Details, Details, Nephew W. Sidney was the Unknown Family Stone Carver . 1901

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The Delaware Park Bridge . Photos courtesy of “Buffalo as an Architectural Museum” website.

This post was written a few weeks ago and while looking for more information on the Wicks family, I found William Sidney Nicholson, who was referred to in the postcard written by Wicks as the person responsible for the carvings on this bridge. (Postcard was sent to daughter Ruth)

William Sidney Nicholson was Ruth’s cousin and the son of Wicks sister, Ione and her husband Charles A. Nicholson who introduced the first phone and phone company to the Oneida County region. Charles spent his own money to run the first four phone wires in the area. The event caused quite a sensation. The Wicks & extended family have some rather fascinating and trailblazing qualities as they embbraced new ideas  and successfully employed them. I believe the Nicholsons lived in Utica, New York by the references found on the Oneida County New York biographies website.

Ione and Inez married prominent and successful men. I am puzzled at the repetition of names though as Inez married Howard Nicholson Brown. Was he a relative of Charles Nicholson? Also, the Wicks name as a middle name seems to come up every now and then, and I am not sure of the family connection. Just how did everyone come to know each other? It was a small world.

Previous Post:

Delaware Park Bridge Page

As I am reading about the push to prepare the City of Buffalo for the Pan Am Exhibition in 1901, I am finding that a great deal was accomplished in record time with thoughtful, cohesive vision by teams of talented individuals, among them Architects. The Board consisted of eight Architects, E.B. Green sat on the Board representing the Green & Wicks firm.

Although it seems modest in comparison to the very “important” buildings of the day, the Delaware Park Bridge was a rather critical element to the logistics of moving people to and from the exposition. By the end of the event, it has been calculated that 11 million people had visited the site.

There is vague and conflicting information available on the architectural firm responsible for the design of the Delaware Park Bridge, the “Buffalo as an Architectural Museum” site has some concise information. I also have a postcard from my family archives written by Wicks in August of 1908 for daughter Ruth, while she was at the summer home Rubble Manor, in Barneveld. Ruth would be 24 years old at this time.

Here is the card and note:

buffalo 13

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Here is the message: Park Lake Bridge. G&W Architects The (?) heads are keystones to arches were cut by your Uncle Sidney. look at same through a glass. WSW

As I have been researching various sources for information, I have found an extended Wicks family in Buffalo between 1901 and 1910. It would only be natural for family members to be involved in the process of constructing and building, so I find this interesting. The work is that of a true artisan, and after over 110 years holding up rather well. I am still unfamiliar with all of the details of the family tree … I will look for the Uncle Sidney, with an i.

I think this card and note verifies this bridge as the design of the Green & Wicks Architectural firm, for posterity’s sake if for nothing else..

Here is more information on this practical, yet elegant bridge from the “Buffalo as an Architectural Museum” website:

Erected:

1901, in time for the Pan-Am Expostion. Built by the City of Buffalo to replace a wood and iron bridge. The city also rebuilt the Casino and boathouse.
See also: Highlights of Buffalo’s History, 1901

Original name:

Bridge of the Three Americas

Style:

Venetian. The casino was also rebuilt in the same style. The Pan-Am featured a “Venetian lagoon,” i.e., Hoyt Lake (formerly named Delaware Park Lake) which was dredged to make it suitable for canoes and, of course, gondolas.

Ornamentation:

Two white lions at each bridge entrance were temporary, like all the buildings except the New York State Building (now the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society Museum).
There are 6 stone heads that function as keystones on either side of the three arches.
On the side facing the Casino, the two outer heads represent Native Americans, and the middle one an idealized head representing Buffalo.
On the other side, the heads represent the three doges (grand dukes) of Venice: Dandolo, Michaeli, and Morosini.

(All rights of original material reserved.)

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About Stories, Old & New

My background is in Public Relations with a B.S. from Syracuse University. I would like to publish "Rabbitwild - A Shelter in the Wilderness", written by my Great Grandfather, William S. Wicks, a gifted early American Architect and Naturalist. Wicks, a member of the first group to purchase 100,000 acres of Adirondack Wilderness with the idea that it should remain a "forever wild" preserve, in fact designed and built "Rabbitwild" within the Adirondack League Club. And so, this blog isn't about me at all, but about remembering Wicks, his legacy, love and loyalty to natural design. By happenstance, he created the same appreciation in me for all that is beautiful, by nature.

3 responses »

  1. I am trying to attribute my house in Ridgeway, Ontario to Wicks. The original owner was Walter C. Nichols (C for Charles) who married Cornell alum LLB’96 Helen Mae, forget her maiden name. Anyways, I’m very familiar with his work. The house is a colonial bungalow craftsman style and in1917 construction was almost completed. I think it was finished after the war with a big concrete pour.

    One of your grandfather’s signature design elements was ventilation. Many of he homes that he had a hand in, more so than Green, had lots of doors and windows, especially on the second floor, designed for free flow of air and shutting down rooms when heating season arrived. I lived in a house of his, in Central Park, with these features. He and Green were both genius in the sighting of their structures to of the built environment and natural features of he landscape. This is really evident in my Canadian home. I have a whole list of forensic connections between Wick’s and this house which is located only 15 minutes from the Peace Bridge at a small community called Windmill Point, originally designed for and sold mostly to Cornell Alumni.

    I can send you a link that is a picture of Gates Circle, done by, who I believed must have been a friend of your grandfather’s, Bufalo dentist John Garretson. His photography is now considered quite artistic and valuable. I’ve seen the whole collection, and there are only two architectural photos, one of Gate’s Circle and the other is of my house in Canada!

    -Kevin

    Like

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