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Watson-Curtze Mansion (Harrison F. Watson House)
Though Edward Brodhead Green and his partner William Sydney Wicks were based in Buffalo, their works are found from Maine to Indiana. In the late nineteenth century, Erie's elite favored this firm as well as Alden and Harlow of Pittsburgh. Both firms left a lasting architectural legacy for the city. Green, who trained at Cornell and MIT, enjoyed a long career, outliving his partner Wicks and his son, Edward B. Jr. The firm's classical-inspired buildings are among the finest civic buildings in Scranton, Toledo, Dayton, and Buffalo, as well as Erie.
Green and Wicks also frequently used a Richardsonian Romanesque vocabulary, which is reflected in this house. Built for paper company owner Harrison F. and Carrie Tracy Watson, the two-and-one-half-story rough-hewn ashlar residence has a steeply hipped roof with intersecting gables and fat rounded towers at the east and west corners of the facade. The two central bays are enlivened with asymmetrically placed windows, a circular window, and a recessed second-story porch. A pair of massive, two-story semicircular towers at the north and south corners sets off an elaborate semicircular one-story solarium on the east elevation. The twenty-fourroom mansion is fitted with oak floors, maple and mahogany woodwork, stained glass, and marble fireplaces.
The residence was sold to Frederick Felix Curtze, another Erie industrialist, in 1923, and donated by his family to the Erie School District in 1941. The Erie County Historical Society purchased the property in 2000 and it is now a house museum. The L-shaped stone carriage house was outfitted as a planetarium in 1959.
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