The George Williams House was designed in 1899 by architects Charles Follen McKim (1847–1909), William Rutherford Mead (1846–1928), and Stanford White (1853-1906). Stanford White acted as the main architect on the project. This was one of the last houses he designed before he was murdered by Harry K. Thaw in New York City in June 1906.
The Neoclassical home was built for George L. Williams and his wife, Annie. Williams was a successful banker with the Erie County Savings Bank and later went on to serve on the boards of the Buffalo Historical Society, the Pan-American Exposition, and the Buffalo Public Library. The Aaron Rumsey house was previously located on the site and was demolished to make way for this mansion.
After six years of living in the property, Williams and his family sold the mansion to Edward H. Butler (1850–1914), publisher of The Buffalo Evening News, in 1905. Members of the Butler family lived in the house until 1974, when it was sold to the William C. Baird Foundation and then subsequently given to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
In 1979, Delaware North Companies bought the house and the adjoining property on North Street, the Metcalfe House. In 1990, Delaware North sold the building to Varity Corp to serve as its world headquarters. Varity Corp was acquired by a Cleveland Company and, in 1999, the building was again acquired by Delaware North Companies. The company’s CEO deeded the building to the State University of New York at Buffalo and it was renamed the Jacobs Executive Development Center.