University at Buffalo - Table of Contents

History - South Campus, University at Buffalo
3435 Main Street, Buffalo, NY
University at Buffalo - Official Website (online July 2013)

1851 - Erie County Poorhouse

Caption: Erie County Almshouse and Insane Asylum, Wm. Wischerath Keeper, Buffalo Plains, N.Y.

Established in response to the growing problem of poverty in Buffalo, New York, the Erie County Poorhouse was relocated in 1851 from its original location in Black Rock to Main Street, occupying what is now the South Campus of the State University of Buffalo.

Poorhouse history - 1857 Investigation

There are two buildings, one designed for use as the poor house proper, and the other for accommodation of the insane. They are constructed of limestone, quarried on the farm.

The main structure is sixty-five feet front, octagonal in shape, with wings extending 225 feet. Attached is a farm of 153 acres, yielding a revenue of $2,700. In the house are thirty-four rooms, or wards.

The number of inmates was 225, 150 males and 75 females. Of these eleven-twelfths are reported as of foreign birth. The paupers who are able are employed on the farm and about the house. For the instruction of the young a teacher is employed the whole year. The school averages forty-five children.  No arrangements are had for bathing. During the year there have occurred in the house thirty-four births and eighty-three deaths. No contagious diseases have prevailed. 

Of the inmates seventy-one are lunatics, twenty-six males and forty-five females. All but four of these are paupers.

- The Poorhouse Story (online July 2013)
1907 - University of Buffalo

By the year 1907, the University was rapidly growing, but there was still no unified campus. When the University Council members learned by inside information that the County planned to relocate the Almshouse, they decided that the grounds between Main and Bailey streets would be a perfect location for a new University campus.

With the help of the citizens of Buffalo, the University raised enough to secure the new campus. After moving into their new campus they continued to use the dilapidated hospital buildings until Foster Hall, the first University building, was completed in 1922.

1919 - New Campus Design

In February 1919, the University announced a competition for the landscape design for the new campus to Hallam L. Movius of Boston.

The University's new campus, formally dedicated in 1920, consisted of mainly the former buildings from the Almshouse.

In 1921 construction was begun on Foster Hall, the first McKim, Mead and White building to be constructed [on campus]. It wasn't until 1927 that the former County Hospital main building was modified to become Hayes Hall where the University's administration was housed.

... a campus plan drawn up by architects E.B. Green and Son and Albert Hart Hopkins, dated May 1, 1930, which closely resembled the 1920 campus perspective.

E.B. Green and his firm designed several buildings for the University, including the original Lockwood Library, the first Norton Union, the Bookstore (a replica of the Holland Land Company Office in Batavia, New York), and the Engineering Building. Also Crosby Hall, Clark Gym, and the Mackay Heating Plant.

On Buffalo Architecture & History Website:

Hayes Hall  - Originally part of the Erie County Almshouse and Poor Farm. Designed by George Metzger of Buffalo (1874), Jesse Porter (1890's renovation & additions)

Crosby Hall   - Designed by E.B. Green & Son - 1932

Lockwood Library  - Designed by E.B. Green & Son - 1930-33

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2013
..| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index...| .. E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.