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A piece of history for sale: George Urban’s mansion is on the market

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Growing up in Western New York, it’s been heard it a hundred times: a reference to George Urban Boulevard. There really was a George Urban decades ago, and his mansion is for sale today. The first real estate open house is Sunday, June 30.

Local history oozes from its wood-paneled corridors, custom cubbies and intricate chandeliers.

The massive, rambling estate on Pine Ridge Road in Cheektowaga is just steps away from Villa Maria College. The current owners have it listed for $899,900, but it’s not just the price that may determine who owns the estate next. 

Do you have the desire, the drive and the dollars to preserve local history?

George Urban, Jr., was a merchant, a financier and a businessman who had a fascination with electricity and a friendship with Thomas Edison. His family owned the first roller flour mill in Buffalo and he was also the first in Buffalo to use electricity to power a flour mill. 

Urban’s company is credited with establishing Buffalo’s first municipal electric lighting plant with nine streetlights. There is so much more to his legacy, including his association with Mark Twain and Grover Cleveland. It’s believed Cleveland’s presidential bid was launched during a gathering at the Urban Mansion.

Current owners Olivia and Derrick Warburton have lived in the mansion for almost 20 years. On Saturday, they allowed Explore Buffalo to offer tours of the home, which was previously owned by one of Western New York’s most influential citizens.

Olivia said she’d like to see it go to someone who will love it like they did.

She and Derrick, the parents of three children, grandparents of four, and the foster parents of perhaps 40 children, are moving toward retirement and admit that the stairs and the upkeep on the house are getting to be too much for them.

Olivia has acted as a protector of the home’s rich history and legacy. She always found the home to be fascinating, having lived behind the property for 16 years before she and Derrick finally purchased it in 2004.

She said something about the house spoke to her when she first entered it – and was soon moved to tears. 

Over the past two decades, Olivia has seen the Urban Mansion host cultural events, travel groups, weddings, showers and lots of children’s activities. She said she will miss spending Christmas there the most, with its holiday lights and colorful decorations.  

Above all, she made it clear that living in this home has been a dream come true for her and her family.

“It’s been a blessing to me,” she said.

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Jacquie Walker is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1983. See more of her work here.

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