Dietel & Wade

Dietel & Wade had offices in Delaware Court

George J. Dietel - Saint Vincent's Female Orphan Asylum - Gymnasium

Dietel & Wade - St. Francis de Sales RC Church

Dietel & Wade - City Hall

Dietel & Wade - Liberty Bank Branch

George J. Dietel

Reprint of the obituary published The Buffalo News, Friday, March 29, 1974

George J. Dietel, 97, one of the architects of City Hall, died today (March 29, 1974), in the Brothers of Mercy Home, Clarence.

Mr. Dietel, a native of Buffalo, was a senior partner in the Buffalo architectural firm of Dietel & Wade, which in 1928 designed the present 24-story City Hall.

The edifice was built during 1929 and 1930 at a cost of $6.5 million.

Mr. Dietel also designed many Catholic churches in Buffalo and the surrounding area, as well as St. Mary of the Angels Home and the first addition to Sisters Hospital.

He was a graduate of Canisius High School and College, and a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and a 50-year member of the Knights of St. John.

Mr. Dietel was a past director of Lincoln National Bank and Mt. Calvary Cemetery. He was also a life member of the National Architects Society.

Surviving are several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM in Christ the King Church, Snyder. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Illustration: Dietel's long-time home on Humboldt Parkway. Photo taken 2006.


John J. Wade



John J. Wade was the chief architect of Buffalo City Hall.

He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1893, to a family of artists. His mother was on accomplished tapestry weaver.

When his father died, Wade was still in grammar school. His mother secured a job for him working in an architectural firm.

Before and alter studying architecture at the Beaux-Arts Institute of New York City, Wade worked for Henry Hornbostel and Sullivan W. Jones. The firm specialized in the design of major public buildings, including the Oakland City Hall, the Pittsburgh City and County Buildings, and the Wilmington City Hall. Sullivan W. Jones, who was Wade's mentor at the firm, became New York State Architect in the 1920s.

After military service in World War I, Wade married in New York City, then relocated to Buffalo, where the burgeoning industrial city seemed to offer great opportunity for a young architect. In Buffalo he joined the practice of local architect Harold Jewett Cook, with whom he designed the Masonic Consistory on Delaware Avenue, now the auditorium and foyer of Canisius High School. The likelihood that Wade was himself the designer of the Common Council skylight is strengthened by its similarity to the sunburst design on the ceiling of the auditorium.

In 1926 he formed the partnership with George J. Dietel (1876-1974), called Dietel and Wade. The firm designed the
St. Francis de Sales Church on Humbolt Parkway, St. Francis Home for the Aged in Williamsville, and the Queen of Peace Church on Genesee Street.

In 1926, when the City Architect's city hall design was found unsatisfactory, the Common Council turned to amiable, quick-witted, 33-year-old John Wade, who probably had more practical experience with the planning and design of city halls than any other local architect.

John J. Wade, a young architect who had experience in the design of city halls, had written an article in 1925 in The Buffalo Arts Journal called "Choosing a City Hall Architect," which brought him to the attention of the Common Council. They hired him as a consultant architect for the design of City Hall, January, 1927. He formed a partnership with Buffalo architect George J. Dietel (1876-1974) to provide these services.

Wade produced, in 1927, a design for a twenty-five-story square tower, supporting a colonnaded octagon, surmounted by a hemispherical dome of colored tiles. Wade's design was rejected as too expensive and lacking in sufficient floor space; however, it was not disliked.

The Council hired the firm of Dietel, Wade, and Sullivan W. Jones (b. in 1878 in New York City where he also died in 1955) to produce the final design, which was adopted. Wade had been an apprentice of Jones before and after attending the Beaux Arts Institute in New York City. Jones, formerly the the New York State Architect, was designer of the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building in Albany, a building massed similarly to the Buffalo City Hall.

John J. Wade died on January 2, 1990 in New Jersey.


Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa.
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