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Porch Peek Power

Porch Peek Slide Show
Buffalo’s porches are the jewels decorating its streets. They dangle and flash their decorative wealth along the sidewalks. Many are intricately detailed, encrusted with very fine carvings, especially at the entry. Commonly these porches have a pediment or peek above the stair which is heavily decorated. The pediment and its detailing is meant as a welcoming gesture but also as a sign of the owner’s wealth. It says “come on in but, respect the fact that I can afford this carving above your head”.
There seems to be an infinite variety of these pediment carvings.Some are geometric, some are cut out like a stencil. Some are simple while others are extremely complex. Some are used to highlight the house address while some others may be saying something about the original owners.

The carvings may be one of a kind custom art pieces but, very likely a large percentage were ordered from architectural supply manufacturers out their standard catalogues. Even so you would be hard pressed to find repeat pediments. They are often made with a type of reinforced plaster allowing them to be mass produced.
The most common decorative theme is a swirly leafy pattern that fills the entire triangular space with highly detailed carving. This slide show provides a very brief sample of what you can find. These highly detailed pediments are most common in older neighborhoods like Allentown, Parkside, parts of the East Side and much of the West side, especially in the Elmwood Village area. To many, these beautiful details recede into the background and are not even noticed. Our busy lives often prevent us from taking note of the extraordinary everyday details that make up Buffalo’s urban fabric. Next time you are out and about treat the journey as your destination and really look at the richness that surrounds you. You won’t be disappointed!

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