General Electric Tower - Buffalo, NY
Posted by: Rayman
N 42° 53.312 W 078° 52.334
17T E 673746 N 4750632
Quick Description: The Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo was modeled after the centerpiece of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 10/10/2008 5:28:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM4XNK
The General Electric Tower is significant as an example of a Beaux Arts office tower in downtown Buffalo. Its proportions are inspired by the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, once one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the Electric Tower, the centerpiece of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo. Additionally it is significant as it represents power development in western New York and the companies that were formed in the late 1900s that would ultimately be responsible for providing electrical power across New York State.
The site the tower sits on was once home to the 2nd mayor of Buffalo and then a hotel. The hotel was torn down in 1909 to make way for the home offices of the Buffalo General Electric Company and its sister company, the Cataract Power and Conduit Company. The prominent Buffalo architecture firm of Esenwein & Johnson was chosen to design an interpretation of the Electric Tower that was showcased at the Pan-American Exposition. Construction was completed in 1912, and the building consisted of an octagonal tower of 14 stories plus a 3-story cupola and a 4-story wing projecting off the Huron Street side of the tower. When it opened, the first four floors were occupied by the electric company and its associates, with floors 5-13 serving as tenant office space, and a 14th floor men's lounge with steam room.
The tower was expanded twice, both times the design was done by Buffalo's most prominent architect E.B. Green. The first was done in 1924 with a 4-story wing on the Genesee Street side of the building. The second expansion came in 1926 when both wings were expanded upwards to 7 stories.
The Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation put the building up for sale in 2003 and it was purchased by Iskalo Development in 2004. They performed many renovations to the interior to restore it to its original design. Currently the entire building is used as office space. Nightly the three tiers at the top of the building are lit providing a key element to the Buffalo skyline.
535 Washington St
Buffalo, NY United States
County / Borough / Parish: Erie
Year listed: 2008
Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture
Periods of significance: 1900-1925
Historic function: Commerce/Trade: Business
Current function: Commerce/Trade: Business
Privately owned?: yes
Primary Web Site: [Web Link]
Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]
Season start / Season finish: Not listed
Hours of operation: Not listed
Secondary Website 2: Not listed
National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed
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