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UB’s Hayes Hall now on National Historic Register

The University at Buffalo’s most recognizable building – Hayes Hall – has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The landmark stone structure, which faces Main Street on UB’s South Campus in Buffalo, was built in the late 1870s as an insane asylum.

The university acquired the property in 1909 as a cornerstone of a new campus. It was named Hayes Hall after Edmund B. Hayes, an engineer and businessman who served on the university council and bequeathed $389,000 to the university upon his death in 1923.

After a redesign in 1926 that included the installation of the building’s signature clocktower and Westminster chimes, Hayes became UB’s main administrative building.

It has been home since 1977 to the School of Architecture and Planning, formerly the School of Architecture and Environment Design.

The building was closed in 2011 for a $43.5 million exterior restoration and interior overhaul. It reopened this year, and a grand re-opening event is scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24.

“Embodied in the ‘bricks and mortar’ of buildings are stories that lend to their historic significance. Part of Hayes’ significance is that throughout its history it has been ‘modernized’ to meet the demands of function and use,” said Kerry Traynor, clinical assistant professor of urban and regional planning at UB. Traynor prepared the final National Register application with the state’s historic preservation office. The building, Traynor added, “remains the symbolic nucleus of South Campus and the university. Its bells ring out as they did almost 90 years ago.”

Hayes Hall is the first UB building to receive the historic designation.

“Hayes Hall has always been a celebrated landmark for the University at Buffalo and our surrounding region. Now, thanks to research and a nomination prepared by our faculty and students, it’s nationally recognized as a building of architectural significance,” said Robert G. Shibley, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “It’s a clear indicator of the university’s commitment to historic preservation and adaptive reuse.”

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