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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 25-A Edmund Hayes Halls (1993)

25-A Edmund Hayes Halls (1993)

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

The State University of New York at Buffalo was founded in 1846 as the University of Buffalo consisting of a single medical college. Millard Fillmore was named to the ceremonial office of chancellor that same year, a position he held until his death in 1874 at his Buffalo home on Niagara Square.

In 1886 the School of Pharmacy was added, followed by the Law School in 1887 and the School of Dentistry in 1892 and the University of Buffalo took on a new look. With growth came a concern for more classroom space and possible future expansion. In 1909 the University purchased 106 acres of land in North Buffalo, the former home of the Erie County Almshouse and Hospital, but it was not until the 1920's that funds were raised to actually develop the property and convert the old buildings for use as an educational facility.

The nurses home became the present Townsend Hall, the children's hospital became the present Wende Hall and the adult hospital, the largest of the buildings, was reconstructed, enlarged and dedicated as Hayes Hall. The familiar and much-loved clock tower was completed in 1927. Hayes Hall honors General Edmund Hayes, a principal benefactor and long-time trustee of the University who gained prominence as a bridge builder through his Union Bridge Company of Buffalo.

Nearby Foster Hall was opened in 1922 and its "twin" Crosby Hall sometime later. The first Norton Union and the original Lockwood Library were constructed in the early 1930's. Beck Hall, just to the south of Hayes Hall, replicates the Holland Land Company building in Batavia, New York, headquarters for all the land transactions in Western New York during the early 19th century. All the stone used for these buildings came from a quarry located on site - the familiar gray Onondaga limestone which supplanted the red Medina sandstone of an earlier building period.

In 1962 the private University of Buffalo became the largest unit of the State University of New York system under the leadership of Dr. Clifford Furnas. In October 1968, ground was broken for a new "North Campus" in Amherst, New York and the old "South Campus" is now largely given over to the health and medical sciences. Hayes Hall is appropriately the home of the School of Architecture and Environmental Design which began renovations to the campus landmark in 1977.