F.W. Caulkins

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Franklin Wellington Caulkins (April 28, 1855 – January 9, 1940) was a prominent architect in Buffalo, New York.[1][2] Between 1876 and 1881, early female professional architect Louise Blanchard Bethune worked in his office and for Richard A. Waite.[3]

Caulkins was born on April 28, 1855 in Hartford, Connecticut to Dr. Russell Caulkins and Jane Whitbeck Caulkins. He worked at the Buffalo office of Milton Beebe in 1875 and set up his own practice in 1878 at the Townsend Block of Main and Swan Streets.[4] Caulklins married Jennie Louise Van Slyke of Rochester, New York in 1878.[4]


In 1878 he designed 69 Symphony Circle for Malcolm J. McNiven. In 1879 he designed 51 Symphony Circle for Mrs. Ira S. Bennett. In 1880 he designed 55 Symphony Circle for Frank Porter. He also designed 741 West Ferry St. for James A. Smith (demolished). In 1881 he designed the (Dr. James P.) White Building from Main Street to Erie Street (replaced in 1906 with a taller White Building though some of the cast iron columns of the earlier building remain on the Erie Street façade). Circa 1880 he designed the Chapin Building (demolished 1926). In the early 1880s he also designed the Austin Building. In 1833 a Unitarian Church was torn down and redesigned by Caulkins from the first floor up and was extended in length along Eagle Street. In 1881 he designed Prospect Avenue Baptist Church additions on the corner of Georgia and Prospect Avenues. In 1882 he designed 415 Franklin Street (the Caulkins House) for himself. He relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1882 before returning to Buffalo in 1885. He had his office in the Chapin Building until 1903. Other projects included a remodel of the Linwood Avenue house on the southeast corner of Linwood and West Ferry; design of the building at 410 Delaware Ave. (demolished in 1966); 430 Delaware Avenue building for Thomas Ramsdell; building at 85 Genesee Street (demolished); State National Bank at 8 Webster Street in North Tonawanda; and the 1888 Maple Street Baptist Mission Church (demolished early 1980s).[4]

Caulkins moved to Missouri in 1903, became a widower in 1905 and then married Gertrude B. Smith. From 1905 he worked in Missouri, Texas and Louisiana until his retirement in 1930. After retiring he lived at the National Elks Home in Bedford, Virginia.

Caulkins died in Bedford in 1940.[4]


  • John F. Kamman Building at 755 Seneca Street (circa 1878)[5]
  • Renovation of the former Unitarian Church building (constructed 1833)by Benjamin Rathbun to build the Austin Building (1880) at 110 Franklin Street altered[4]
  • 1880 Converstion of First Unitarian Church into Title Guarantee Building (also known as the Austin Building or Ticor Building) constructed in 1833 at 110 Franklin St. in Eagle, Buffalo, NY by Benjamin Rathbun. Located in the Joseph Ellicott Historic District, the conversion was carried out after the congregation relocated to a new church and Stephen G. Austin purchased the property in 1880. Caulkins converted the building to offices by adding a third floor and lengthening the building's Eagle Street facade. The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy was housed in the building from 1881 to 1886.[6]
  • Caulkins Building at 85 Genesee Street at the corner of Elliocott (collapsed and demoloished after long period of disrepair)[2]
  • Brick house for W.C. Francis[7]
  • Prospect Avenue Baptist Church (formerly Ninth Street Baptist Church), an 1882 expansion around the original church at 262 Georgia Street, it was constructed in 1868. Built out of pressed brick with brownstone finish[7] part of Buffalo's West Village Historic District[8]
  • O.P. Rainsdell (sp?) double brick with brownstone trimming house on Delaware Street[7]
  • J.M. Richmond House near Ellicott and Seneca Streets[7]


  1. ^ Lost Genesee Block: The Caulkins Building February 21, 2011 by Thomas_Dooney In City, Buffalo Rising
  2. ^ a b [1]
  3. ^ We the Women: Career Firsts of Nineteenth-century America Madeleine B. Stern - 1994
  4. ^ a b c d e "Franklin Wellington Caulkins, Architect," by John H. Conlin in Spring 2007 issue of Western New York Heritage
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ http://www.buffaloah.com/a/franklin/110/index.html
  7. ^ a b c d [3]
  8. ^ Prospect Avenue Baptist Church Buffalo, NY Waymarking.com

Further reading[edit]