Outside the House The Grounds Inside the House More Inside

outside front gate

outside front gate

History of Ontario County
    NY, Conover & Aldrich, pub 1893, pg 491 - 493
Henry Livingston [Lansing], was born in Rome, N. Y., in the year 1818. He was educated for a business career, and on leaving school engaged in the mercantile business at Utica. In 1836 he accepted an offer of a clerkship in the Ontario Bank at Canandaigua, N. Y., an institution in which his paternal and maternal grandfathers were large stockholders, and in the year 1838 married Catherine Olivia, daughter of Henry B. Gibson, cashier and manager of that bank.

Mr. Lansing remained in the bank with his father-in-law for a number of years, and then went with his family to Detroit, Mich., where he accepted the cashiership of the bank called "The Michigan Insurance." Remaining only a year or so in this bank Mr. Lansing was called to the cashiership of the Oliver Lee & Company Bank, Buffalo, N. Y., which institution he remained in as cashier, and afterwards as president, until the bank was forced, in the great panic of 1857, to shut its doors.

Some time after the failure of the bank, Mr. Lansing accepted the office of treasurer and secretary of the Buffalo and Erie Railroad, with its office at Buffalo. This position he held for a number of years, filling the office with great acceptability to the directors of the company. Resigning his office, Mr. Lansing, about the year 1873, purchased a charming country place at Niagara, Ontario, and there he passed his summers until the time of his death in 1889.

Continue reading from History of Ontario County

Continue reading about the move to Woodlawn

front from pool


The Move from Buffalo
The Second Empire style of architecture was popular in the United States between 1855 and 1885. It boasted high mansard roofs and a magnificence of style, something the Lansing family would have been familiar with from Buffalo.

Henry Lansing was last identified as Secretary/Treasurer of the Buffalo and Erie Railroad, according to the Buffalo directories, in 1869 when he was 51 years old. His home in Buffalo was on the prestigious Delaware Avenue, beside the large Johnson property that had become a school for girls. The Lansings had been in the Buffalo house since 1849. And while Buffalo had been home to the family for over twenty years, they were still heavily tied to the city of Canandaigua where Catharine had been raised. Her mother, Sarah Sherman Gibson, still lived in the former Ontario Bank building, Catharine's father having been cashier of the bank (as well as president of two railroads, and on the Board of Directors for the first year of existence of the New York Central).

Catharine's father, Henry B. Gibson, had died in 1863, one of the richest men in western New York. In the 1870 census, his widow still showed a personal estate of $120,000. In 1841 Catharine's sister Sarah Maria had married Watts Sherman, her first cousin (both Watts and Sarah Maria were grandchildren of the first Watts Sherman), and a book on the Sherman family notes that Sarah Maria brought with her a quarter million dollars.

Sarah Maria
Sarah Maria Gibson Sherman and Watts Sherman

In 1876, William Watts Sherman, the nephew of the Lansings and the son of Sarah Maria and Watts, built a house in Newport RI. Today it is considered the first example of Queen Anne architecture in the United States.

WWS House
William Watts Sherman House, Newport RI
Virtual Tour
Ground floor layout

With this as a backdrop, the Lansings purchased the home they called Woodlawn from the Dicksons in 1873 for $18,000, a good price in those days, and the summer house shows in the Buffalo directory for that year, along with their 274 Delaware Avenue address. In 1875, however, Henry L. Lansing disappears from the Buffalo directory altogether. The family has moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The eventual move to Woodlawn took from the 25th of October to the 4th of November, with James Craise and Samuel Courtney moving 30,000 pounds of household effects for them by wagon.

With Woodlawn as their only home, it needed to be a place where their large extended family could live. Two of the sons, Charles and Livingston, were already married and had brought their families to live with the Lansings in the Buffalo house in the 1870 census. When the Lansings moved from Buffalo, son Livingston had to find his own place, but they would have certainly expected him to bring his family for long visits. The advantage of the Mansard style of architecture for the Woodlawn house was that the almost vertical roof line provided a much larger living space in the same footprint space of the house.

"Lansing was responsible for extensive additions to the house and it is considered likely that he added the third floor to the structure. By the 1880ís the roof had been changed to the present mansard form and the 1880 tower addition extended to become a belvedere."
[Niagara Historical Society and Museum]

Continue reading about the house


A Style From the 19th Century
A primer on the Second Empire style of architecture shows an example, and describes some elements that can be easily seen in Randwood, retained from its days as Woodlawn, and some elements that have disappeared in subsequent remodelings.

The mansard roof and projecting dormer windows are still there, as is the cupola or bellvoire. The roof tiles also show the decorative style.

The front porch has been massively changed, and better integrates into the brick house. The second empire style often included paired classical columns holding up a porch. These were taken off and replaced by squared brick supports in the front of the house. The porch on the left side of the house was enclosed, and a back enclosed porch also added.

The removed columns were turned into pilasters for the front left room.

The tall windows on the first floor provide a reminder of the earlier style.

Continue reading about the Lansing family and their genealogy

front lions

exterior front door

left lion

right lion

wrap around porch

porch from right


The Lansing Family and Their Genealogy
Brig. Gen. Henry Livingston Lansing
(15 Jan 1818, Rome NY - 30 Sep 1889, Canandaigua NY)
    (brother Brig. Gen. Henry Seymour Lansing)
    (son Barent Bleecker Lansing and Sarah Breese)
    (grandson Col. Gerrit G. Lansing and Manette Antill)
    (grandson Arthur Breese and Catharine Livingston)
    (greatgrandson Major Henry Livingston and Sarah Welles)
    (greatgrandson Col. Samuel Breese and Elizabeth Anderson)
    (greatgrandson Col. Edward Antill and Charlotte Riverin)
    (greatgrandson Gerrit Jacob Lansing and Jannetje Waters)
    (g2grandson Sydney Breese and Elizabeth Penkethman)
    (g2grandson Edward Antill and Anne Morris)
    (g2grandson Jacob Gerrit Lansing and Helena Glen)
    (g2grandson Henry Livingston, Sr. and Susannah Conklin)
    (g3grandson Gov. Lewis Morris and Isabella Graham)
    (g3grandson Rev. Dr. Noah Welles and Abigail Woolsey)
    (g3grandson Gilbert Livingston and Cornelia Beekman)
    (g4grandson Robert Livingston, 1st Lord and Alida Schuyler
    (g4grandson Rev. Benjamin Woolsey and Abigail Taylor
    (g4grandson Hendrick Beekman and Joanna Lopers
    (g5grandson Sander Leendertse Glen and Catalyn Dongan)
    (g5grandson Rev. John Livingston and Janet Fleming
    (g5grandson Col. Philip Schuyler and Margaretta van Slichtenhorst
    (g5grandson Mayor Wilhelmus Beekman and Catalina de Boogh

+ (28 Feb 1820, NYC - 25 Oct 1897, Canandaigua NY)
Catharine Gibson
(21 Nov 1683, Albany NY - 25 Oct 1897, Canandaigua NY)
    (dau Henry B. Gibson and Sarah Sherman
    (granddau Watts Sherman and Olivia Jillson
    (greatgranddau Col. Henry Bicker and Sophia Heyer)
    (g3granddau Capt. Martin Cregier and Elizabeth Jans)

Henry Gibson Lansing
(17 Feb 1840, - 30 May 1870)

Captain Livingston Lansing
(23 May 1841, Canandaigua NY - Aft. 7 Dec 1910)
    + (31 Dec 1868, Buffalo NY)
    Grace Cleveland Coxe
    (27 July 1842, CT - 27 May 1895)

Charles Miller Lansing
(27 Jun 1843 - 14 Jul 1884)
    + (1 Sep 1869)
    Eliza Myra Goodrich
    (bap:7 Nov 1839, Buffalo NY)

Sarah Lansing
(17 Aug 1846, Utica NY - 11 Feb 1877, Buffalo NY)
    + (4 Sep 1867, Buffalo NY)
    Brig. Gen. Henry L. Burnett
    (26 Dec 1838, Youngstown OH - 4 Jan 1916, NYC)

Watts Sherman Lansing
(b:17 Sept 1850)
    + (21 Jul 1877)
    Agnes Maud Henrietta Watt
    (b:1855, Ontario Canada)

    + (20 Oct 1890)
    Julia M. Watt
    (b:1851, Ontario Canada)

Continue reading about the owners Woodlawn/Randwood

Side of Randwood
side near front


roof details

Back of Randwood
back from far left

back from left

back straight on

back from right

The Multiple Owners of Woodlawn/Randwood
After the Dickson estate was sold to the Lansings, it stayed in the Lansing family from 1874 to 1908.

Sometime after Henry Lansing's death in 1889, Watts Sherman Lansing lived in the house, his mother spending most of her time in her home in Canandaigua NY.

When Watts chose to build his own home in Niagara-on-the-Lake, his niece Katherine, the daughter of Livingston Lansing and Grace Coxe, moved into the house with her husband, Col. James Fraser MacDonald. Katherine died in July of 1908 and, in 1909, Col. MacDonald sold the property (then 50 acres) to George Rand. Rand, a Buffalo bank president like Henry Livingston, renamed the property Randwood.

From the Niagara Historical Society & Museum
According to newspaper articles of the time [14 Oct 1910, The Times], Rand began immediately renovating the property, adding a new outside wall and stables, as well as the first large pool in town. In 1919, his renovations are described [22 May 1919, The Times] as including a lily pond and the lovely, long curved driveway. To create the network of driveways on the property, he ordered in 10 cars of stone. His additions included adding space to the right of the main entrance, and to the rear of the house, including the sunroom.

Rand built two cottages on the property for employees, as well as a barn and clubhouse on Charlotte Street. In 1919 he also purchased the adjoining property from Mrs. Lewis, razed the existing stone house, and put up a new one for his daughter Evelyn, who had married Lt. Col. H. B. Sheets of the U.S. Marines.

1976 radio program at Randwood

Continue visiting the grounds of Woodlawn/Randwood

Intermediate Lansing owner of Woodlawn, St. Mark's Cemetery
Watts Lansing

Last Lansing owner of Woodlawn, St. Mark's Cemetery
Last Lansing owner

1916 Randwood Party
1916 party

Outside the House The Grounds Inside the House More Inside

empty Family Tree
emptyFamily Tree

Henry L. Burnett
Brig. Gen.
Henry L. Burnett

Henry Livingston Lansing
Brig. Gen.
Henry L. Lansing

Henry B. Gibson

NJ Governor
Lewis Morris


Henry Livingston
Night Before Xmas
Henry Livingston

George Bush

Bradley Van Deusen

Jean Van Deusen


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