Editors note: Stephen Merrell Clement, III shares his thoughts on behalf of his family regarding Mr. John Yurtchuk's purchase and pending donation of the of the 786 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo home his great-grandmother, Carolyn Tripp Clement, donated to the Red Cross in 1941, and it's current use as home of both our Western New York Chapter and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra:
|786 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo|
The recent news about "786," the former home of Carolyn Tripp Clement, is exciting indeed. As a Clement Trustee of the Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, I have followed closely the real estate transactions which have culminated in today's announcement. I have communicated with over fifty relatives and descendants of our great grandmother. One cousin put it very well: "It sounds like a complete win-win-win for the Philharmonic, the Red Cross and for the family."
The Clement family has always referred to the Delaware Avenue property as "786." Carolyn Jewett Tripp, born in Buffalo in 1861, grew up in a house on the Red Cross site, and in 1884 married a young man who had grown up across the street. Stephen Merrell Clement lived at 727 Delaware Avenue. The young couple quickly produced a family of six children, and lived in a large house at the corner of Summer Street and Oakland Place. Around 1910 they commissioned Buffalo's most prominent architect, Edward B. Green, to design a new Clement home on the old Tripp property. The most important feature in the house was the Music Room, reflecting Carolyn's life long interest in music, which she had studied in Paris for a year before her marriage. The two storey space housed a pipe organ, two grand pianos, a harp, storage space for instruments, and two racks for hymn books. The Music Room was used for family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, for debutante parties and weddings, and funerals. Sadly Stephen M. Clement was laid out there for viewing after his funeral at Westminster Church. President of the Marine Trust Company, he died in 1912 of congestive heart failure before spending a night in his new house.
|Stephen Merrell Clement, III, in front of a|
portrait of his great-grandmother,
Carolyn Tripp Clement.
For nearly thirty years Carolyn lived at "786," filling her home with family and friends, and music. Family lore depicts Carolyn and her sister Emma Tripp Frost in the Music Room at the nested dual grand pianos. They were playing into the night by ear tunes they had just heard at the old Erlanger Theatre. Composers included Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan. Sunday evenings were marked by Hymn Sings, with the youngest child present choosing the first hymn.
Carolyn's "musical gene" was passed on to many Clements. Her four sons played banjos, mandolins and guitars, and at college some sang with the Yale Glee Club and the Whiffenpoofs. Their wives were often good singers, and especially song writers, and her birthday on July 19 was marked by clever lyrics to popular songs. An important part of family history, these songs can be sung by heart by many of Carolyn's great grandchildren today...
"It sounds like a complete win-win-win for the Philharmonic, the Red Cross, and the family."
--Stephen Merrell Clement, III