Walbridge Building
AKA Convention Center Tower
41-47 Court Street at Franklin (NE), Buffalo, NY

Erected: 1924
Architect:
Bley & Lyman
Style:
Renaissance Revival

Photo courtesy of "Balth" on Buffalo Rising
"There used to be a clock on the balustrade above the First Niagara logo. This building used to have a three-story hardware store on the ground floors called Walbridge Hardware. There also used to be light fixtures jutting out of the facade where the the top of the second floor fenestration met the fancy gold ornamentation. The lights were small but they went along with the nautical theme of the ornamentation (where the boats are depicted near the corners of the fenestration)." - Buffalo Rising, Jan. 22, 2009 (Online August 2014)
2014 Photos

Building at left: Convention Center



Terra cotta ornamentation



Roman goddess Fortuna - carrying a caduceus and a cornucopia - was believed to influence each human's fate.



2 details below:



Terra cotta fleurs-de-lis



Terra cotta  rope molding





Spandrel panels feature center rosette



Rope molding  window surround



Note  nautical theme: ship's hull and two fish  staring each other around a cartouche. (Is the rope molding part of the theme, also?)



The family owned lake freighters which is why the nautical theme is on the building.



41-47 Court Street



Neighbor across Franklin Street: Mahoney State Office Building


Walbridge, George Brush - Erie County

GEORGE BRUSH WALBRIDGE, son of David Walbridge, was born in Bennington, Vermont, September 14, 1814. About 1830 he came to Buffalo and became a clerk in the wholesale grocery of Augustus Colson. In 1835 Col. Ira A. Blossom established him in the grocery business, himself becoming a special partner. Later Mr. Walbridge became the senior member of the firm of Walbridge & Hayden. In 1849 Mr. Hayden retired, and a new firm was organized under the style of George B. Walbridge & Company. In 1847 the store was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt the next spring. Shortly afterward Mr. Walbridge sold his interest and retired. In the meantime

Mr. Walbridge had become interested in lake transportation. He built several sailing vessels and later purchased the steamers Tecumseh, Diamond and Fashion, forming, a regular line between Buffalo and Cleveland. Afterward Mr. Walbridge established a line of propellers between Buffalo and Grand Haven, Michigan, and also ran boats to Chicago, Milwaukee and other ports.

In politics he was a Whig. In 1849 he was President of the Board of Trade, and was one of the original trustees of the Buffalo Female Academy.

In January, 1836, Mr. Walbridge married Miss Wilhelmina C. L. Colson, daughter of the Rev. Karl Colson of Meadville, Pa. Of the children the following survive: Charles E., and Harry Walbridge of Buffalo; Mrs. Charles Warren Butler of Plainfield, N. J.; Mrs. Henry Woodley Musson of Kansas City; Mrs. Edward Potter Bowen of La Salle, N. Y. The second son, George B. Walbridge, Jr., died in March, 1880, at Plainfleld, N.J.

Charles Eliphalet Walbridge was born in Buffalo July 24th, 1841. He attended the public and old Central High School. At 15 years of age he became a clerk with Pratt and Company, hardware dealers, until the breaking out of the Civil War;

In September, 1861, at the organization of the 100th Regiment New York Volunteers, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company H. The 100th bore a gallant part in the Peninsular Campaign under McClellan, in 1862 and 1863, took part in the operations on Folly and Morris Islands, and the siege of Fort Wagner. He was rapidly promoted to First Lieutenant, and then to Captain. He was assigned to staff duty and at different periods was detailed as regimental brigade, and division quartermaster, and United States Quartermaster of Volunteers. For several months he was Chief Quartermaster of the district of Florida. In 1864 he was sent to Virginia, being made Depot Quartermaster for the Army of the James. At the close of 1864 he directed the shipment of the two famous expeditions against Fort Fisher. At the request of Gen. Terry, Major Walbridge, as he had been brevetted, was assigned to the former's staff as Chief Quartermaster of the Tenth Army Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His new position took him to North Carolina, where he remained on duty until he resigned from the service, October, 1865.

Returning to Buffalo in 1866 he re-entered the employ of Pratt & Co., this time as buyer. Here he remained until February, 1869, when he went into business on his own account, through the purchase of the old hardware concern of Hadley & Nichols, dealers in hardware and house furnishings. Under Mr. Walbridge's direction the business was improved and extended until, in 1873, a removal to the Sherman block on Washington street was justified. More extended business developments made another removal necessary, this time to a fine structure on the corner of Washington and South Division streets. In 1886 the long established business of Pratt & Company was absorbed.

In 1900, a change in commercial conditions made a corresponding change in the enterprise conducted by Mr. Walbridge desirable. Accordingly the fine and commodious structure now occupied at 392 to 394 Main Street was erected. Constituting the present firm of Walbridge & Co. with Col. Walbridge are his brother Harry, and the latter's son, Newman.

From childhood Col. Walbridge has been connected with the North Presbyterian Church, and for many years a member and President of its Board of Trustees. He is President of the Buffalo Seminary, a trustee of the Buffalo Savings Bank, a Companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and a member of Bidwell-Wilkeson Post, No. 9, G. A. R.

Col. Walbridge married in Brooklyn, N. Y., on September 3, 1868, Annie F. Noble, daughter of Capt. James and Anne (Watson) Noble. Capt. Noble commanded a vessel in the British navy and was lost in the wreck of his ship in the China Sea. Five children were born of the union: Wilhelmina Von Colson (Mrs. Wilder S. Buffum) of Dobbs Ferry, N. Y.; Isabel E. and Louise H. Walbridge, both of Buffalo, and two sons who died in infancy.

SOURCE:  Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I


Special thanks to James R. Mayer for his assistance

Color photos and their arrangement 2014 Chuck LaChiusa
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