Buffalo Schools - Table of Contents ..............     Allentown Historic Preservation District

2013 color photos
Adult Learning Center (PS No. 46)
389 Virginia Street at Elmwood, Buffalo, New York

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

East/Elmwood Avenue elevation

West elevation


H.H. Little

Date of Initial Construction


Historical and Architectural Importance

The structure is the oldest public school building in Buffalo in use as a school.

The simplified Romanesque Revival style building exhibits the characteristic rough-faced, ashlar stonework, round arched entrances and window grouping of three rectangular windows.

The architect H.H. Little was a prominent Buffalo architect having designed school buildings in Olean and Silver Creek, NY. He was also the architect of the Red Jacket building at Main and Allen Streets.

The land on which the school was constructed was given to the City by Louis Le Couteulx in 1839 for the organization of a school. A small wood building was erected which serviced the children of the Orphan Asylum located at Elmwood Avenue and Edward Street. Several additions were made to the structure to accommodate the area's increased population, leading to the construction of the present structure in 1888.

For several years the school housed students from Central High and Hutchinson High School.. With the construction of Public School No. 76, at 300 South Elmwood Avenue, in 1926, the school was made an annex of Public School No. 36 located at Day's Park and College Street.

In February, 1946 the building housed the Veteran's High School for veterans resuming their high school education. The school remained at this site until 1949 when the program was discontinued. During a seven year vacancy the building was vandalized and in 1953 the north wing was damaged by fire.

The building was remodeled in 1955 and reopened as temporary quarters for Public School No. 36, with a remedial reading center occupying the structure in 1957.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The school building is located on a triangular block bounded by Virginia Street to the west and north, Edward Street to the south and Elmwood Avenue to the east. The building is located within the Allentown Historic District designated in March, 1978. The building's frontage borders Elmwood Avenue, a major north/south thoroughfare in the City.

Other Notable Features of Building and Site

The school building is a two and one half story, five bay, brick structure with a two story, one bay, half hip roof wing extending from the south facade and a two and one half story, one bay, gabled roof wing attached to the north facade. The rectangular plan with hip roof features the Romanesque Revival style.

The symmetrical facade is divided horizontally by a continuous Medina sandstone  lintel over second floor windows and a rusticated stone band course at the basement level. The center and end bays project slightly from the front facade. The structure has a low rusticated stone basement level with brick facing the principal elevations.

The central entrance bay with crowning cornice interrupts the main roof line. Rusticated, regular course stone faces the first floor and features a round arched opening with recessed double doors. A small round arched, 1/1 light window flanks the entrance to the south. The second and third floor building ends of the entrance bay are decorated with rusticated stone quoins.

The pedimented gable end bays with cornice end returns have three part, 1/1 light windows with rusticated stone sills and lintels.

Window fenestration consists of paired straight headed, 1/1 light windows.

Building Materials

Stone and Brick

Structural System

Masonry load bearing walls


Buffalo Times, January 16, 1927; Buffalo News, January 3, 1946.

Color photos and their arrangement 2013 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..