November 28, 2022
Henry and Frank Homelius had an architectural imaginative and prescient suited to Batavia

Henry and Frank Homelius had an architectural imaginative and prescient suited to Batavia

Henry Homelius was born in 1850 in Buffalo, New York, to an immigrant household from Germany.  His father was a carpenter and builder.  When Henry was six years previous, his household moved to Batavia, an up-and-coming metropolis with many prospects. 

Henry attended Batavia Excessive College, however no information present he graduated.  He might not have earned a highschool diploma however what he had was a dedication to succeed.  He spent his evenings finding out books on drafting, structure, and math.  Throughout the daytime, he labored along with his father and different craftsmen. 

With Henry W. Homelius’s work ethic and hands-on expertise, he could be remembered as one of the crucial proficient architects of our time.

In 1874 Henry married Catherine Blenker, a gorgeous statuesque daughter of a widely known tailor.  She gave beginning to a son, Frank H. Homelius, in 1876.  That exact yr appeared pivotal for Henry as a result of he was commissioned to construct a house on a brand new avenue in Batavia referred to as Ellicott Avenue. 

At this time that house will be seen in most of its unique glory with a mansard roof tower and ocular dormer home windows within the Second Empire Model.  It additionally options arches on the entrance porch and two-inch thick double-leaf entrance doorways.  Henry and Ann Emmans are the proud house owners of this house constructed by Henry H. Homelius at 32 Ellicott Avenue.

One other instance of Homelius’ architect is Joe Seidel’s house on 30 Ellicott Avenue, subsequent door to the Emmans’ Homelius house. Each homes are very comparable, simply totally different exteriors.  Seidel’s house was constructed within the Italianate type however had a “Victorian” Inside.  Using old-growth chestnut, oak, and mahogany woods is prevalent all through the house, and the unique horsehair crown moldings and medallions are evident.   As well as, the floorplan structure displays the period.

Henry’s fame flourished, and he was in demand.  He constructed greater than a dozen properties on Ellicott Avenue and Elba, Oakfield, and Corfu. Henry’s properties had been in a category of their very own.  He created the onion-domed tower, massive porches with three pillars on every porch nook.    He constructed palladium arches over smaller porches, bay home windows, and infrequently with pediments above the home windows.  The home windows in his distinctive properties would both be stained glass or leaded glass.  His properties usually featured elaborate fireplaces and window seats.


Henry additionally constructed industrial buildings.  Lots of his buildings had been on Important and Jackson Road. In 1885 Henry constructed a small two-room brick shelter that housed pumps that compelled water from the Tonawanda Creek into the water mains.  In 1893, he was employed to design a entrance for the Water Works constructing to accommodate an influence station.  The distinctive towers had been added in 1906.  The Water Works was renamed the Municipal Constructing.  Through the years, the constructing has been utilized in numerous methods. First, it served as a hearth corridor, then as a restaurant, and for a time, it was the house of the Genesee County Historian.

Within the late 1800s, Henry designed a lot of the faculties in Batavia.  They had been the East, West, Pringle, Lincoln, and Washington faculties.  At this time Reed Eye Associates occupies the historic constructing on Washington Avenue.

Within the ’60s and ’70s, a brand new thought was introduced to town of Batavia.  Sadly, its try and renew town destroyed our downtown historical past.  The historic buildings on Important Road had been erased with a wrecking ball. Many people bear in mind these two phrases with disappointment and remorse, “City Renewal.”  Luckily, a few of his buildings, such because the Each day Information Constructing and The Batavia Instances Constructing, survived.

Nobody would deny that Henry was a gifted architect.   His work was impeccable.  As a businessman, he was thought-about boastful and aggressive.

Henry lived most of his life at 39 and 41 Walnut Road.   In 1889, Henry’s brother Frank died, and in 1899 Henry’s father drowned.  Henry’s household is buried within the historic Batavia Cemetery.

Henry’s son Frank didn’t keep in Batavia however traveled the nation studying about totally different constructing strategies and designs.  He additionally didn’t graduate from highschool.  Nonetheless, in 1905 Frank returned house, and Henry W. Homelius and Son was created with headquarters within the Dellinger constructing on Jackson Road.

Frank was thought-about very handsome and charming. He fell in love with Maud Scoville Hugaboom, a married girl with a younger daughter Eleanor.  The day after her divorce was last, Frank and Maud wed.  Eleanor Homelius went on to be a revered and cherished trainer. As an English trainer, she taught many generations of younger individuals at Batavia Excessive College, an fascinating truth contemplating her stepfather by no means graduated from highschool.

In November 1917, Henry W. Homelius died of most cancers and was buried within the Homelius Plot within the Batavia Cemetery.

Frank, like his father, was a gifted builder, however Frank additionally accomplished many house and constructing renovations.  His first mission after his father’s loss of life was the renovation of the Brisbane Mansion into Batavia’s Metropolis Corridor.  He additionally transformed the Dipson and Atwater properties.  He added an addition to the Richmond Mansion, used because the Kids’s Residence.  Frank additionally constructed the addition to the Richmond Memorial Library by including a kids’s room on the decrease degree of the unique constructing.  This isn’t to be confused with the newer addition within the Nineteen Seventies as the present kids’s room.

He additionally designed St. Anthony’s Group Heart.   Frank’s father had 32 Ellicott Avenue as his proudest accomplishment; Frank would have 39 Ross Road as his.  Frank constructed the 6,000-square-foot house for Frank Thomas of the Thomas Coal Firm. In 1926, it price $125,000 to construct the gorgeous Thomas house.  Frank employed 50 craftsmen from the Batavia Woodworking Firm to work on the development of the home.  The Batavia Woodworking Firm consisted of expert carpenters, bricklayers, masons, and millwrights. These had been the craftsmen that Frank used for his buildings.  When this stunning house immediately, you’ll notice the crimson tile roof.  The horizontal strains of the home recommend the Prairie Model.  Frank constructed many Queen Anne-style properties all through town. You possibly can nonetheless admire these properties on Summit Road and Lewis Avenue.

The Batavia Woodworking Firm turned expert with the designs that represent a Frank Homelius Residence.  They borrowed his strategies and constructed properties that had been referred to as Homelius Design Properties.  These properties will be discovered on Kibbe Avenue, Morton Avenue, South Jackson St., and Ellicott Road.

Frank lived in a bungalow at 35 Richmond Road.  He was identified for his kindness and for being the second Democrat to function mayor within the historical past of Batavia.

The development of MacArthur Stadium’s grandstand, bleachers, and press field in 1939 is taken into account the ultimate design of Frank H. Homelius.

There was one mission that Frank by no means had the chance to finish.  He wished to construct an annex to the Holland Land Workplace Museum.  This would come with a library containing works of historical past about Batavia and Genesee County.

Frank died on November 20, 1941, ending the outstanding period of the proficient craftsmen Henry W. Homelius and Frank W. Homelius.

Images by Howard Owens. High photograph, 30 Ellicott Ave.; center photograph, 32 Ellicott Ave.