Mansion House

Categories:Places
Historic Buffalo
Mansion House 1842

Fig. 1: The Mansion House in 1842, Buffalo, NY. Reproduced in Earlier Picture Book of Buffalo, from an engraving of that year, by J.W. Orr (an engraver, and boarder at the Mansion House).

Mansion House

The Mansion House was located at 169 Main St., on the corner of Main and Crow (now named Exchange) streets.

In 1804, the parcel of land on which the Mansion House would later be built was sold as “lot 1” for $140; it was later deeded to Joseph Landon at that price.1 In 1806, John Crow kept a tavern (aptly named “Crow’s Tavern”) on the lot.2 Around this time, Samuel Pratt built his house next to Crow’s Tavern. Pratt’s house was a two-and-a-half story frame building, with an adjoining store; it was the first frame dwelling in the village of Buffalo, and it was called the Mansion — probably the source of the name Mansion House.3

The first judicial court session in Buffalo was held at Crow’s Tavern in June 1808.4 In 1809, Crow’s Tavern was purchased by Joseph Landon and it was renamed Landon’s Tavern; he kept the tavern until 1824.5 After Buffalo was burned in 1813, Joseph Landon rebuilt the tavern, describing the new building as a “long low wooden building, south side of Crow between Main and Washington.”6 The popular tavern had a prime location “at the western terminus of the Albany stage road.”7


PhineaMansion House 1859s Barton was the proprietor of the tavern from 1825-1837, and named it Mansion House.8

Erastus Hathaway was the proprietor of the Mansion House from 1837 to 1841.9 In June 1840, The Log Cabin Saloon opened underneath the Mansion House, and Hunter’s Medical Office was “Established exclusively for the treatment of all Diseases of a delicate nature” under the Mansion House at 12 Exchange St.; the advertisement claims the treatment of Syphilis as the doctor’s specialty, and the reader is left to guess what other “Diseases of a delicate nature” the ad was referring to.10

Mansion House 1900

Fig. 4: Mansion House (c.1900), Buffalo, NY.

In 1841, the Buffalo Confectionery sold “Candy of various sorts, Sugar Plums, Cakes and Toys of all kinds” under the Mansion House, at 139 Main St.11 In 1842, the Mansion House proprietors were Philip Dorsheimer, William Dorsheimer, and James Brass, establishing the firm Dorsheimer & Brass.12

The Mansion House was rebuilt in 1843 and 1846, with several enlargements and renovations over the years.13 Before 1843, the Mansion House was “three stories high on the Crow street side, four stories on Main street,”14 “with a balcony for each story on the Main-street side.”15 During the 1840’s, the Mansion House was rebuilt without the balconies (see fig. 3).16 In 1844, the Mansion House proprietors were Philip and William Dorsheimer, and Samuel Hecox; they established the firm Dorsheimer & Hecox.17 In 1847, Philip Dorsheimer became the sole proprietor of the Mansion House.18 In 1883, the Mansion House was “built up to six stories and extended to Washington Street.”19

Mansion House Advertisement 1848 Fig. 8: Twin pumps that used to provide water to the area (c.1890), Buffalo, NY. The Mansion House is the light-colored building on the right.
McKinley Funeral 1901 McKinley Funeral Cortege