A nearly 200-year-old home that once was home to East Aurora’s first physician in the Upper Village area along East Main Street may not look historically significant, but it is rich in local lore.
That hasn’t been lost on the Mandala School, which now owns the home at 738 Main St. and operates its program there. The school is seeking local historical landmark status from the village in hopes of helping ensure that the home will be restored in the future.
If that happens, the home would become the second house in East Aurora with local landmark status, the first one being at 73 Center St.
The Main Street home, known as the home of Dr. Jabez Allen, the first physician and pharmacist in the Upper Village, was built in 1824 by Lemuel Spooner.
A leading merchant in town, Joseph Howard, first lived there but then generations of the Allen family lived there for 120 years.
Even though the building has gone through many changes, John E. Newton, director of the Mandala School, feels its history merits local landmark designation, which eventually could help it secure grants that may lead to its restoration and further spur more local historic designations among older homes on East Main.
“It would be nice to have our place looking really nice and would help the whole East Main neighborhood,” Newton said Friday.
“I really want to encourage other people who have historic homes in East Aurora to have landmark status. I’ve always been interested in preservation, and because the school sits on historical property, it could spur other homeowners to seek local landmark designation.”
The village’s Historic Preservation Commission, of which Newton is a member, backs the request and forwarded it to the Village Board, which will consider it during its Monday meeting.
The Greek Revival-style home has a stone foundation, about 2,600 square feet of space and post, beam and plank walls. Its interior rooms basically remain just as they were 150 years ago, Newton said.
Dr. Allen bought the home in 1843 and even had his own drugstore on the southwest corner of the lot, though that structure is no longer there. The drugstore was a predecessor of the current Larwood Pharmacy.
East Aurora’s first cemetery was in the side yard. And its next-door neighbors were famous – Nathaniel and Eunice Fillmore, father and stepmother of Millard Fillmore, lived next door. The Fillmore and Allen families were good friends.
Some of the changes the home underwent include an 1890s Victorian makeover.
Historic Preservation Commission Chairman Mark W. Warren supports the home receiving landmark status, given its history.
“Aluminum siding detracts from its historic character, but befitting its historic origins, the property owner wishes to restore some of that historic character,” Warren wrote in a Dec. 11 memo to the Village Board. “This designation may facilitate such efforts and will better assure continuing protection of this historic resource.”
Before the Mandala School bought the home in 2010, it had served as the Oubre photography studio for more than 30 years.