Webb Building - Table of Contents

Summer 2006 History / Exterior Photos
Webb Building
90-94 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY

Original owner:

Jewett M. Richmond


Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz (New York City)




Commercial Richardsonian Romanesque
Considered finest remaining Richardsonian Romanesque commercial building left in Buffalo

Original use:

Belt and hose factory

Landmark status:

Joseph Ellicott Preservation District

In 2006, minor alterations at ground floor; otherwise, completely original exterior. The building, in the hands of a speculator, is vacant.

Architect Cyrus Eidlitz also designed the original Buffalo Public Library (demolished in 1963) and the Iroquois Hotel (demolished in 1940).

HISTORY Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

5 stories, 45,000 square feet


  • Cornice
  • 4th and 5th floor windows

Text reprinted from the
National Park Service Historic Preservation Certification Application
By Martin Wachadlo and Dr. Francis R. Kowsky

The five-story Webb building is a Richardsonian Romanesque brick commercial building with a flat roof. It is by 80 feet wide on Pearl Street and 120 feet deep and was originally intended to house two stores, each 40 feet wide.

Only the façade on Pearl Street (east elevation) is treated architecturally. This elevation retains a high degree of architectural integrity of design, materials, and workmanship from the period of its construction. The five-story facade of red pressed brick with Medina sandstone trim is topped by a central parapet with end urns and small, round-arched attic windows.  A sandstone stringcourse supported by stone corbels defines the uppermost floor. Brick piers with simple stone capitals rise from the stringcourse to support a row of brick flat arches.  The arches are glazed with double-hung sash windows that light the fifth floor.

Floors two through four have tripartite openings that were filled with plate glass windows, many of which are now missing. The fourth floor has round-arched windows with cast-iron pilasters, continuous sills, and spandrels between the floors.  The second and third floors have flat-headed, tripartite windows with cast-iron pilasters and continuous metal sills .  (Several windows have been filled with glass block or boarded up.) These floors are ornamented by a number of stone and metal decorative elements (notably carved sandstone floral and lion head corbels and metal guilloche moldings) that survive in remarkably good condition. 
The ground floor consists of two cast iron and wooden storefronts.  Although remodeled in the mid-twentieth century, the ground floor preserves most of its original structural and decorative features, some of which are partially revealed behind deteriorated sections of the later remodeling. (The north storefront window bay has been replaced by a modern garage door.)  The corners are treated as banded stone pilasters as is the central pier which expresses the presence of an interior partition wall.  The sidewalk in front of the building preserves several red sandstone pavement slabs.
The lots adjacent to the Webb building on the north and south are vacant, so the building's elevations on these sides are clearly visible. The shadow of a demolished earlier building is evident on the north elevation.  The north elevation is a solid wall of common brick from the ground floor to the fifth floor.  The fifth floor, which stood above the roofline of the demolished building, is lighted by a row of blocked up windows.  At the rear, a two bay section is lighted by tall twin windows on each floor.  These segmental-arched openings were filled with four-over-four sash windows. Because the demolished building did not extend this far back, this two-bay section could have fenestration in it. Because of the sloping ground, the rear section has a basement level, making the building six stories on the back.
The south elevation is all common brick with no fenestration. Brick corbels project at various levels and once supported floors of a demolished adjacent building.  As on the north side, a two bay section at the rear of the building had twin, four-over-four sash windows in each floor.  Because of the sloping ground, the rear section has a basement level.
The rear or west elevation is six stories in height. Several low openings at the ground level give access to the basement while additional openings have been bricked up. The first floor above the basement consists of several taller entrances beneath brick segmental arches spaced between four-over-four sash windows beneath exposed metal beams. Each of the floors above is lighted by twelve closely aligned, four-over-four sash windows with segmental arched heads. (Some of these windows have been blocked up.) These windows are identical to those on the rear portions of the north and south elevations.

Photos and their arrangement © 2006 Chuck LaChiusa
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