Ransom Buffalow House
3305 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32205-8503

Ransom Buffalow, 1922

Ransom Buffalow, born in 1861 in North Carolina, was a self-made man with only a seventh-grade education.  He designed his first house, a Victorian gingerbread affair, in 1895 in Graham, Virginia. He then moved about the country—to Seattle, Denver, and Knoxville, then to Jacksonville in 1910. Buffalow was an active man, full of ideas. He never called himself an architect but a “designer-builder.” Most of his work was in the Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods. Nearly all of his work could be called Prairie School; how its influence reached him is unknown.  Perhaps he saw Klutho’s work, or discovered it in publications. Whatever the source, he designed with great care and understanding.

It is ironic that Buffalow never witnessed the completion of his most impressive design, his own residence in the heart of the new Avondale subdivision at the intersection of Riverside and Avondale Avenues. Begun in early 1922, the residence displayed the essence of Buffalow's style, derived from the Prairie School, and capitalized on the distinctive site by having main entrances on both Riverside Avenue and Avondale Avenue. Upon Buffalow’s death in August, 1922, the house was completed by his son Luther, who lived here for the next fifty-seven years. Highlights of the facade include tapered porch piers with rectilinear ornamentation, a clever porte-cochere design, two types of Prairie-style planters, large roof overhangs, and a terrace connecting the two entrance porches. This is probably the final building constructed in Jacksonville that was fully dedicated to the Prairie School.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 as part of the Avondale Historic District.

Photos by Wayne W. Wood.

• Broward, Robert C.: The Architecture of Henry John Klutho: The Prairie School in Jacksonville. Jacksonville, Florida: The Jacksonville Historical Society, 2003.
• Wood, Wayne W.: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage: Landmarks for the Future. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 1996.





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