Edward Street which, with Trinity, forms the Allentown Preservation District’s southern boundary also marked the southern end of Judge Ebenezer Walden’s vast Allentown land holdings. At the end of the Civil War, a huge exhibition hall was constructed on Edward, between Main and Franklin Street, to house the memorabilia of the war.
During that period there was an explosion of architectural experimentation with form and this hail, although twelve-sided, is an example of the free-thinking Octagonal style with pilasters buttressing each angle of the structure. The building served as the research library for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system.
At 146 Edward Street is the church which is home to the hispanic community on the West Side. The Immaculate Conception Church was built in 1870 and the two-storey structure is a study in American Gothic. All the classic forms of Gothic architecture are simplified to a clean line. A mandala forms the stained glass window framed by quoins which are reflected in form and placement in the arched entryway beneath. Round windows on the second floor are capped by eyebrow arches. Side aisle entrances are double doors crowned by Gothic arched stained glass windows. The brick, lime and Medina sandstone structure rings with the sounds of Spanish hymns on Sunday mornings.
The parsonage of the church at No. 144 Edward is interesting in itself. Constructed in the 1920’s, it demonstrates the exotic direction taken by later forms. The third floor dormers are so steep that they seem Gothic, but they flare almost like the crowns of a pagoda. However, the roof is nothing more than a slate flared Mansard typical of Second Empire. The second storey is marked by the kind of clap-board fill typical of the Stick style. The overhang of one storey above another is indicative of Craftsman influence. In actual form the structure might be viewed as Queen Anne. The conglomeration of style and forms exeplified in the parsonage came to be known as “Free Classic,” which is essentially a term without a definition.
Next to the church at No. 164 is a small Italianate house typical of its period except for the palladian window housed in its front gable-end. The house was home to Miss Frances Folsom, who married her father’s law partner. Her wedding was the first to take place in the White House, and her bridegroom was Grover Cleveland, the President of the United States.
Before you leave Edward Street, take particular notice of No. 180. An exuberant Queen Anne built in 1880, the structure combines fishscale shingle and clapboard with a Medina sandstone porch. The sandstone wraps around a three-storey tower crowned by a witch’s cap and topped by a crocket. The remarkable Art Noveau stained glass transoms which top nearly every window of the house are all original and intact. All the oak woodwork and wainscoting in the house is original, including a massive built-in china cabinet covering a full wall of the dining room. The house is notable not only for its beauty and integrity, but it also exemplifies the remarkable housing value available in Allentown. It was bought for a comparative song just this year by a young couple who were its former tenants. They agree that they could not have found a house of comparable quality any-where else in the city.
No properties were found on this street.