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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 13-A Buffalo Savings Bank (1990)

13-A Buffalo Savings Bank (1990)


Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

Located at the corner of Main and Huron Streets, "the bank with the gold dome" is Buffalo's oldest savings bank and one of its best known landmarks. Designed in 1899 by Green and Wicks in the Beaux-Arts style inspired by the 1893 Columbian Exposition and opened in 1901, the bank's main entrance is a columned portico below a large 9-foot clock where customers traverse sandstone "steps to success" and enter into a breath-taking interior.

The ceilings and walls are a pictorial "history book" of Buffalo. The paintings were done in 1926 by William Francis, Eugene Savage and George Davidson. Mr. Francis also painted works for the Saturn Club and the First Presbyterian Church on Symphony Circle.

The great interior dome is divided into 16 arabesques depicting signs of the zodiac. Four pendentives below the dome commemorate Buffalo's Commerce, Industry, Power and The Arts. Two large murals dominate the east and north walls and tell a story of Buffalo's beginnings: one with Joseph Ellicott and Seneca Chief Red Jacket in 1798; the other the rise of Buffalo's harbor to prominence in 1846, the very year of the formation of Buffalo Savings Bank. Millard Fillmore, soon to be elected Vice President of the United States, was a founder and original trustee of the new bank.

The late 1970's and the 1980's brought rapid growth and expansion and a new corporate name - Golddome. But this growth sowed the seeds of difficulties which were to overtake the bank by 1990 and the popular bank was sold to M&T Bank and Goldome Center is now known as M&T Center. Directly cross Main Street are the twin towers of Key Bank Center at Fountain Plaza and also Fleet Bank, formerly Liberty National Bank. Fleet Bank is joined by a glass-enclosed walkway to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the former Genesee Building designed by E.B. Green.

Theodore Roosevelt Plaza at the main door of the Buffalo Savings Bank building contains a statue of "The Hiker", the work of A.G. Newman, representing Buffalo's participation in the Spanish-American War in 1898 and honoring Theodore Roosevelt who took the presidential oath of office in Buffalo in 1901 (see 28-A).