This brick mansion was constructed between 1851 and 1853. The house is a unique Allentown example of a cross-gable bracketed Italian villa, one of only a handful found in all of Buffalo today. The mansion’s design was inspired by the irregularly massed farmhouses found in Campagna, Italy. During the mid-nineteenth century, this area of Buffalo was populated by Buffalo’s elite. Originally, the mansion resided on grounds that extended from Franklin Street to North Pearl Street, where its stables were located. Its private grounds also included a large, manicured lawn north of the house (the area now known as Sisti Park).
During its estate period from the mid-1850s through the late 1880s, the mansion was owned by several prominent Buffalo families. The home was built by dry goods merchant Orrin B. Titus who lived there with his family from 1854 until 1862. From 1862 until 1873, the mansion was owned by Colonel William C. Young (1799–1893). Young was a civil engineer of railroad technology and a surveyor for the Erie Canal. From 1873 until 1884, the mansion was owned by Charles S. Clarke, the principal of Clarke, Holland and Company, a leader in Buffalo’s wood-planing business. In 1884, the house was sold to Herman H. Grau, an owner of Phoenix Brewery, located nearby at the southwest corner of Washington and Virginia Streets. The house was purchased in 1888 by attorney Lewis Stockton (1815–1974) and his family. The Stocktons lived in the mansion for three decades.
During the Great Depression, 561 Franklin was converted to apartments, like many large dwellings in that area of the city. In 1980, 561 Franklin was purchased by John and Helen Dempsey and since that time has been used as offices for their law firm, Dempsey & Dempsey.
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