New York Building

The New York State Building will have the distinction of being the only building to endure beyond the close of the Exposition. It was planned to be a permanent building, constructed of marble, referred to by the local press as the "marble heap." Buffalo architect George Cary was chosen to design the building, whose construction costs were borne by the State of New York ($100,000), the City of Buffalo ($25,000), and the Buffalo Historical Society ($25,000) whose permanent home the building was planned to become after the close of the Exposition. Construction on the 31,803 square foot building began in late spring 1900; the building opened July 1, 1901. Its formal opening was held on August 6, with invitations to the event sent to 1,000.

George Cary wrote the following description of the building for the Exposition's Art Hand-Book:

"The New York State Building is situated on the north side of the west bay of the park lake, near the Elmwood Avenue entrance. Used as the New York State Building during the Expositon, it is to remain afterward a permanent building for the Buffalo Historical Society. The building is of white Vermont marble, in the classic order of architecture known as the Greek Doric, being of the same order as the Parthenon at Athens, by Pericles. This would seem best to harmonize with the Albright Art Gallery on the opposite side of the water, designed in the spirit of the Erechtheum, which stands with the Parthenon on the Acropolis.

The Greek Doric is suggestive of solidity and force, has little carving, and its lines are all curved slightly upward. As exhibited in the monuments of the age of Pericles at Athens, the Greek Doric combines with solidity and force the most subtle and delicate refinement of outlines and proportions that architecture has known.

The building is a rectangle about 130 x 80 feet, and 50 feet high. On the north front is located the statue, "Aspiration," by Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney. The northern facade is faced with three-quarter colums, and the entrance is through a vestibule, the bronze doors of which were the gift of the president of the Buffalo Historical Society, Mr. Andrew Langdon. The panels on these doors, presenting "History," and "Ethnology," are the work of Perry. On the south, dividing the paths leading to the park, are Andersen's equestrian groups called "Progress," and between these two on the axis of the building is Andersen's bronze group termed "Affinity." At the starting-point of the grand marble staircase leading up to the southern entrance stands Elwell's statue of "Intelligence"...

The southern entrance is through a portico 61 x 17 feet, embellished by ten Doric columns, and commanding a view of the park lake, the electric fountains, and the park.

The floor-level is taken 7 feet above ground to the north, while to the south the grade is kept at the ground-level of the basement, so as to get good light, and to enter the bicycle-room and other rooms of the basement direct. The height of the basement is 14 feet. Here is the dining-room, facing the park to the south, the bicycle-room, kitchen, and janitor's quarters(entered from the hall and also from the outside), also boiler-rooms, etc., and the storage-room to the west, under the audience hall. The ground floor is 15 feet hight. Here is the audience-hall, which seats 250 persons.

The library occupies and eastern end of the building on this floor, and between the library and the audience-hall is the grand hall, stairway, and gallery. This grand hall, finished in black marble and gold, the largest room on this floor, may be given over to museum purposes, opening up into the upper floor to be used for larger relics.

North of this grand hall is the lobby, giving access to the governor's room to the east, a committee-room to the west, to cloak-rooms and toilet rooms, as well as an entrance to all the other rooms on this floor.

The second floor runs up into the roof, making the rooms 18 feet high. It is lighted entirely by skylights, and will be used for museum purposes.

The building is absolutely fire-proof. It is planned to accomodate not only the ultimate needs of the Historical Society, but also the immediate needs of the Exposition. It is provided with a heating and ventilating plant, and is lighted by a thousand electric lights."


The former New York State Building will be transferred to the Buffalo Historical Society on December 21, 1901. The organization is now called The Buffalo History Museum.

In 1987, this building will be designated a National Historic Landmark.