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State Grant to Restore Historic House

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Efforts are underway to transform the oldest structure in Buffalo into a tourist attraction.

The Coit House was built in 1813 by George Coit after the British burned the city of Buffalo during the War of 1812. The house was moved in the 1870s to its current location at Virginia and Elmwood in the historic Allentown district.

Monday, State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt delivered a $50,000 grant from the Restore New York Program. Hoyt says George Coit was instrumental in the establishment of the Buffalo Harbor that lead to the Erie Canal. He says now it's time to complete restoration of the historic Coit site.

"I strongly believe that investing in historic sites like the Coit House, investing in architectural and cultural tourism, could result in the rebirth of this great city long into the future," Hoyt said.

For years, the Coit House was slated for demolition, but the Allentown Association spearheaded restoration. Jonathan White, chair of the restoration committee, says exterior work is underway and the grant will allow for completion.

"What this grant is going to do is make sure this property, which has been here now for 188 years, is going to be assured that it will be stable and given a life into the next century," White said.

White says the home will be transformed into a tourist attraction. A funding campaign continues for interior restoration estimated at $250,000.

"We hope to begin final phases of interior restoration in 2003 so that within a couple of years this project is finished so we can begin to welcome tourists," White continued.

The Allentown Association says it will create a state of the art historic museum to draw tourists to the queen city.