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Visiting Buffalo, New York and its City Hall: striking, Art Deco monumentality

Updated on June 25, 2011
State flag of New York
State flag of New York | Source
Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo, New York
Buffalo City Hall, Buffalo, New York | Source
Rene Paul Chambellan, eagles on top of the Buffalo City Hall
Rene Paul Chambellan, eagles on top of the Buffalo City Hall | Source
Map location of Buffalo, New York
Map location of Buffalo, New York | Source

Testimony to civic confidence in the Western Empire State

The City Hall at Buffalo, New York, affords a most striking example of Art Deco architecture, truly monumental in scope.

Completed in 1931, the architects were Dietel, Wade and Jones; the principal design was by George Dietel, assisted by John J. Wade. The building firm employed was the John W. Cowper Company. Sculpture work was by Albert Stewart and Rene Paul Chambellan: friezes depicting local historical scenes were by the former, while artwork on the tower was by the latter. Internal wall paintings by William de Leftwich Dodge show additional historical scenes.

The cost of the building was also remarkable for its day. Nearby 7 million dollars were spent on it, in 1931 terms, an astronomical sum for a public building, making it one of the most expensive city halls in the United States.

The sheer size and height of the building are certainly impressive. The pillared entrance alone is on a huge scale. At 121.3 metres, the City Hall remained until 1970 the tallest building in Buffalo. It has 32 storeys and 1,520 windows, which reportedly take 10 days to clean. There are 52,612.2 square metres of floor space.

A combination of materials was used for its imposing frontage. These include granite, limestone, sandstone and ceramic tiles.

The City Hall is located at 65 Niagara Square, and overlooks the imposing McKinley Memorial, an obelisk commemorating President William McKinley, assassinated in Buffalo in 1901.

Also worth seeing

Visitor attractions in Buffalo are many; a few of these include: the imposing Ellicott Square Building; the Wilcox Mansion: Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site at 641 Delaware Avenue; Broderick Park on Squaw Island has memories of the Underground Railroad.

Beyond Buffalo:

Old Fort Erie , Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada (distance: 7.2 kilometres); a historic fort with memories of the War of 1812.


How to get there: Continental Airlines flies from New York Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, where car rental is available. Buffalo, NY is linked with Albany, NY via the I-290 and I-90. From Canada, accessible via the Peace Bridge, the QEW links Fort Erie, ON with Hamilton and Toronto. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 3 years ago

      BernietheMovieGuy: Thank-you for your comment.

    • BernietheMovieGuy profile image

      Bernie Ment 3 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      Nice hub. Voted up!

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I don't know if it's still there but I really enjoyed visiting the zoo. Thanks for the info.!