Another Great PAST Event: Touring the Kilmer Mansion on Riverside Drive in Binghamton!!!

Another great Preservation Association of the Southern Tier event touring the Kilmer Mansion on Riverside Drive!

Here are my pictures and some background information from Treasures of the Tier; And Then There Was Oneā€¦ The last of four Riverside mansions is alive and well, and open to the public.

In 1890 many of Binghamton’s wealthiest families lived in palatial mansions just west of the Chenango River on Riverside Drive. At that time four mansions lined the south side of the drive. The first was the residence of prominent industrialist Robert Rose, to the west were the homes of his brother Edward and Willis Sharpe Kilmer. The fourth residence, the one with bronze gargoyle lamps by the front door, was that of Jonas M. Kilmer, father of Willis and president of the Kilmer Swamp Root Company.

Three of the mansions are long gone, but thank God (literally,) Jonas Kilmer’s Mansion was spared when it was purchased in 1950 by Temple Concord for use as a synagogue.

Shortly after the Kilmer estate was sold the Willis Kilmer and Edward Rose mansions were leveled and replaced by an apartment complex. The remaining Rose Mansion was demolished in 1980, this despite its designation as a National Historic Landmark and against strong opposition by the Binghamton community. A vacant overgrown lot is all that remains.

The Kilmer mansions were designed by noted Binghamton architect C. Edward Vosbury. Born in Windsor, New York, Vosbury moved to Binghamton and designed residences for many of this area’s wealthiest families. His designs are typically large and elaborate, sparing no expense on interior finish and detail. Other surviving examples of Vosbury’s work locally are the Roberson Mansion on Front Street and the Binghamton and former Johnson City High Schools.

A large, two and a half story stone structure, the Jonas Kilmer Mansion is distinctive with its variety of gables, turrets, balconies and towers. Constructed in 1898, the cost to build and furnish the residence was reported at the time to be one million dollars.

(Andy Reistetter; 7/15/19; Facebook Post with 30 Pics)