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THE TERRA COTTA TRAIL

Architectural terra cotta is most concentrated in the Theater District, where it adorns numerous 19th- and early 20th-century buildings located in the 600 and 700 blocks of Main Street.

They include:

1. The Market Arcade, 617 Main St. Designed by Edward B. Green and William S. Wicks, Beaux-Arts, 1892. The building's extravagantly decorated ornamental twin facades feature tall Corinthian columns, round-arched portals and buffalo heads.

2. Otto Building, 636-644 Main St. Designed by Edward Kent, Beaux-Arts elements, 1896. Now home to Theater Place, the Italian Baroque facade building features terra cotta entablature, egg-and-dart and other Classical Revival elements. Kent was the lone Buffalonian to die aboard the Titanic in 1912.

3. Shea's Performing Arts Center, 646 Main St. Designed by Cornelius and George Rapp, Beaux-Arts, 1926. The front facade's classic features include a frieze, dentiled cornice and ornamental panels and spandrels.

4. Perron Company Building, 674 Main St. Designed by Edward Kent, Beaux-Arts, 1895. The ornamental features of the building, now home to Tent City, are a prime example of Neo-Classical commercial design.

5. Ansonia Centre, 712-726 Main St. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson, Art Nouveau, 1906. The glazed cream and green terra cotta boasts a chestnut tree motif.

6. Spaulding Building, 763-767 Main St. Designed by McCreary, Wood & Bradney, Beaux Arts, 1906. The building hosts white-glazed terra cotta, elaborate fluted Ionic columns, leaf-and-dart, banded pilasters and other classic ornamentation.

7. Sidway Building, 775-773 Main St. Designed by McCreary, Wood & Bradney, Beaux Arts, 1907. The unglazed, red-brick terra cotta details include modillions, rosettes and festoons.

8. Courier Express Building, 785-795 Main St., Monk & Johnson, Art Deco, 1930. The Buffalo Diocese's current home includes terra cotta bas-relief sculptures portraying the cycle of newspaper production, and green-tiled Celtic motifs.

. . . And around the corner, on Chippewa Street. . .

9. The Calumet Building, 46-58 W. Chippewa St. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson, Art Nouveau, 1906. The lavishly decorated Calumet features a ceremonial peace pipe motif in cream and burnt sienna.

10. The Robert Keating Root Building, 70-86 W. Chippewa St. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson, Beaux Arts, 1912. The white-glazed terra cotta brick offers a variety of Classical Revival ornamentation.

11. The Electric Tower, 535 Washington St. Designed by Esenwein & Johnson, Beaux-Arts, 1912. The white terra cotta-clad, octagonal-shaped building, crowned with a cupola, was inspired by the Electric Tower of the 1905 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. The architects designed the Temple of Music.

12. Of course, no downtown viewing can be complete without laying eyes on the terra cotta-clad Guaranty Building, 30 Church St., an early skyscraper designed by heralded architect Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler. The 1896 building, now undergoing restoration by its owner, Hodgson Russ, is one of the country's premier examples of terra cotta.

-- Mark Sommer

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