In 1895 Frank W. Buffum built this home for his family.
Frank Washburn Buffum was born on July 1, 1859 in Monroe, WI to Gustavus and Mary Washburn Buffum. He moved with his father and stepmother to Louisiana in 1873. He, his father, and his brother, George, bought La Crosse Lumber in 1888. He worked in the lumber business until 1901 when he founded the Buffum Telephone Company. About ten years later he founded the Buffum Tool Company. In 1913, he was appointed by Governor Elliot Major to be the first chairman of the Missouri Highway Commission. He became known as the “Father of Good Roads”. He put so much effort into the highways that he did not have enough time for his own businesses.
Frank Buffum married Margaret Smith on March 8, 1893. She died on March 15, 1895 during the birth of their twins. The twins did not survive either. Shortly after, he married Harriet Melton Davis. They had two children together. Their daughter, Louise Washburn, was born on March 12, 1900 and their son, Frank Gustavus was born on April 28, 1903. 1
Frank W. Buffum died on November 12, 1922. He was a beloved member of the Louisiana community as is evidenced by his obituary.
“… But it is not for his public deeds and services that made Col. Buffum so beloved by the people of this community. It was his acts in private. He always acted the part of the Good Samaritan. We know of many individual cases where his has been the helping hand that put someone on the road to success. In the hour of sickness it was he that saw that those who had not the means had the proper care. He has picked many a man up who was down and out, put him on his feet, given him a job and saw that he made a man of himself. It is such deeds that make a successful life. It would take a volume to recount the good deeds of this man that have come under our own observation and we heard of only a minor portion of his benefactions. He takes with him to his long home the benedictions of thousands whom he has helped over the rough and stony places of life. His life was a success, perhaps not from a material standpoint, but in the good he has done, the broken hearts he has bound up and the ones he has made happy.” 2
The home of Frank W. Buffum was designed by the architectural firm of Franklin, Wheeler, and Branson. Construction began in 1893 and was finished in 1895. The original house was very similar to the house next door that was built for his younger brother, George. It looks very different today than it did when it was built. The home was originally three stories, but was cut down to only one floor. A second story was added back onto the house in 1985.