Share this article

print logo

The Buffalo of Yesteryear: The Palace Arcade (but not the one you're thinking of)

Many people know the story of how Buffalo’s Market Arcade, formerly called “the Palace Arcade,” reopened in 1995 following a $10 million redevelopment project that restored the architectural gem to its original glory.

But that Palace Arcade – built in 1892 at 617 Main St., near East Chippewa Street – was actually Buffalo’s second Palace Arcade. The first one, at Lafayette Square (Main and Clinton streets), was built in 1855 and destroyed by a fire in December 1893, according to the website Buffalo Architecture and History. The old arcade, the largest office building in the city at the time, housed a music hall, a theater and a jeweler, among other businesses, according to the site.

A photo of the original arcade, dubbed the “Old Palace Arcade,” appears in the history book “Buffalo – Old and New,” published in 1901, nearly a decade after the building burned down.

In fact, by the time of the book’s publication, a new structure had been built in the old arcade’s place – the Brisbane Building, which remains today and hosts the Buffalo Niagara Visitor Center, among other tenants.

The Brisbane Building was originally called the Mooney & Brisbane Building, and it reclaimed the mantle as the largest mercantile and office building in the city.

Meanwhile, what Buffalonians now know as the Market Arcade was built a few blocks north by architects E.B. Green and W.S. Wicks, according to Buffalo Place. The architects modeled the building after an arcade in London.

“It serves as a collection of indoor shops and office space and is the best-surviving example of such a retail complex within the city,” Buffalo Place says on its website. “The Market Arcade re-opened in 1995 after a $10 million renovation featuring terra cotta, Corinthian columns and elaborate ornamentation.”

The arcade is “generally regarded as the forerunner of the contemporary suburban mall,” according to Buffalo Architecture and History.

There are no comments - be the first to comment