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24 High Street

photo of building
Current Name: 24 High Street
Former Name: Third Home of the Medical School
Location: Downtown, Lost Buildings

Historical Note:

Long before the stretch of High Street between Main and Michigan became an enclave of medicine and science, an imposing citadel stood at the northeast corner of Main and High streets.¹ A true medical palazzo, the new building at 24 High Street was built in 1893 by architect George Cary in the Italian Renaissance style.

Cary, brother of Dr. Charles Cary, Professor of Clinical Medicine at UB, was architect of some of the most recognizable buildings in Buffalo including the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society and the gates and administration building of Forest Lawn Cemetery. The Medical School would not move out of the 24 High Street building until 1953 when Capen Hall (now Farber Hall) was built. Later, architects James, Meadows & Howard would expand the South Campus Health Sciences complex to include Sherman and Cary Halls where the Schools of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy and the Department of Biology would reside until later expansions.

The building at 24 High Street was praised at its dedication on March 7, 1893 for being the perfect balance between "utility and convenience" and "architectural symmetry." Dr. Charles Cary stated in his dedication speech:

It was partly for the sake of this educating influence, as well as for economy, strength, safety, and cleanliness, that the open system of internal construction was adopted, which avoids all concealed spaces, and exposes every plank and timber and every pipe to view -- so that a walk through the building may be said to be a lesson in anatomy.

The building contains three lecture rooms, with a seating capacity varying from 100 to 350 chairs; several private offices; a dispensary large enough to care for 250 patients daily; chemical-anatomical, physiological, pathological, and bacteriological laboratories, and excellent accommodations for the medical and scientific library, as well as rooms devoted to the use of the various branches of the medical department… The library rooms are fire-proof, and contain our present library of about 4,000 volumes and 5,000 unbound pamphlets. They are capable of holding about 40,000 volumes.

¹The Medical Foundation of Buffalo, Inc. Newsletter, vol 8 no. 4 December 1979

  • 1893 -- Construction completed
  • 1893 -- (March 7) Dedication ceremony held 

Original Architect: George Cary
Construction Cost: $125,000
Original Size: 12,000 sq. ft.