Bennett Grain Elevator

Erie Street

architect: Robert Dunbar

owner: David S. Bennett

years built: 1885

demolished: Early 1900s

While the battle of the styles was fought out uptown and downtown, Dunbar continued to build great elevators along the lake front. They were larger than the grain elevators designed by Oliver Evans but perhaps less romantic.

Their vast, unornamented surfaces, bold cantilevers, and clearly organized functional forms suggest architectural possibilities for America which even Louis Sullivan hardly grasped.

At any rate, in the new century, Buffalo maintained the standard of industrial architecture which Robert Dunbar had initiated, much better than the standard for skyscrapers which Louis Sullivan had used in his Prudential Building.

Industrial buildings, elevators, and the work of Sullivan’s pupil, Wright, provide the finest architecture in twentieth century Buffalo. The line established by McKim, Mead, and White, however, was to be more generally followed.

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