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Historic Images of the Richardson Olmsted Campus

While browsing the Richardson Olmsted Campus (ROC) Facebook page, we came across some very interesting historic images that shed some light on the site’s past, as they relate to its present, and future. The following images are absolutely fascinating, and relatively obscure, as they have been unearthed by the ROC team. Many of the images were sourced at the Buffalo History Museum. Others were provided by the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. A few of them we have seen before, but a number were completely new to us. Enjoy.

The former Buffalo State Hospital -Richardson volunteer Mary Scaglione came across this image at the Buffalo History Museum.

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson’s first attempt at drawing up potential plans for the design, before going back to the drawing board (1880).
One of the male patient buildings that was torn down, along with three others in the 1960s.
One of the male patient buildings – Photo courtesy of Buffalo Psychiatric Center
Christmas in July in 1965 in the former Buffalo State Hospital’s library. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Psychiatric Center
The old barn still standing in one of Buff State’s parking lots. It was formerly the Buffalo State Hospital piggery.
(L) A room in male patient building before work got underway (R) Same room from back in the day.
4th floor of the Towers Building in the 1940s/50s
“1880 when only the east wing of the Buffalo State Asylum had been completed! Because of an economic depression, there was a 10-year break in construction, leaving the hospital a bit lopsided for more than a decade. The full Complex (including the west wing) wasn’t completed until 1896!” – ROC
“One of 3 male pavilions constructed in brick to save money – owing to the nation’s economic depression in the late 1800’s. This pavilion and 2 adjacent ones were demolished in 1969.” – ROC | Photo courtesy of Buffalo Psychiatric Center.
“The Richardson opened its doors to patients on this day in 1880. 219 patients were admitted in the first year—122 men and 97 women.” – ROC | Photo credit Buffalo Psychiatric Center
“The Chapel in the Administration Building was dedicated on this September 17 in 1881. Services were held by the Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Albert Chester. The Chapel will become a ballroom for the new conference and event center.” – ROC
“Veterans receiving occupational therapy. In 1921 a professional director was appointed, a corps of assistants trained and 2 instructors were supplied by the federal government to work with veterans.” – ROC | Photo Credit: Buffalo Psychiatric Center
Buffalo State Hospital 1924 baseball champs
“The carpenter shop at the Complex back in the day! Located where our maintenance building still operates.” – ROC
“The foundation of this greenhouse still remains on the Buffalo State College side of the Complex, and [is now] utilized as part of the hotel landscape.” – ROC
“The Complex operated under the concept of “work therapy,” the idea that treatment should include duties to give patients a sense of responsibility and purpose.” – ROC
“This snapshot of a Christmas play at the former Buffalo State Hospital has been preserved in the Buffalo Psychiatric Center archives.” – ROC
“A snapshot of the interior of the community store at the complex that we posted about on Thanksgiving.” – ROC
Shot of the carpenter shop loft found in the Buffalo Psychiatric Center archives
“The hospital used to be entirely self-sufficient, and even had its own apothecary/pharmacy!” – ROC
“Pre-industrial shop shot courtesy of Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Patients were very involved in every aspect of the Complex as part of the treatment.” – ROC
“Bingo! Patients were encouraged to spend their time interacting through activities like this in the wide corridors, rather than in their rooms.” – ROC | Photo credit: Buffalo Psychiatric Center

“Part of the healing process for patients was enjoying the grounds designed by Olmsted.” – ROC
“Just like the wards, there were separate male and female dining rooms.” – ROC

“The Complex was a self-sufficient city in itself, complete with a farm, which was part of some patients’ treatment.” – ROC

Image from Buffalo Psychiatric Center
“The Kirkbride treatment plan was for patients to progress from the outer wards to eventually walk out the front door healed.” – ROC

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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