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Pierce Arrow Factory Complex - Buffalo, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
N 42° 56.547 W 078° 52.696
17T E 673102 N 4756608
Quick Description: The Pierce Arrow Complex in north Buffalo was a revolutionary factory that set the stage for nearly all future factory designs in the country.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 9/5/2007 6:34:57 PM
Waymark Code: WM252Q
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 126

Long Description:
A significant landmark in the history of industrial architecture, the design of the Pierce Arrow automobile plant brought together a number of important trends which foreshadowed future developments in factory design.

The design of the Pierce Arrow plant was one of the first attempts to solve the specific requirements of modern big industry. It established a pattern which was later emulated and expanded in factories around the world. The single-story factory building with clear interior spans, window walls, roof lighting and horizontal circulation from process to process was to be the factory design of the future. Although mass production did not appear until later, the Pierce-Arrow pattern provided the perfect physical plant to house it when it came.

The factory was designed in 1905 by Albert Kahn. A few years before this, Kahn was the architect for the Packard factory in Detroit, the first reinforced concrete factory built for the auto industry. Kahn's firm later became one of the largest producers of industrial design in the world. In the 1930s, they designed nearly 20% of all industrial structures in the country. The Pierce Arrow pattern was refined and improved by Kahn in successive generations of factories, but the basic utility of the original idea has remained viable to the present day.

The Pierce Arrow Company went into bankrupcy in 1938. Both the equipment and property were sold. Subsequent owners of the plant blocked off windows and made other alterations to adapt the space for other uses. Unfortunately, the large expanse of open floor space in the factory can not be seen by the public. The administration building along Elmwood Avenue remains to this day and is now home to several businesses.
Street address:
Elmwood & Great Arrow
Buffalo, NY United States


County / Borough / Parish: Erie

Year listed: 1974

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Industry/Processing/Extraction: Manufacturing Facility

Current function: Commerce/Trade, Industry/Processing/Extraction, Social: Manufacturing Facility, Meeting Hall

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 1: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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