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


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