Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion

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Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion
Sylvester Willard Mansion May 09.jpg
Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion
Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion is located in New York
Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion
Location 203 W. Genesee St., Auburn, New York
Coordinates 42°55′39″N 76°34′30″W / 42.92750°N 76.57500°W / 42.92750; -76.57500Coordinates: 42°55′39″N 76°34′30″W / 42.92750°N 76.57500°W / 42.92750; -76.57500
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1836
Architect Louis Comfort Tiffany (consultant)
Architectural style Greek Revival, Classical Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 89001948[1]
Added to NRHP November 13, 1989

Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion, also known as the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, is a historic mansion and related outbuildings located in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York state.


The Willard Mansion is a monumental Greek Revival style style brick mansion, originally built in 1836-1843 by Dr. Sylvester Willard. It had Classical Revival wings added in the late 19th century. It is a two story, five bay, center hall building, resting on a stone foundation.

The front facade features a monumental Greek Revival pedimented portico with massive fluted Ionic columns. A large dining wing and small palazzo-like wing was added to the main block in the 1870s-1880s. The interior features a rare example of a Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company domestic window added about 1894-1896.

The property also includes an ornate, late 19th century cast iron fence with stone pillars, and an elaborate wrought iron garden gate with cast iron embeleshments. The gardens include a small collection of classically inspired garden furniture.

Cinema research[edit]

In 1916, the Willard Mansion was acquired by Theodore Willard "Theo" Case (1888–1944). He converted several outbuildings to pursue his cinema technology research projects.

  • a former 19th century carriage house, converted into an experimental movie studio.
  • a former 19th century greenhouse, converted in 1916 to the Case Research Laboratory, to support his research into sound-on-film technology.

Theo Case was an American physicist and inventor known for the invention of the Movietone optical sound-on-film method for sound films ("talkies").


The property is now houses the Cayuga County Museum of History and Art and Case Research Lab.[2] It is a historic house museum, with collections of fine art and local history, and a cinema museum presenting the work of Theo Case.

The Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[1]


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