William G. Fargo

William G. Fargo mansion, 1872

William G. Fargo mansion, 1872

The William G. Fargo mansion at 51 Niagara was adjacent to what is now the D’Youville campus (Fargo Avenue is named after William Fargo).  Fargo was born May 20, 1818 in Pompey, New York, and “commenced life financially at the bottom of the ladder,”¹  working as a grocery clerk and express messenger.  In 1851, he started Wells Fargo and Company with Henry Wells.  He served as mayor of Buffalo, 1862-1866, and from 1868 to his death in 1881, was president of American Express.

Fargo built his mansion in 1872; it was demolished a mere 29 years later in 1901.  At over 20,000 square feet, the home was expensive to maintain.  Fargo’s wife died in 1890 and the house was vacant thereafter.  In today’s dollars, it is estimated to have cost almost $10 million to build and furnish the home.

For more information and interior images on the William G. Fargo mansion, visit the Western New York Heritage.


1 “Close of a Busy Career,” The New York Times, August 4, 1881.
2 “Fargo Estate: Then and Now,” Western New York Heritage
3 Image of Fargo home, D’Youville College Archives, Picture Gallery: A02.