Northwest of the Theatre District lies Allentown, the nation’s second-largest historic district. The streets here are lined with one Victorian structure after another, with all styles represented. Many now house restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and antique shops.
Allentown is roughly bounded by Main Street to the east, Edward Street to the south, North Street to the north, and Cottage and Pennsylvania Streets to the west. Through its center runs Allen Street and Virginia Street.
Among the district’s foremost architectural treasures are the typically middle-class Tifft Houses (Allen St. between Park and Irving Pl.); the extravagant Williams-Butler Mansion (672 Delaware Ave.), now housing the Jacobs Executive Development Center; and the Wilcox Mansion.
Samuel Clemens, a.k.a. Mark Twain, once lived at 472 Delaware Avenue, and F. Scott Fitzgerald spent part of his childhood at 29 Irving Place.
Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt was formally inaugurated in the stately Wilcox Mansion (641 Delaware Ave., between North and Allen Sts., 716/884-0095, tours 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun., adults $10, seniors and students $7, children 6–18 $5) in 1901 after the assassination of President McKinley. “It is a dreadful thing to come into the Presidency this way,” wrote the pragmatic Roosevelt shortly after the event, “but it would be far worse to be morbid about it. Here is the task, and I have got to do it to the best of my ability; and that is all there is about it.”
Once owned by a prominent lawyer named Ansley Wilcox, the 1838 house is now run by the National Park Service. The library where Roosevelt was sworn in has been fully restored; among the items on display elsewhere in the house is the handkerchief that assassin Leon Czolgosz used to cover his handgun.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition