SH Archive Erie County Savings Bank - Chronicling Destruction

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trismegistus
SH.org OP Date
2019-06-28 21:03:57
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trismegistus

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This post is a bit different than my usual breakdown of late 19th century architecture, as this will primarily be in regards to when the building in question was demolished rather than built. Not only were these types of buildings stunning to see, and impressive by any standards - - they were also an absolute bitch to demolish.

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  • Broke ground in 1890, completed in 1893 (replaced "old" 1st Presbyterian Church)​
  • Demolished in 1968​
  • Architect: George B. Post
  • Style: "Richardson Romanesque" :sneaky:
  • Location: Buffalo, NY​
  • Composition: Steel frame, Pink Granite, Red Granite and Ashlar Masonry​
For now, let's ignore the strange looking "weather vanes" on the roof, the fact that the electrical engineer was Thomas Edison, the architect also designed buildings for the World's Columbian Exposition, and that there no photos of its construction. Besides, at this point if you are in this thread you are already likely assuming these things to be a given for this period of time and style of architecture.

I found an article in the wayback machine written by a journalist Ellen Tausig (1906-2005) regarding the demolition of the bank. Like many others here on SH, she was devastated by the City of Buffalo's decision to tear down buildings like this to make way for soulless corporate business parks in the late 1960s. She wrote an absolutely beautiful love letter to the building in this article, and I highly recommend you read through it all as it is extremely well written. I want to post some excerpts from it that got me thinking about the level of craftsmanship and engineering brilliance that we have apparently "forgot" in the 21st century.

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As if we needed more reason to think that "they just don't build 'em like they used to", here you go. Not only were these buildings an example of a lost high art and craftsmanship, they were also built to last. They certainly weren't built to be torn down in 100 years.


Some enterprising Buffalonian made a 4 part slideshow of photos from the demolition. I haven't gone over all of the videos yet but for the discerning eye there may be some potential cultural layer evidence hidden there.

At the very least, we can assume a few things regarding this Grand Unified Architecture found all over the world:
  • These buildings were designed to last hundreds, if not thousands of years​
  • They are extremely hard to demolish with conventional equipment​
  • It is no wonder to me that many of these types of buildings survived America's Battlefield.
That said, if we accept that the great fires of the 19th and 20th centuries were caused by some sort of exotic weaponry - - perhaps this was one of the only ways to eliminate as many of these buildings as possible without incurring huge time and money sinks.
Note: This OP was recovered from the Wayback Archive.
 

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