One of the most eye-catching buildings on Binghamton’s West Side, the Kilmer Mansion, now Temple Concord, stands out with its turrets and gargoyles. The Kilmers stamped their name all across Binghamton, literally etching it in stone on buildings they owned. –WICZ
Especially for those from the Binghamton area, Kilmer is a familiar name. Residents have likely passed, or even worked in, one of the many buildings bearing the Kilmer name. The family has a fascinating and colorful history: They were creators of the famed “Swamp Root” remedy, founders of the Binghamton Press, and owners of a Kentucky Derby winner. They even sold their private yacht Remlik (read it backwards) to the Navy to serve as an armored patrol vessel in World War I.
Perhaps the most intact and historically preserved legacy of this family is the stately Kilmer Mansion on Riverside Drive. Constructed and furnished in 1898 reportedly for the then-staggering sum of one million dollars, it is one of the most striking structures in the Southern Tier. Part home and part castle, it features turrets and towers, ballrooms and balconies. Visitors will find fine stonework and masterful woodwork. The mansion is never uninhabited, as lions roar on the exterior, gargoyles peek out from beneath the roof, dragons guard rooms, and painted angels dance across ceilings.
Your Support Needed
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…Three of the mansions are long gone…Treasures of the Tier
Since 1950, Temple Concord has been steward to the Kilmer Mansion, saving it from the fate of its three sister mansions. The congregation’s love for and investment in the Mansion have both been substantial, preserving its striking beauty to passers-by. But look more closely and you will notice the deterioration that the congregation alone cannot afford to repair. The north terrace deck has a gaping hole (pictured below). The columns supporting the east porch roof have large cracks and missing stones. Should they fail, the collapse will lead to interior damage.
During the past year, individuals and foundations from the Greater Binghamton community and beyond have shown their love and support for the Kilmer Mansion through donations and grants totaling nearly $30,000. Now you, someone who also who loves the Mansion and your community’s history, can be part of preserving the Mansion for generations to come. You can make sure that it doesn’t become yet another eye sore or vacant lot. Please make your gift today!
Make your gift today to the Jonas Kilmer Mansion Restoration and Preservation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for South Central New York.