A good place to begin touring Buffalo is Niagara Square, which centers on the McKinley Monument, designed by architects Carrere and Hastings. The monument honors President William McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo while attending the 1901 Pan-American Exposition.
Dominating Niagara Square is the monumental art deco Buffalo City Hall (65 Niagara Square, 716/851-4200), erected in 1929. The hall’s front entrance is lined with eight Corinthian columns three stories high, while inside are vast, vaulted ceilings covered with sculpted figures and paintings depicting local history. An observation deck (716/851-4200, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free admission) on the 28th floor provides great views.
On Franklin Street just south of Niagara Square stands the 1870s Old County Hall (92 Franklin St., 716/852-2356, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon. –Fri.), where President Grover Cleveland got his start, first as a lawyer and then as mayor of Buffalo. Designed in the high Victorian Romanesque style, the building contains a lavish lobby done up in marble and bronze.
Church Street Architecture
Another block south, at the corner of Franklin and Church Streets, stands the Guaranty Building (28 Church St., 716/848-1335, tours available by appointment only), also known as the Prudential Building. Designed by Louis H. Sullivan in 1894, the 12-story terra-cotta skyscraper is covered with elaborate ornamentation repeated on the elevators and mosaic ceilings indoors.
One block farther east, at the corner of Church and Pearl Streets, reigns St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral (128 Pearl St., 716/855-0900, open to the public 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily). Designed by Richard Upjohn in the 1880s, the brown sandstone church features a front central tower topped with a tall, delicate spire.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition