A Buck Saves Historic House From Demolition

April 13, 2011 Updated Apr 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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April 13, 2011 Updated Apr 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM EDT

They are calling it "Little House on the Urban Prairie". Even though Ma and Pa are not working on the farm, the area was once an open area occupied by this small cottage owned by John Lyth.

"Lyth Cottage was built by the Lyth family in the 1800's and it's been owned by the city since 1997. It's been available for a dollar and East Aurora resident Matt Newton stepped forward to purchase it," Buffalo History Blogger David Torke said.

Newton paid the city a buck for the house and pledged to bring the historic building up to code and live in it for at least five years. This is all part of the "Buffalo Homestead Program" that helps to save distressed, tax foreclosed homes from demolition in the Hamlin Park Historic District on the city's East Side.

"Lots of people have been pushing buffalo to where they want it to be so I'm doing nothing new but I'm glad to be a part of it," Newton said.

Tim Tielman with the Campaign for Greater Buffalo said it would help grow the area.

"What they wanted to do is look at the history here, capture it, use it as a basis for economic development. This is a very successful example," Tielman said.

The Lyth Cottage is the one of the oldest structures in Hamlin Park. Lyth himself in 1886 built it. Lyth also owned the surrounding land and other property. It is on that land that he started a business making Terra Cotta tiles, a unique brick much like cinder blocks.

Lyth's great-great-great grandson John Lyth was at the ceremony, Wednesday.

"I have fond memories of this property as a child and my father was extremely interested in this property having lived here himself. So the legacy that lives on through this house and this project is extremely important to our family," Lyth said.

The groups hope to come back here in about a year to celebrate the completion of the renovation and the preservation of a historic Buffalo site.