Tag Archives: wicks

Adirondack Express

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Adirondack Express.

I love this article and the fact that the public is invited into the sanctity and sanctuary of the beloved League (albeit pricey) in my humble opinion.  But, I think there is a bit of an omission & because so much time has passed, completely understandable. But, I for one, Remember Wicks, and the beginning of it all.

The Original:

mountain-lodge-1894

William S Wicks was actually the first Professionally trained, Cornell & MIT, Architect who designed the original Mountain Lodge that was destroyed by fire with the replacement designed by Shepard. Many of the “small” camps were designed by Wicks, who, along with a band of preservationists purchased 100,000 acres of the Adirondack wilderness in an effort to preserve its beauty from exploitation. I believe many of Wicks designed camps are among the originals still standing today and it is the Wicks “Camp” who orchestrated the beginning and existence of the Adirondack League Club. Wicks is best known for his designs within the Buffalo, New York region and as partner of Green & Wicks, architects of the Albright Knox Gallery.

Remembering Wicks,

wicks 1890

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Rubble Manor . Barneveld . The Wicks Years . End 1919

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These photos of Rubble Manor are from the family archived collection of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann, Great Granddaughter of Architect, William S. Wicks of the Turn of the Century, Green & Wicks Architectural Firm in Buffalo, New York. Curiously, the photos are predominantly taken from angles other than the front of the house. The landscaping does not look like there is mature growth, so these photos may have been taken when the home was newly purchased, even though it is reported that the home was built between 1801 and 1809, so there would have been ample time for planned landscaping.

Wicks married Emma Egert Griffith in 1882 and she may have been from this area. If Wicks purchased the home in 1884 he would have been 30 years old. It would be the same year that his father died and daughter Ruth was born. Since Ruth was born in Trenton, now known as Barneveld, my guess is that the purchase took place around this time, if not sooner.

The history of Rubble Manor, Wicks summer home is available in bits and pieces, here, there and everywhere. Here is a brief and succinct synopsis of Barneveld, found on the “Oneida County Historical Society” website, and a little background on the beginning life of Rubble Manor, otherwise known as Mappa Hall outside of the time that Wicks owned the property:

Barneveld – The Village of Barneveld had  its beginnings in 1793 when Gerrit Boon, an agent of the Holland Land Company,  marked a trail through the forest north from Fort Schuyler. Arriving at the  junction of the Steuben and Cincinnati Creeks, he pitched his tent, and soon  began the settlement. He named it Olden Barneveldt in honor of Dutch Patriot,  John of Olden Barneveldt in Holland. Boon was later succeeded by Col. Adam  Gerard Mappa who constructed a beautiful stone mansion, of Trenton limestone  drawn from the nearby quarries, on the same site. It was known then and today  as Mappa Hall. The village of Olden Barneveldt was incorporated in 1819. In  1975, by a village vote of 88 to 49 the village name was changed to Barneveld.

Mappa_Hall,_Front_View[1]

Contemporary Photo of Mappa Hall Courtesy of the Wikipedia website

I have dozens of postcards to and from Ruth, Wicks and her mother using the Rubble Manor address, with most being mailed around 1909. The home would have been a hundred years old at this point  and the subsequent photos reflect mature landscaping. The large urn shown in the photo provided by Elizabeth was kept at my childhood home in Whitesboro, New York for many years. It had a soft polished pottery finish of moss-green. It was an item chosen by my mother, from her mother’s (Ruth) estate. Eventually she sold it, and it graces someone elses garden now.

I believe a tennis court had been added to the grounds of Mappa Hall, I remember seeing it when I was young …. the gardens looked so inviting, yet forbidden.

Wicks died here, in this home on May 30, 1919 after being ill for several months according to a Buffalo newspaper, at only 63 years old. His wife Emma had died four years ealier, I believe she was only 56 years old.

Ruth was 35 years old and married, my mother was born just 5 months later. I wonder, did he have anyone with him when he was ill and dying? Was he alone?

little ruth

Remembering Wicks & wondering.

(Above photo of Wicks and little Ruth is courtesy of his Great Granddaughter Elizabeth Hopkins wittemann. All rights of original material reserved, no duplication of content is allowed without consent of author.)

The Octagon House . Barneveld . NY . by Jacob Wicks 1852 . Updated

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The Octagon House . 1852 . Barneveld . New York . William S. Wicks’ Boyhood Home

The Photo shown here is Courtesy of a Blog Written

by: The Date Nut

“A catalog of a 28 year old woman’s daily survival in New York City. Oh Yeah, and a lot of random stuff from the web.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Octagon House

My latest obsession is checking the National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s list of historic properties for sale. Some of them are as little as $100. My favorite is the 1852 Octagon House in Barneveld, New York (right near the Adirondack Park!). It’s so lovely. Here’s another photo. I’m definitely going through a phase where I want to just sell all my possessions and move to the country. This seems like the perfect bed and breakfast, no?”

Origin of Photo is from the list of historic properties for sale.

The Octagon house was built in 1852 by Jacob Wicks, father of William S. Wicks, and my Great Grandfather, Architect and partner of Green & Wicks Architectural firm in Buffalo New York. The Octagon House is located at 107 Vanderkamp Avenue, Barneveld, New York.

jacob wicks 1903

Jacob Wicks . Born 1823 . Died 1884 . Father of William S. Wicks

Photo is from the Wicks Family Archives and Courtesy of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann

 Great Great Granddaughter of Jacob Wicks

The Octagon House is across the street from the Old Unitarian Church in Barneveld. When I was young, it was always pointed out to me, but I don’t remember why, other than it was an eclectic curiosity of a house in a very tranquil setting. I just remember my mother saying, “There’s the Octagon House!”

I have been looking for information on the Wicks family, I wonder how many brothers and sisters he had. I have found two sisters so far. Where did the family come from originally, how did they come to Barneveld, what was his profession?

William S. Wicks father was Jacob Wicks born in 1823 and his mother was Mary F. Morse. Jacob built the Octagon House in 1852. William was born in 1854, so I assume Wicks grew up in the Octagon House. His sister Ione was born in Newport, New York where their parents lived before their move to Barneveld.

Wicks returned to Barneveld some years later and purchased the most elegant home in Barneveld, Rubble Manor, on the main street & on what is now called Wicks Ave., just around the corner from the Octagon House.

barneveld home

(Rubble Manor Postcard)

I find that interesting. I wonder if his parents, siblings, cousins, Aunts or Uncles were in Barneveld as well during this time. Jacob lived until 1884 and his mother until 1904 so they were probably home in Barneveld when Wicks was in town.

It seems to me there was a natural proclivity toward form, shape, and the whimsical nature of what architecture could be starting at least with his father, Jacob. Maybe growing up in the interesting shape of an octagon house with its angles, nooks and crannies inspired the mind of a young boy, who became a part of a very small group of the first professionally trained architects in the United States. His final years of formal education were at M.I.T,  the first college in the United States to offer a Professional degree in the discipline of Architecture.

Jacob Wicks was also responsible for creating and eventually building the Barneveld Library shown here:

barneveld library

Remembering Wicks and getting a better understanding of why I have always loved (some) buildings so very much, without knowing why.

a wicks photo

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.

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:

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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.)

Rabbitwild for Sale 1900 & Barneveld for Sale 70 years later …

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Rabbitwild – For Sale – July 1900

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And so, I have found that Wicks was looking for a buyer for Rabbitwild in the July, 1900  issue of “Recreation”.  A nice little article written by Russel Roberts of Barneveld in the “Adirondack Architectural Heritage” Newsletter, Volume 6, Number 2, of December 1997 provides a nice rendering of Rabbitwild as well as great information on the Wicks Adirondack story … but according to the advertisement in “Recreation” Rabbitwild was built in 1897.

I won’t lie – I am stunned by the ad, check it out:

new rw4After 3 years the cottage was for sale at 3/4 of the value? At this time the Green & Wicks Architectural firm was in full throttle with the Buffalo Pan Am Expo developing the Electricity & Machinery Buildings, the Albright Art Gallery, development of the Buffalo Parkside residential community  along with another half-dozen important commissions. Ruth was sixteen years old attending the Elmwood School, also known as the Buffalo Seminary – a private non sectarian girls prep school, I assume with her  little sister Grace, right behind her.

But 3/4 of cost? It all looks rather desperate – it had to be a cash flow problem. It would be interesting to know the outcome of the ad, if the property sold, who purchased it and when the fire occurred.

Years ago when I asked about the loss of the Adirondack property and Rubble Manor in Barneveld, my mother told me that the family was traditionally land rich, but cash poor. But my Grandmother held on to 30 acres, a farm, fish hatchery, lodge and cottage in Barneveld to pass on to her 3 children. She was a conscientious custodian of a property that was left to her to pass on to the family. Ultimately in my lineage, just one member of the family inherited property, my brother and first-born male. My mother could have learned from her mother, but that is history.

Plus, by the evidence of expenditures, Wicks seemed very comfortable spending money (another inherited trait, without the deep resources of the good Wicks name). He must have over extended himself, maintaining three households, private education, social clubs, sports activities, fish hatcheries and European travel take its toll over time … even without the tax structure we endure now.

In truth, my oldest brother did not inherit the property – my mother sold it to him in the 70’s. Maybe she was taking the Wicks cue, I don’t know. She sold my brother 10 acres, including the remnants of the fish hatchery, and a cottage designed by Wicks for $25,000. My brother is 11 years older than me and wanted the property established in his name before the day of his wedding, which he accomplished. He married rather late in life and even though I was young, at the time I did not think I had anything to worry about – a (mistakenly) common theme in my life. I have never seen a more interesting dynamic between my brother and mother before or since. If I were to go into detail, it would be quite embarrassing for him, and that accomplishes nothing.

I was a very young single mother struggling, managing somehow to get my first degree, with designs on a California dreamin’ life and my other brother who is a year younger than brother one, was busy studying for his PhD at Duke University. We didn’t have a chance in all honesty, Brother One never finished college, but how brilliant!

Later in life, the decision by my mother was one she regretted, with a sad ending.  When she died, my mother was returned to Barneveld with a service at the Unitarian Church, which was hauntingly beautiful. Her mother and Grandfather had services at the same historic Unitarian church in Barneveld. She is buried in the Evergreen cemetery in Barneveld with one of her brothers, Singerly, mother Ruth, and Grandfather William S Wicks.

But, the property is beautiful. It takes unwavering dedication to preserve, protect and improve a natural environment that will have its way without the unconditional love and commitment of its custodian which without doubt my brother has accomplished.

I still own a little sliver of the land, but know I will never see it.

We are all getting older, in time the property will be held by the next generation – in whose hands, I wonder? Will more family members become estranged because of it? Yes, I’m pretty sure. We’re good at that.

Remembering Wicks, his good sense and intentions, his mind on the drawing board but his soul in the woods,

papa

This photo of my Grandmother little Ruth Wicks with her father Architect William S Wicks is courtesy of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann, Granddaughter of Grace Wicks, Ruth’s little sister.

(All rights reserved, duplication of content is forbidden without consent of author, owner.)

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

res 16

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

res 17

Residence, Gro, Edward Hayes, Buffalo, New York

res 18

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

res 19

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

res 8

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

res 9

Club House, Otowega Club, Buffalo, New York

res7

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

res 1

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

william s wicks

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

(All rights of original material reserved, no duplication of content is allowed without consent of author.)

When Bridges included Hand Carved Elements & We Noticed . 1901

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

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

buffalo 11

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.)