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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 21-A Buffalo Psychiatric Center (1992)

21-A Buffalo Psychiatric Center (1992)


Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

Originally called the Buffalo State Hospital (1870-1896), this Buffalo landmark is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The painting remains unfinished as an example of the process utilized by artist Dr. V. Roger Lalli.

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson's own version of the "Romanesque" style emanates from every vantage point from which this Medina sandstone edifice is viewed. The twin-towered administration building was conceived as the focal point of 10 connected pavilions, each serving a particular specialized medical service to its patients. Groundbreaking took place in June of 1871 and the cornerstone of the administration building was laid in September of 1872. The entire complex was not completed until 1895 - nine years after Richardson's death. Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner Calvert Vaux, planned the extensive hospital grounds. Olmsted had earlier laid out the nearby Delaware Park system, which included a lake and a Vaux-designed casino.

Southwest of the main entrance to the Psychiatric Center on Forest Avenue is an historic 1892 brick building which was once the trolley barn and repair shop of the Buffalo Street Railway Company which was succeeded by the International Railway Company (IRC) in 1902 and later home to Teck Garage. In 1993 the building was reopened as an archive, resource and storage center for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society.

The Psychiatric Center is located directly to the south of the campus of the State University of New York College at Buffalo, originally known as the Buffalo State Normal School, which moved to this site in 1931 from the 1914 building complex on Buffalo's West Side now known as Grover Cleveland High School. The prominent Rockwell Hall honors longtime college president Harry Rockwell. Here is found the extensive collection of watercolorist Charles Burchfield who originally came to Buffalo in 1921 as a designer for the Birge Wallpaper Company.

Across the street from the college entrance on Elmwood Avenue is Albright-Knox Art Gallery and to the north of the Gallery, across the Scajaquada Creek and Expressway, is the home of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, located in the Vermont marble building which was originally the New York State Pavilion during the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. A newly developed bike and hiking pathway is also located here, the vision of Jesse Kregal, timpanist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.