Historic Asylums

Buffalo State Hospital

aka Buffalo Psychiatric Center

Buffalo, New York

Established 1871, still in use (?)
Architect: H.H.Richardson. In terms of the stature of the architect who designed it, this is the most important historic state hospital building.

Other recommended site: New York State Asylum for the Insane [NYSAsylum]

"Frederick Law Olmsted was responsible for the landscaping of the New York State Asylum for the Insane (now the Buffalo Psychiatric Center) at 400 Forest Avenue, Buffalo. The imposing facility was designed by Henry H. Richardson and constructed between 1871 and 1895. It occupied all the land between Elmwood Avenue and Grant Street from Forest Avenue to the Scajaquada Creek, and included a working farm which provided both employment and sustenance to the patients. The asylum grounds, along with Forest Lawn cemetery to the East, considerably extended the green space of The Park (now Delaware Park). The plantations of the main buildings provided them with a quiet setting and buffered them from the bustle of the city. The northern (farm) portion of the site has become the grounds of the campus of Buffalo State College. Other significant portions of Olmsted's plan for the site, as well as some significant sections of Richardson's buildings, have been destroyed by parking lots and modern construction."

quoted from "Olmstedin Buffalo"

The New York State Asylum for the Insane, circa 1906. New York State Hospital

Other Images:

  • Modern photo of one tower (photo byJohn Leising)
  • Very old map of asylum
  • Recent map of asylum area
  • Modern photo, two towers (photo byJohn Leising)
  • Large detailed black and white photo (photo by George Rowe, made available by Mr. John Meier and the City of Buffalo)
  • Historic postcard, main building and gate
  • Two towers in winter(photo credit: UB Dept. of Art History Visual Resources)
  • Modern photo of entrance (photo by JohnLeising)
  • Another color photo of two towers
    The photos by John Leising are used by permission, from "Keep the Zoo". Thanks also to Bob Shear for improving the display quality of some of the photographs.


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