Students help restore historic home in South Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Each week, Erie Community College students spend hours hammering, drilling, and working on bringing a piece of Buffalo’s history back to life.

“We’re still in the process of stabilizing and doing a lot of the structural work,” said Andrew Sako, ECC Department Chair of Building Trades program.

“We learn how to nail things, how to hammer correctly, how to just apply what we learn in the class,” said Jennifer Mack, student.

The house on 49 Buffum Street has stood in South Buffalo for nearly two centuries, A farmer named Horace Buffum built it in 1854, in an area settled by the Seneca Nation of Indians in the 1700s.

“There are stories of Native Americans coming to the window and knocking on the window, and they were amazed at this new structure that was here,” said Assemblyman Mickey Kearns.

In 2008, a massive fire nearly took out the historic home. It was slated for demolition, until passionate community leaders stepped in to save it.

“This is the last property that has not been demolished we’ve lost all our other landmarks so by saving this it’s very very important,” said Kearns.

Restoration of the Buffum House has been an ongoing project for the past 5 years. Several groups of students and volunteers have put time into rescuing the home and learning about it’s history at the same time.

“Every time we open up a wall or do something a little different it really creates a learning experience for each of the student,” said Sako.

When it’s all said and done the Buffum house will have a tribute room honoring the history of the Seneca Nation of Indians as well as a South Buffalo History Resource Center.

Students expect to have home restoration finished within the next year. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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