Buffalo State College - Table of Contents

Rockwell Hall

Buffalo State College
1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY

Buffalo Normal School opens:

Jersey and Normal Streets

Buffalo Normal School purpose:

To train teachers to serve Buffalo's fast-growing student population in the public schools.

Buffalo Normal School  new building opens:

1931 renamed Grover Cleveland  High School and becomes a Buffalo public school when college moves to a new campus on Elmwood Avenue

Elmwood Avenue campus opens:

Five Buildings;
flagship building was Rockwell Hall.
Campus located on most of New York State Asylum's site
Rockwell Hall : 1928
Architect:  William Haugaard

Rockwell Hall namesake:

 Harry W. Rockwell,  president from 1919 to 1951
Burchfield Art Center opens:
1966, in Rockwell Hall
New building:  2008

2021 status in the State University of New York system:

Largest comprehensive four-year college  in the system
Buffalo State College timeline:
Our History  (online May 2021)

2021 Rockwell Hall color photos

Location:  Jersey and Normal Streets    ...    A three-story French Renaissance style structure designed by John H. Selkirk was constructed in 1869    ...    The school opened in September 1871 with 66 pupils in attendance    ...     The concept of the Normal School was to furnish trained teachers for the public schools of the State.

 Postcard    ...   State Normal School new building opened in September, 1914    ...   
Colonial Revival / Georgian Revival style    ...    1931 renamed Grover Cleveland High School when college moved to a new campus on Elmwood Avenue on the former grounds of the New York State Insane Asylum


1300 Elmwood Avenue    ...   Opens 1931     ...     One of five buildings
on the former grounds of the New York State Insane Asylum
    ...    "This building was an early reflection of the renewed interest in colonial architecture stirred by the reconstruction of Williamsburg, Virginia." - Buffalo Architecture: A Guide, 1981, MIT  Press, p. 171

Left (south) and right (north) sides of the facade are identical in design

Note steeple
steeple on top of clock tower   ...    Inspired by  Independence Hall in Philadelphia, below:

Independence Hall, Philadelphia    ...    Note top finial, steeple, balustrade, and clock

Rockwell Hall     ...    Copper-covered steeple on top of clock tower   ...    Balustrade with corner pinnacles and finials

Weathervane finial

Pilasters     ...    Finials

Balustrade with corner pinnacles and finials

Final atop pinnacle

Modillions support cornice

Keystone    ...    Voussoirs    ...    Sunburst    ....    Sill    ....   
New York State seal in tympanum

Tympanum depicts
bas-relief NY State seal   ...    Roman (smooth shaft) Ionic columns    ...    Fanlights over three windows


New York State seal    ...     New York State motto: Excelsior, Latin for Ever Upward.
The center shield displays a masted ship and a sloop on the Hudson River (symbols of inland and foreign commerce), bordered by a grassy shore and a mountain range in the background with the sun rising behind it.

Liberty and Justice support the shield and an American eagle spreads its wings above on a world globe. Liberty's left foot treads on a crown (a symbol of freedom  from the Kingdom of Great Britain). Justice is blindfolded and holds a sword in one hand and a scale in the other, symbolizing impartiality and fairness.  

Roman (smooth shaft) Ionic column: Volutes    ...    Egg-and-dart

Balusters on side of volutes 

12 over 12 lights    ...
Top windows:  paneled stone lintels and sills    ...   12 over 12 lights
Lower windows:  Voussoirs above, stone sills 

Paneled stone lintel    ...    Flemish brick bond

8 over 12 lights    ...    Stone sill

Flemish brick bond


Burchfield Penney Art Center    ...   The museum was originally located in Rockwell Hall until this new building was erected across the street from Rockwell Hall in 2006

Metcalfe House     ...    In 1980, the house was demolished and the land used as a parking lot for the commercial owners of the Williams-Butler mansion next door    ...     Preserved in the Penny Burchfield Museum at Buffalo State College where the original dining room and library have been reinstalled    ...     The hallway and staircase are in the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Photos and their arrangement 2021 Chuck LaChiusa
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