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Letter: Designs are incompatible with character of Elmwood

Designs are incompatible with character of Elmwood

As decades-long Elmwood homeowners who led the Elmwood Historic District National Register of Historic Places designation and as lifelong fans of The News, we are very disappointed that the editorial board, which has been a longtime, statewide leader in all things historic preservation, would let its leadership whither in the face of developer-driven density and favor cramming more into Buffalo’s already densest residential historic district, forgetting historic preservation principles.

The primary issue about the proposed projects is not density, it’s historic character. The projects proposed at Elmwood and Forest avenues and at Elmwood and Bidwell Parkway involve the demolition of nearly two dozen buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places, without improved designs proposed in their place. The designs are incompatible with the character of our Elmwood Historic District neighborhood.

The proposed buildings are gigantic in relation to their low-rise context, grossly designed and detailed in relation to the classical proportions and finely detailed craftsmanship of their neighbors, and are incompatible with the adjacent National Historic Landmark-designated Buffalo Psychiatric Center, the former asylum that was designed as a park-like home by H.H. Richardson, in concert with Frederick Law Olmsted.

The capable architects and developers involved today can do better. They should be working with the community under the auspices of the Buffalo Preservation Board at determining appropriate and compatible new design in historic districts. Take the time to prepare proposals for new buildings that will extend Elmwood’s historic character, which has gracefully accrued over 150 years since Olmsted’s arrival, and be legacies for generations to come.

Alma and Clinton Brown


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