Category Archives: Wicks – Buffalo

The Firm

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For Rick – the Green & Wicks Firm was housed in an old Unitarian Church in Buffalo for sometime. I haven’t taken the time today to check times, place and dates, or have even tried to guess. But, for now here are some photos that have somehow survived! (All rights reserved, duplication of content is strictly forbidden without consent of author, owner.)

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Cleaning House at the Albright

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Albright-Knox Art Gallery …. Published on Facebook today …So glad both Architects were named by the Albright … Hats off to timeless architecture & those who created it, and now to all who embrace timeless beauty and necessity of preserving it …  On August 14, 1961, the 1905 Albright building, designed by Buffalo architects, E. B. Green and William Sydney Wicks, was cleaned for the first time by Gallery staff. The process restored the building to its original appearance when its opened 56 years prior. ‪#‎throwbackthursday

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Remembering my Great Grandfather, William S Wicks

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Wicks . the Canadian Connection & the lost Swiss Chalets

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Wicks . the Canadian Connection & the lost Swiss Chalets

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Postcards from Canada . Wicks collection . Summer & Fall of 1906 to Ruth . Grand Trunk Railway System Series . Lake Temagami . Lady Evelyn River. Muskoka Lakes District . St. Lawrence River . 1000 Islands the Admiralty Group.

I have been looking for the three-story swiss chalets designed by Wicks in the Georgian Bay region of Canada as referenced in the article written by Russel Roberts  … not even a smidge of a hint. I am guessing that the series of postcards above are the result of the trip either to or from Canada as Wicks would have traveled to see the site for the project.

Three postcards are addressed to Ruth’s Buffalo address (Fall) and two are addressed to the Adirondack League Club in care of the Lashers (Mr. Hazard Lasher died 3 years earlier, at just 48 years old). Mrs. Lasher and her two sons continued to stay at the Cottage for the summer. Ruth was 26 years old, the boys may have been about the same age, I am not sure.

One postcard is written by Ruth’s mother so Wicks was traveling with his wife on the excursion. I recognize Wicks handwriting on the others, he rarely sends a message. Emma is staying with Walter, having delightful rides on the river in his launch., and that is the end of the chapter on the Canadian connection.

And so the story of the Canadian Swiss chalets remain a mystery.

The Adirondack camps were closed and secured for the winter, buttoned up with the promise of Spring nothing more than that of an elusive lover with wet spring snow hugging the ground incessantly. Emma returned to Rubble Manor in Barneveld, running the household, holding down the fort, I know so little about her. Wicks returned to the city continuing his work with EB Green, the plethora of commissions keeping  the firm humming. My Grandmother, Ruth. Ruth’s occupation seems to be travel, tennis and  attending conscientious social clubs. But, that is what I surmise. After all of the Ivy League education, I am not aware of a “paid”position that she held in her lifetime, however, she managed the family property beutifully when her father died.

It looks like this postcard was sent from the Green & Wicks New York State Fairgrounds right after Ruth left the Adirondacks. It was sent by  Ruth to her mother in Barneveld and it is rather sweet. She is attending the Fair in Syracuse with friends and may be there for a while. The card is signed Al & Ruth and I wonder if Al might have been one of the Lasher boys, and if the two had traveled to the fair from camp together. There was word that someone had killed a buck  – she is asking her mother to please send her some venison, even if it is just a small amount… having a fine old time…gay and festive town ….wish you were here.

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Remembering Ruth, I think of her as a sophisticated and smart young woman walking in a society of the very accomplished, her soul and heart firmly entrenched in the natural earthy beauty and spirit of the country, and the honesty it brings forth….every girl needs a father like Wicks.

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Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann, Great Granddaughter of Wicks

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Who’s Who in America . Ruth Wicks . 1914

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Who’s Who in America . Ruth Wicks . 1914

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Women’s Who’s Who of America . A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women in the United States & Canada  Ruth Wicks . 1914-1915

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My Grandmother Ruth Wicks & Daughter of William  S. Wicks, photo courtesy of Wicks Great granddaughter Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann. I love this photo, it captures the essence of  a grounded sense of self & place in the world,  frivolous or pretentious persona is non-existent. She  graduated from Smith College with an A.B Degree, what we would now call either a B.A or B.S, I think. My mother told me that Ruth was a Horticulturist, but I haven’t been able to find records for her field of study.

So, what is next? From the Alumnae Department – “Smith College Monthly” – Vol 16 – 1910: Ruth E. Wicks, after Feb. 1, will travel with Martha Weed in Europe taking the Mediterranean Trip.

I always wondered who she traveled with, but had not heard of Miss Weed before! This trip was captured by a collection of postcards that Ruth used as a series for daily entries, which were addressed for the most part to her father noting museums, activities, culture and characteristics of the landscape. It looks like she sent them in a package, or saved them until she arrived back home. I have quite a few of these cards, saved for over a hundred years by some miracle.

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Bon Voyage – Luxury Liner – The George Washington – part of her trip on the European Tour

With her education completed and the European Tour over, what did a young woman like Ruth do? Society, sports, charitable and scholarly endeavors were de rigueur and the life she knew … which all sounds so very nice. With the entry and information found in “Who’s Who of America” I have a better understanding of who my Grandmother was as a young women in a traditional, yet changing world. What a wonderful life had been designed by her loving and enlightened parents.

Born in Trenton, New York, October 5, 1884

Ruth attended the Elmwood School, the oldest independent, private non sectarian all girls school, also known as the Buffalo Seminary:

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(Above photo is courtesy of the “Buffalo Rising” website .)

Ruth received her A.B. Degree from Smith College . 1908

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She was a  Unitarian, her Uncle Howard Brown, Minister of King’s Chapel, Boston

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Ruth belonged to the Peace and Arbitration Society of Buffalo, the Graduate Association of Buffalo Seminary, the Alumnae Association of Smith College and a member of the Unity Club. For recreation: farming, golf and tennis  …. it is noted that she favors Women’s suffrage. When I was a little girl, she just loved being around me and never brought her past forward, what wonderful stories she must have had. This was my grandmother – it gives me chills – that’s all I can say.

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The publication is rather interesting as it addresses the folly and the necessity of creating this record of women in a changing world. It is a rather lengthy diatribe, but I like this excerpt, in part: “…and all the many ways in which women are working in and influencing the movements for progress, for higher ideals, for better living or cleaner politics and for social, educational and religious uplift …”

While William S Wicks was completely engaged in designing a new America, he cherished his little girls & gave them a beautiful life  in every way. Nothing better can be accomplished in a lifetime and that is why I continue to remember Wicks,

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and wonder what that kind of life must be like …

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Life Father, Like Daughter . Ruth Wicks . my grandmother

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Life Father, Like Daughter . Ruth Wicks . my grandmother

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The Class of 1908 . Smith College . Northampton . Massachusetts . Ruth Wicks, Daughter of William S, Wicks . A.B. 08′

Like father, Like daughter …  I really don’t know the significance of all of the Groups my Grandmother Ruth belonged to, and it has been difficult to track, but she was definitely tuned into the ‘Smith” culture and a member of: Junior Usher, Basketball Team, G. & F. A, A-O-H, Omega, Pledges and Golf Team and the Biological Society.

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Ruth, Second from right, Golf Team, 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1907

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Ruth, Second from right, middle row, Basketball Team

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We never know what’s ahead … Remembering Ruth and her calm, dignified & down to earth demeanor

when I was so young, and she was so old, the charmed life of her youth just a memory.

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Architects’ and Builders Magazine’ . Green & Wicks . 1902

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Green & Wicks . Buffalo . New York . Private Residence Homes . Architects and Builders Magazine . 1902 – 1903

I found the timeline below on the Parkside Community website & it took a little while to find information on private residential homes that were designed by the Green & Wicks firm. I am guessing the homes included here were/are a part of the Parkside community. I haven’t looked into the actual street addresses or viability of the homes. But it is nice to have a visual record of some of the homes that were designed by the Green & Wicks firm.

1897

William Sydney Wicks, a prominent architect and a partner of E.B. Green, built his house on the southwest corner of Jewett and Summit. The third floor of Wicks’ eclectic, Tudor-style house was designed to be a ballroom to entertain his guests. Wicks and Green ultimately designed about a dozen other houses in Parkside, as well as a number of landmark buildings in the City including the Market Arcade Building downtown, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery on the west side of Delaware Park, and distinctive gold-domed Buffalo Savings Bank (now a branch of M&T Bank). That year, the bear pits were constructed at the Buffalo Zoo.

(Courtesy of the Parkside Community website.)

The information to follow was found in:

“Architects’ and Builders’ Magazine”, Devoted to the Interests of Architecture, Building and Engineering . established 1882 . Vol. IV . October, 1902 – September, 1903 . Old Series, 747-758 . New York . William T. Comstock . 23 Warren Street

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Residence, Mrs. G.O. Howard, Buffalo, New York

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Residence, Gro, Edward Hayes, Buffalo, New York

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Residence, Mr. G.S. Utley, Buffalo, New York

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Residence, Mr. S.P. Aspinwall, Buffalo, New York

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Residence, Mrs. W.E. Price, Buffalo, New York

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Club House, Otowega Club, Buffalo, New York

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Residence of Geo. V. Forman, Buffalo, New York

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Entrance Enlarged.

The cover page and index of the “Architects’ and Builders” Magazine & Index to Volume IV is included on the slide show above. There are eleven Green & Wicks buildings included in this issue – not too shabby.

Construction of these homes must have been underway during the time that the Green & Wicks Pan Am Expo Machinery and Electricity Buildings were being designed and built.

Meanwhile the Albright Art Gallery is thoroughly underway and will be completed in 2 more years.

I believe Wicks was still President of the Otowego Club (pictured above), Vice President of the Red Jacket Golf Club, an American Institute of Architects Fellow and Charter Member of the Adirondack League Club.

By this time he had  designed and built his Adirondack Cottage, Rabbitwild and had written two books – “Log Cabins and Cottages-How to Build and Furnish Them” and “Rabbitwild” … the unpublished book written for his daughter Ruth and my Grandmother, this Blog includes some entries from this beautifully sweet book.

As busy as our lives seem now, most of us are not designing World’s Fair buildings, banks, churches, art museums, bridges, commerce buildings & entire architectural content for neighborhoods. We are more than likely not Presidents, Vice Presidents and Charter Members of Land Preservation societies, Commissioners of Parks or Life Members of Historical & Fine Arts Academies. We are probably not building a trout hatchery, designing and building a cottage in the woods, and writing books about the process, and one of them for one of our children.

Most of us are probably not doing that.

That is why I am Remembering Wicks

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and honoring the life he lived so, very, well.

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