Merchants Mutual Insurance Co.
246, 250 Main Street, Buffalo, NY

Merchants Mutual Insurance Co. - Official website
(online May 2016)

Built:
1965
Architect:
James, Meadows & Howard
Style:
Mid Century Modern


Note light rail train station ... Right: Barnes & Hengerer Building




International style  ... Curtain wall







Panel system: A curtain wall system  consisting of preformed metal, cut stone, precast concrete, or panelized brick units which may be preglazed (windows) or glazed after installation... Spandrel panels



 
Precast concrete window wall panels play a significant role in the development of architectural expression. Windows can be recessed to provide texture and shadowline to a facade, creating architectural interest. ... Spandrel panel




Merchants Insurance Group was founded on March 5, 1918, the day Merchants Mutual Liability Company opened for business with Urban F. Jehle as President. Mr. Jehle, owner and operator of a grocery store in Buffalo, returned from a grocers’ convention with the idea of bringing merchants together for the mutual protection of their delivery vehicles.

J.R. Young
, a local insurance man, Owen B. Augspurger, a Buffalo lawyer, and C.W. Brown, a civil engineer, joined with him.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the company name was Merchants Mutual Casualty Company. In February 1957, Merchants began to offer both casualty insurance and property insurance and changed its name to Merchants Mutual Insurance Company to reflect this development. In the 1960s the company moved into its current headquarters, a five-story office building located on Main Street in Buffalo.
- Wikipedia: Merchants Insurance Group (online May 2016)
Fans of Buffalo’s famous buildings swoon over their many architectural styles; Greek revival (Albright Knox); French Renaissance (Hotel @ the Lafayette); Prairie School (Darwin Martin home); art deco (City Hall).   The time is now to add Merchant’s Mutual to that list of swoonable styles.   Not only because of its style, but also because of the spirit of that style and what that said about Buffalo when it was erected.

Merchant’s Mutual was built in the Mid Century Modern style of architecture – one that, aptly, was popular in the mid 20th century. Erected in 1965, the Merchant’s Mutual building is a perfect example of this design, as characterized by its clean lines, big windows and wall of glass on the street level. Fans of Mad Men would agree, the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency could easily have been one of its first tenants. The original signage now over 50 years old, still hangs on the building’s side – itself a throwback to an era where vertical signs adorned many of Main Street’s buildings.

What makes the Merchant’s Mutual building equally as important a structure among the city’s famous buildings, is its very pedigree.  It was built by architects James, Meadows & Howard, heirs to the firm of Green and Wicks – one of the city’s most illustrious architectural firms that built some of the city’s most revered buildings including the Albright Knox and Market Arcade.

-  Lorne Opler, Merchants Mutual Insurance Company Building.  Buffdalo Spree, August 1, 2016



Photos and their arrangement 2016 Chuck LaChiusa
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