Eliza Quirk


An Irish immigrant who crossed the Atlantic Ocean on her own as a teenager, Ms. Quirk would make her way to Buffalo and use sex work in the notorious canal district to sup- port herself. She managed to work her way up to become a property owner, eventually building at least three different boarding houses. Boarding houses are largely seen as an enabling factor toward urbanization, by allowing single people places to live as they left rural communities for the opportunities offered by the industrial city. In looking at her final property at 72 Sycamore Street, it is hard not to think of Hitchcock’s description of that same era’s architecture: “[Buffalo]’s houses and public buildings were de- signed by owners and builders, not by architects; and were built according to the rigid but gracious formula of transitional basis and Classical detail…Never again was Buffalo architecture to be so consistent and so satisfying.”

174th Regiment Armory
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