Amherst Designates Curtis Hall on the Daemen Campus as Historic Landmark
Former Coplon Estate, Now Curtis Hall, to Receive Marker Designating it as Amherst Landmark
August 17, 2011
Contact: Mike Andrei
Amherst Historic Preservation
Commission: Ellen Kost
Town of Amherst
The Amherst Historic Preservation Commission has recently begun a program to post markers identifying historic structures within the Town. The former Coplon Mansion, now Curtis Hall on the Daemen campus, is the second building to receive this designation. The Coplon Estate was named a Town historic site in 2007. The Hedstrom Gatehouse, at the corner of Main Street and Getzville Road, was the first to receive a marker.
The Coplon Estate (house, garage, and grounds) is significant under Local Landmark Criteria for its association with the Coplon family and the history of early suburban development in Amherst.
The Coplons were one of western New York's oldest and most prominent Jewish families, involved in many community groups and philanthropic endeavors. Samuel and Rosa Coplon, their three sons and one daughter, emigrated from Lithuania circa. 1880.
Rosa Coplon was deeply interested in the care of the elderly. A local philanthropist and pioneer in the nursing home field, she was a charter member of Buffalo’s original Jewish home for senior citizens and deeply interested in the care of the elderly. Samuel and his sons, David H. and Joseph, founded the 'Walk on Rug' store on Broadway near Fillmore in the early 1900s, and later expanded it into a furniture store.
Joseph and David Coplon purchased part of the Humburch property in 1918; they hired Louis Greenstein to design a house for their family and their parents. The resulting mansion, a double home linked by a living hall and loggia, became the second house on the property. The property also included a deed restriction stating it would be used for residential purposes only for 25 years.
An apartment on the second floor northwest corner of the mansion was intended for Samuel and Rosa Coplon. However, Rosa died after living in the house only one day; Samuel continued to live there. In 1935, the mansion was converted into nine apartments (Coplon Terrace Apartments), four in each wing and one in the connecting hall.
The estate and house were purchased by Daemen College (at the time Rosary Hill College) in 1956 for $95,000. The Coplon mansion was subsequently renovated for student housing; the same company (Siegfried Construction) that built the mansion also renovated it. The building later accommodated classrooms and administrative offices. It was later renamed Curtis Hall in memory of Patricia Curtis, a former vice president for academic affairs and a member of the College’s first graduating class in 1952.
Today, Curtis Hall houses the Daemen College Departments of Psychology, Social Work, Physician Assistant, the Niagara Frontier Consortium and the Center for Sustainable Communities & Civic Engagement.
A local and prolific architect, Louis Greenstein was responsible for designing buildings in various styles, among them 40 North Street, Buffalo (Georgian Revival, 1925), home of Bryant & Stratton Business Institute and the Tapestry Charter School, and 239-241 Lombard Street, Buffalo (1929), a commercial building with Art Deco ornamentation in the center of the Broadway commercial district.