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Edmund B. Hayes Hall

photo of building
Location: South

Historical Note:

Hayes Hall, a historic landmark on the UB South Campus, is now the home of the School of Architecture and Planning. With its bell tower, complete with Westminster chimes, Hayes Hall is the most stately and recognizable building on campus. Originally part of the Erie County Almshouse, after its acquisition by UB it was the home of the University's main administrative offices.

At the dedication ceremony, Chancellor Samuel Capen recognized how Hayes Hall would become a central image to the University. He stated:

"From its nature and its central position this building is destined to be the focus of the life of the University for many years, perhaps for many generations. It will be preeminently the visual symbol of the University both to the members of the institution and to the community at large."

Hayes Hall Tower Clock and Westminster Chime

The tower clock and Westminster chime in the tower of Edmund Hayes Hall were the gift of Mrs. Edward H. Butler, a long-time University Council member. Kate Robinson Butler (1891-1974) was the wife of Edward H. Butler, president of the Buffalo Evening News. After the death of her husband she took over operations of the paper. At the time of her death, Mrs. Butler was both president and publisher of the News as well as the president of WBEN, Inc.

The Hayes Hall clock and bells were installed in July 1928 and set in operation on the evening of July 19, 1928. The dials of the clock are 7 feet, 4 inches in diameter and are located 105 feet above the sidewalks at the entrance to the building. The four bells, which make a complete Westminster chime, are located in the open belfry above the clock, 120 feet above the ground. Each bell bears an inscription related to learning.

The Largest Bell

The largest bell, weighing 1,800 pounds, is tuned exact F. It is used to strike the hours as well as for the quarter strike. It bears the following inscription, written by Cuthbert W. Pound, Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals:

All truth is one. In this light may science and religion labor here together for the steady evolution of mankind from darkness to light; from prejudice to tolerance; from narrowness to broadmindedness.

The Second Bell

The second bell weighs 750 pounds and is tuned exact B-flat. It bears the following inscription, taken from James Russel Lowell's "Present Crisis:"

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still and onward Who would keep abreast with truth.

The Third Bell

The third bell weighs 550 pounds and is tuned exact C. Its inscription is the sixteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter of Proverbs, and reads:

How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

The Fourth Bell

The fourth bell, which weighs 400 pounds is tuned exact D. Its inscription was written by Judge Pound and reads:

I am the voice of life; I call you: "Come and learn."

*Information on Hayes Hall Clock Tower and Chimes taken from: From the University Council General Administration Committee minutes, Sept. 19, 1928


Brigadier General Edmund B. Hayes (1849-1923) was an engineer and businessman who built bridges and manufactured automobiles. He was a member of the University Council from 1920 to 1923. He left a total bequest of $389,000 to the University.

  • 1874 -- Building built to house the Insane Department of the Erie County Almshouse
  • 1893 -- Building converted to a 400-bed County Hospital
  • 1909 -- Almshouse site acquired by the University Council
  • 1916 -- Edmund Hayes gives $250,000 to the University
  • 1927 -- Hospital is renovated and remodeled
  • 1928 -- (February 22) Hayes Hall is dedicated
  • 1928 -- (July) Tower Clock and Westminster Chime are installed
  • 1983 -- Tower Clock stopped shortly after the retirement of its long-time maintainer, Kenneth Cott, UB general mechanic
  • 1988 -- (Fall) Hayes Hall Complex, including Wende, Beck, and Townsend Halls, was designated as a local landmark by the Buffalo Preservation Board
  • 1989 -- (May-July) Tower Clock is repaired by Marvin F. DeBoy
  • 1989 -- (December 12) Hayes Hall is dedicated as a historic landmark by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier
  • 2011 -- Building closed for renovation
  • 2016 -- Renovations complete

Original Architect: George Metzger
Original Contractors: Cyrus K. Porter & Sons

Renovation Architect: Jesse Porter
Renovation Cost: $526,778, remodeling
Renovation Size: 80,282 sq. ft.

2nd Renovation Architect: Bergmann Associates
2nd Renovation Contractors: Chase Construction Services
2nd Renovation Cost: $45 million

4th floor attic reclaimed for usable space.