Selkirk’s Buffalo Gas Co.
Illuminating Gas Company
I do not have a recollection of this building from my childhood. I do, however, distinctly remember driving to college everyday during my undergrad days and seeing this facade after passing the Skyway. I was notorious for staring at the Romanesque beauty and then getting lost in a daydream. I wondered what that beautiful building was and why there was only one wall standing. I knew there had to be some significance, but what!? Shortly after graduating with my bachelors, Blue Cross and Blue Shield purchased the Brownfield and integrated the historic architecture into their innovative design. At that point, my level of inquiry for researching the history of the structure faded… until now.
The Buffalo Gas Light Company, (1848) was strategically located on both Lake Erie & the Erie Canal so that coal could be easily unloaded for the use of the gas company. The 250 ft. ashlar stone Romanesque facade was designed by Buffalo’s 1st architect, John H Selkirk. The structure is technically no longer located on the waterfront due to the water being filled in. This façade is all that remains of the structure. The asset was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is ironic because it was put on the list well before the remaining portion of the building was demolished.
The Blue Cross building is innovative and I am grateful that they utilized that land, but the old facade and new building were not united cohesively or with continuity. If Selkirk were still alive, I feel that the building would have a much different design.