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Torn-Down Tuesday: Erie County Savings Bank & Larkin Administration Building

Let’s get ready to crumble! It’s likely famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer has never stood before the wrecking ball and uttered such words, but how many demolitions during the height of Buffalo’s urban renewal were met with such fanfare?

Beginning in the 1950s, Buffalo – like many cities throughout the country – witnessed the demolition of its stock of 19th century and early 20th century buildings in place of, um, less memorable architecture (we’re looking at you, Brutalist movement) intended to re-energize its central business district. While many buildings were lost during this period, there are two buildings, in particular, that rankle most preservationists: the Erie County Savings Bank and the Larkin Administration Building.

The Buffalo You Should Know: How we lost the Larkin Administration Building

These two heavyweights dominated Buffalo’s landscape for the first part of the 20th century. The Erie County Savings Bank, constructed in 1893, stood at the intersection of Main and Church streets for 75 years until it was demolished for the Main Place Mall. All that remains of this Romanesque Revival office building are the pair of lion statues that stood sentry over its entryway; they now reside at SUNY Buffalo State.

The Larkin Administration Building, constructed in 1904-06, was built by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. It stood along Seneca Street. With the Larkin Soap Co. facing financial ruin in 1945, the building was foreclosed and sold to the Western Trading Co., which intended to demolish it for a truck stop. In 1950, Wright’s fabled office building was demolished not for a truck stop, but a parking lot.

The loss of these two iconic buildings is lamented to this day, but if you had to choose one, which building do you wish were still standing? Be sure to read over each building’s record and take our poll to determine the winner of this main event.

The Erie County Savings Bank
Built: 1893.
Demolished: 1968 for the Main Place Mall.
Architect: George B. Post, who also designed the Statler Hotel.
Built for: the headquarters of the Erie County Savings Bank.
Height: 10 stories.
Interesting fact: Thomas Edison was the consulting engineer in charge of the electrical installation.

The Larkin Administration Building
Built: 1904-06.
Demolished: 1950 for a parking lot.
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright, who also designed the Darwin Martin House.
Built for: the headquarters of the Larkin Soap Co.
Height: five stories.
Interesting fact: Frank Lloyd Wright designed everything from the furniture to the air conditioning.

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