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Then and Now: A West Village Anchor

I never paid much attention to this building on Buffalo’s Lower West Side. Until, that is, I came across this historic image posted on Facebook by the Buffalo History Gazette.  The vintage photo shows an elegant building gracing the street corner with ornate and delicate decorations.  7 two-story high window bays dressed in frilly swags and pilasters of tin are set against richly textured brick.  Two dome topped corner turrets add distinctiveness.  At first I thought that this must be another in a long line lost Buffalo treasures.  But it seemed oddly familiar.  I knew there was a building on Niagara with towers but I did not remember  it being as elegant as this one. In fact, the building I was thinking of was a bit dumpy looking if my memory was working.

It turns out that the building in this historic image does still stand at the corner of Carolina and Niagara Streets in the West Village.  It is time worn and suffered some unfortunate modifications but, on closer inspection it has a remarkable amount of its original detail still in place and is still quite elegant.  The corner store has been converted to an apartment, the distinctive cornice has been modified and striped, and although the towers still have their domes, they look a bit bald without their finials and rings of cornice brackets.

The building is battered and slightly forlorn looking today but this is a great anchor building and appears to have a good owner.  From Google maps you can see that it has a beautiful new, white, energy-efficient roof and the brick walls are seem to be in good condition, two signs this building will be around for a long while.

I used to think that this part of Niagara Street was a dangerous no mans land.  But, these days this neighborhood, so close to downtown has tremendous potential for real growth in the near future.  The West Village, has already attracted substantial new investor attention and Allentown is pushing south and west. Just a few doors up Niagara a developer is near to starting renovations on a renovation project. Niagara Street is a natural place from growth as one of the few radial streets still intact. Thankfully this beauty made it through the onslaught of demolition stupidity to remain standing proud, as an anchor on this corner.

   View of the building from the neighborhood looking west on Carolina




Written by STEEL


Architect ( a real one, not just the armchair type), author of “Buffalo, Architecture in the American Forgotten Land” ( ), lover of great spaces, hater of sprawl and waste,
advocate for a better way of doing things.

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