Buffalo State Hospital

Construction of Buffalo State Hospital began in 1871 and was not completed until 1895, although patients were admitted well before that year. The building was designed by H. H. Richardson and the grounds were planned by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (largely responsible for the design of New York City's Central Park).

Originally five ward buildings extended from each side of the central structure, but three were demolished from the eastern wing in the late sixties — apparently to make room for a newer building. The hallways connecting the wards are curved in order to discourage the placement of patient beds within them if the wards became overcrowded. Because of funding problems during construction, the end wards are made of brick, while the main administration building and the first two ward sections off either side are in stone. Even though the hospital is enormous and has plenty of visually interesting points, the eye is continually drawn back to the imposing double towers which crown the administration building. There is no question where authority resided in this hospital.

The state of New York recently replaced the slate roof of the building and did some other work to prevent further damage to the structure from the elements and vandalism. The future of this Kirkbride is still unclear however. There has been talk of the brick wards being demolished because they are too decrepit to be renovated. The Richardson Center Corporation, a non-profit organization with a mission of rehabilitating the complex is currently working to create an Architecture and Visitor's Center for the city of Buffalo in the administration section.

Other names for this hospital:

  • Buffalo State Lunatic Asylum
  • Buffalo Psychiatric Center


Forum Topics

Hotel In Central Building Now Open
If you ever wanted to stay in a hotel in a Kirkbride, the Hotel Henry (named for the building's architect) is now open:...
Support The Richardson Olmsted Complex
The Richardson Center Corporation is requesting donations to fund their mission of preserving the Buffalo...
Exterior Lighting Now Functional
Well, they are apparently $10 million into the proposed $100 million restoration...

Blog Posts

Buffalo Kirkbride Tours
Public tours of the Buffalo Kirkbride building have been scheduled for this fall! The one hour guided tours will take place on Saturday, October 15th; Sunday, October 16th; and...
Richardson Complex Triage
Queenseyes at Buffalo Rising posted about his authorized look inside the Buffalo State Hospital Kirkbride after the recent fire. From his write-up, it appears the damage was very...
Buffalo Kirkbride Fire
I'm a bit late writing about this here, but I think it's important enough to make a post regardless. There was a fire on the second floor of the admin in the Buffalo State...