened a five-and-ten-cent store which failed. Unfazed, young Knox established the same kind of operation in Newark, New Jersey This succeeded, but Knox once again sold out and with Woolworth formed Woolworth & Knox in Erie.

With success here, Knox came to Buffalo in 1890 where he opened two stores, one on Main, the other on William Street, to be known as S. H. Knox. Woolworth expanded his empire by using partners to organize single outlets. Thus he could minimize his own outlay. In 1912, however, he merged his rivals, including S. H. Knox, into a company, which in time boasted 596 stores worldwide. Its headquarters were in the Woolworth Building, a $13 million skyscraper on lower Broadway in New York built in 1913. The new company, E W Woolworth, was capitalized at $65 million. Besides his large holdings in this gigantic venture, Knox was made first vice-president. He had also become a heavy player in the affairs of Marine National by purchasing Stephen Clement's interest in 1913.

Knox was married in June 1890, the year he came to Buffalo. According to an article in the Buffalo Evening News,

Mrs. Knox was the former Grace Millard of Detroit, the daughter of Charles and Sarah Avery Millard .... To some of her friends, Mrs. Knox confided the story of her romance with the young man with whom she was to rise to riches. She recalled to these friends that a trip to Buffalo brought about her meeting with Mr. Knox. She was one of a party of girls who came here on a short vacation, one of the girls knew Mr. Knox and he entertained the group.

Especially attracted to Grace Millard, he saw her frequently during her stay here and it wasn't long after the visit that they were married in Detroit and returned here to make their home. Her parents followed, arriving here shortly before Mr. Knox opened his first Buffalo store in the old Palace Arcade near Lafayette Square in the early 1880s [read 1890s. -- Buffalo Evening News, August 31, 1936

The newlyweds' first home was #414 Porter Avenue; by 1896 they were at #467 Linwood (PHOTO)

Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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