You can probably count, on one hand, the number of octogenarian Word War II veterans in Genesee County, who not only designed but also still reside in the same home they built during the post-war era. Mr. Kisiel’s Mid-century Modern home is an architectural gem exhibiting many of the elements of the ranch or rambler houses that were from 1946 into the 1960s.
Henry served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific on the aircraft carrier USS Cape Esperance. As newlyweds living on Washington Avenue in Batavia, they began their family in a tiny second-floor apartment.
Henry purchased a lot on Creek Road from his cousin, which was originally part of their grandparents’ farm. There were many prototypes to choose from, so Henry took some ideas from the ranches he had seen and incorporated some of his own innovative design elements.
Building a home as newlyweds was not such an easy feat, especially for a young couple with no credit or savings, but what they did have was a desire and determination to work hard and make their dream a reality. People could see he was an eager and hard-working young man who had served his country in war and safely returned to make a home for his wife and their new family. Within a few short years, both Henry and Lois worked full time to pay off the mortgage completely.
Stanley and John Stalytza, of Alden, were the bricklayers and they charged Mr. Kisiel 10 cents a brick for their labor. Henry wanted round windows and in the front door and on the exterior he implemented those designs. The eaves in the back of the house are even deeper than the front to shade the walkway that leads to the open breezeway.
The original wooden garage door with its rectangular windows retains the character of Mid-century Modern. The living room ceiling gently curves in a soffit of plaster to hide the tops of the curtain rods, as if the drapes are falling from the air. Pink marble windowsills are throughout the house and instead of wood, bull-nose plaster frames every window and doorway and the edges of all the walls. Therefore, we would like to honor Henry Kisiel for his original design and building of his home on Creek Road and his preservation of it throughout the years. However, more importantly, for his longevity and personification of the pursuit of the American Dream and being of The Greatest Generation who came back from war to build a wonderful architectural style that accommodated the next generation -- a style their children known as the Baby Boomers were born and raised in.