buffalo’s city hall: an art deco gem
I forewarn that this post is particularly image-heavy. And it’s easy to see why…
Although I already marvel over the architectural gems in this city such as the Central Terminal and Frank Lloyd Wright’s creations, this awe was taken to a new level with a visit to Buffalo’s City Hall. Dedicated in 1932 (the hundredth anniversary of Buffalo’s founding) at the height of the Art Deco style, details of this fantastically executed edifice abounded at every turn.
The exterior dominates Niagara Square, with its vertical lines and deco details carved in stone.
The dark but detailed entry hall provides interest through elaborate murals, intricate elevator doors, and whimsical carvings.
Of particular note is this mural that is perhaps reflective of the perspectives of the time. It interestingly illustrates the United States as a statuesque, urban, debonair, and fashionable couple on the left and Canada as a more rugged, land-working lot on the right. Note the bridge over the falls that ties our two countries together at the bottom-centre.
The Chambers are designed in a tight semicircular arrangement, topped with a stunning sunburst glass ceiling. Practical details include built-in hat racks under each seat.
Even more utilitarian areas such as the permits department offices are treated to touches of the Art Deco style.
Views from the observation deck at the peak of the building reach in every direction, highlighting the urban landscape to the Niagara River and on to the mist from the Falls in the distance.
Tours are free and are offered on weekdays only, but are well worth adding a day to your cross-border shopping weekend to fit in a visit.
Side note: a few months after touring this grand deco dame, I happened upon this vintage cookie tin (across the border and miles away at the Aberfoyle Antique Market) with an illustration clearly showing the City Hall’s pride of place in Buffalo’s downtown.