In 1901, Buffalo had a strong economy. Because of the proximity of hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls, Buffalo was the first city in the United States to have electrical power on a large scale. The city’s nickname was “City of Light.” Later, after many economic downturns and setbacks, Buffalo became known as the “City of No Illusions.”
Around the time of the Pan American Exposition, in 1901, great architects came to design buildings in Buffalo. Among the architects who designed buildings in Buffalo were Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson, Louise Blanchard Bethune, Louis Sullivan, Edward Green, D. H. Burnham, and George Cary.
Brian Higgins represents New York’s 26th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He came to a party at Celia Spacone’s house in Grand Island last week. He said that his family was part of building a city. “I come from a family of bricklayers. They did union jobs on weekdays, and side jobs on weekends. My job was to bring the bricks to the bricklayers. My dad wanted me to go to school, and this was part of my getting a college education. I asked my dad what the other part was. ‘You weren’t a very good bricklayer,’ he said.'”
Celia Spacone, who is running for Grand Island Town Council, said, “My father was an immigrant and he was a bricklayer. He was happy to see his children be successful. He was doing all of this for his children and for our future.”
|from left: Town Council member Beverly Kinney, Town Council candidate Celia Spacone, and Town
Supervisor Nathan McMurray
Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray also talked about sacrifices that parents made so that their children could have a better life. He said that his mother raised six boys and one girl as a single parent. “My dad died at age 39 of cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos at his workplace.”
Sacrifice and success are major themes in Buffalo’s growth and its decline and its subsequent renaissance. Buffalo went from a small town to a village because of the Erie Canal turning it into a shipping destination. The Erie Canal was opened in 1825.
|Ellicott Square Building|
Brian Higgins said that the architects were attracted to Buffalo, as it had a vibrant economy and was a place where the architects’ visions could be turned into reality. It was a progressive place, where the first woman architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune, designed a great hotel, the Hotel Lafayette.
The Hotel Lafayette later symbolized Buffalo. After its heyday, it was permitted to decay and, for a while, it was described as a “fleabag hotel.” The hotel symbolized Buffalo’s strength and, with its economic downturn, its lack of confidence and and attitude that Brian Higgins described as “defeatist.”
|The Liberty Building has two
statues of liberty on top
The hotel has since been restored and is called “Hotel @ the Lafayette.” In Buffalo, more than the hotel has been restored. “We are experiencing a great renaissance in downtown Buffalo. Downtown Buffalo is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods. We’re just getting warmed up. Nothing is finished.”
|Another view of Hotel @ the Lafayette|
|The Market Arcade|
|Outside view of the Market Arcade|
14 thoughts on “Buffalo’s awesome architecture”
Buffalo has such a bad reputation and has been the butt of so many jokes- this is one city (Binghamton, once called "a burnt out industrial town" is another) I would love to see come back.
I love the layout of this post!! The pictures are beautiful & perfect companions for the story. I also found the story interesting & hadn't really heard it before.
Awesome photos Alice! I love "visiting" areas from other bloggers through pictures. Thanks for sharing.
I first heard about Buffalo when we visited Niagara but never got a chance to visit downtown. Thanks for sharing pictures from Buffalo downtown. Good to know about the architecture of buildings.
The architecture sure looos different and I wasn’t aware of the history associated with the city. Glad you shared.
I think this qualities as what was old is new again…
Alana, I love architecture and I love the architecture you've shared today. Thanks so much for the historic tour. I loved living in New York State.
Whenever I think of Buffalo, I think of my elementary music class where we learned to sing "The Erie Canal." Anyone else learn that song in school? Now you've shown me how it looks. Thank you.
It must feel sad to see a flourishing place succumb to the decay brought about by time..I hope it regains its beauty and clears its name along with time.
Never knew so much about Buffalo!
Lovely read on Buffalo- I had no idea of its past or present but your pictures make for a very interesting post here Alice!
I did not know about Buffalo's history and the nicknames. Interesting read. Thanks for sharing Alice:)
What an interesting read this was! Lovely pictures.
I have only heard of Buffalo, never visited or knew about its history. Loved reading this interesting piece, Alice. The pictures are lovely.