George J. Metzger - Table of Contents

George J. Metzger

George J. Metzger (1855-1929)

Reprint: Page 135 in Historic Plymouth Avenue in the Kleinhans Neighborhood by Christopher N. Brown

George J. Metzger was a successful local architect and builder during Buffalo’s late Victorian period.

He was born in Buffalo on November 17, 1855, educated in the Buffalo public schools and entered the architect’s profession at the age of 20. It is not known where Metzger obtained his architectural training, yet the talented and industrious Metzger quickly rose to prominence and later organized the Metzger Construction corporation. His offices were located on the second floor of the German Insurance Building at 455 Main Street where he had a large corps of skilled assistants. At one time, his brother Edward, who was also an architect, was George Metzger’s partner.

George Metzger began his career by designing homes for prominent citizens and one of his best-known designs was the residence of Mr. J.F. Schoelkoff, at the corner of Delaware and Allen Streets (demolished). Another beautiful house that he designed is located at 193 Summer Street. As Metzger became more successful and experienced, he began to design commercial and government structures. Metzger designed Weyand's Brewery, formerly known as the Main Street Brewery, also a four story brick building owned by Mesmer & Birdsall, and occupied by McLean, Brogan & Rodenback dry goods store.

Other major buildings that Metzger designed include the Lancaster Opera House, School 44 (1369 Broadway), School 13, buildings at the University of Buffalo South Campus, a Federal building, and Children’s Hospital. Perhaps Metzger’s most significant building was the 106th Armory State Arsenal erected on Masten Avenue; it was 185' X 280', the largest armory in the United States at the time, said to have been four acres in size (now demolished). Metzger was at one time Erie County architect.

Metzger served 30 years in the New York National Guard, first in the old 65th Regiment and later on the Fourth Brigade headquarters staff. He retired with the rank of colonel.

Metzger was an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and was twice president of the Buffalo chapter. He was a 33d degree Mason and a member of: Buffalo Club, Buffalo Builders exchange, Buffalo chapter, Associated General Contractors, Chamber of Commerce, Automobile Club, Concordia lodge of Masons, Keystone chapter, R.A.M., Buffalo consistory, Lake Erie commandery, Knights Templar, Ismailia Temple, the Audubon Shooting Club, the Orpheus and other singing societies, the Empire Order of Mutual Aid, Quartermaster in the 65th Regiment, N.G.S.N.Y. and the City Club.

Metzger married Emma Nuhn and together they had six children; four sons: George R., Harold M., Park L. and Richard J.; and two daughters: Mrs. George E. Houck and Mrs. Harold E. Webster. The family lived at 200 Bidwell Parkway. Metzger died on December 7, 1929 and was buried at Forest Lawn cemetery.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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