The Clocks of Buffalo
As a kid, I remember driving on the I-190 towards downtown and thinking that Buffalo was this huge city. I was maybe ten, heading to a Bison's game at then called Pilot Field. I remember being interested in the unique designs of each building, counting as many church steeples as possible, and rolling down the window to try and catch a scent of cheerios.  The view of Buffalo heading north on the I-190 is still my favorite skyline perspective after years of photographing the city. This hobby has given me the privilege to learn more about these buildings I once admired as a kid. The more I discover, the more I appreciate the history and unique architecture we have here in Buffalo. 
The idea of doing a project dedicated to the clocks of Buffalo stemmed from another idea I've had for a while, focusing on the churches of WNY (this one will take a bit longer, but I touch on some of them in this project). The image to the left came to fruition after leaving Pearl Street Brewery with a few oatmeal stouts consumed. This view is from the corner of W Seneca and Franklin, looking north. 
The Catholic Church began incorporating clock towers into their buildings sometime after AD 600, pulling the idea from military watchtowers. They became taller and a more profound piece to the Church buildings over the years, leading many to view the steeples as "attempts to reach the heavens".  As more churches began erecting around major cities in America, it became common design to include exterior clocks on the steeples. The pairing of steeples/towers and clocks expanded past just churches, becoming common to design them into many terminal stations, banks and courthouses across the country. 
In the lead image, the forefront clock rests on the steeple of St. Joseph's Cathedral on Franklin Street. Buffalo's first Bishop, John Timon, established St. Joseph's Cathedral in 1847. The cornerstone of the Church reads 1851, with completion in 1863. The tower boasted a 43 bell carillon from France, which at the time was the largest in the United States and third largest in the world. Today, two of the 43 bells remain. St. Joseph's still currently serves as the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Their clocks, on the other hand, seemed to have retired from operation...
I know I'm missing a few obvious clocks here, including the wall-mounted clock on the corner of the Union Stock Yards Bank on Broadway and Fillmore. There are many other magnificent churches with tall standing steeples displaying a clock or two. Many Western New York villages boast similar corner standing clock posts similar to the one found on Pearl and Main (picture below). These are the ones that stand out to me. These are the clocks on Buffalo's grandest buildings. These are the clocks that make me appreciate Buffalo for what it is - a small city with a lot to offer! OK, I'm done nerding out over clocks... Hope you enjoy the photographs and captions below!

The Old Post office is a fine example of High Victorian Romanesque and was designed by Rochester's Andrew Jackson Warner. The clock tower stands a prominent 209 feet tall and boasts  the four colossal female figures of Justice, Mechanical Arts, Agriculture and Commerce. The four clocks on the tower are still fully functional today, and light up beautifully at night!

Here is an aerial view of the Buffalo Savings Bank. First opened in 1901, the Buffalo Savings Bank building is a neoclassical, Beaux-Arts Style structure currently operating as a branch for M&T Bank. Its most prominent feature is the gold-leafed dome that everyone recognizes and loves. Above the main columned entrance is nine-foot clock, tucked perfectly between thousands of terra-cotta tiles and copper trimmings. Considered one of the most unique buildings in all of Buffalo, the main entrance and clock face towards Roosevelt Plaza and a newly rejuvenated section of Main Street downtown. Seeing the sun glare off the gold dome roof never gets old.

St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church. Broadway at Emslie Street, Buffalo, NY. 

Downtown Buffalo isn't the only area to find grand churches boasting tall steeples and bell towers. Buffalo's east side has a rich history of diverse population and as a result, an abundance of churches including the great St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church. As the oldest Polish Church in the Diocese of Buffalo, it holds the proud title of "Mother Church of Polonia", displaying a fine example of pure Romanesque design. The parish was established in 1873 and the original church at this location was a simple two story wooden structure. As the number of parishioners rapidly grew, the current day Church was erected and completed by 1886. The twin towers weren't completed until 1908, reaching just over 217 feet tall. Each tower has four six and a half foot tall clocks facing each direction. 

Saint Adalbert's Basilica, is a historic Roman Catholic church located on Buffalo, New York's East Side within the Diocese of Buffalo. It is a prime example of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture in both its opulence and grand scale. The clocks have since been removed from the dual front towers. 

The Corpus Christi R.C. Church Complex is a series of several buildings located on Buffalo's historic East Side within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

A storm in 2000 destroyed the left tower's cupola and cross, resulting in an expensive restoration. Only part of the restoration was covered by insurance, hence the mismatched cupolas. In 2005, the diocese restored each of the clock faces, clock bells, pipe organ and numerous interior pieces. Six other Polish congregations have formed in Polonia since St. Stanislaus was built, including another set of twin clock tower churches in Corpus Christi and St. Adalbert's Basilica (both shown in the gallery below, St. Adalbert's clocks since removed). 

The Corpus Christi R.C. Church Complex is a series of several buildings located on Buffalo's historic East Side within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

The Buffalo Central Terminal, also found in Polonia, is a grand Art Deco building and former railway station. Although I'm focusing more on clock towers and exterior clocks, I have to shift gears to the interior clock at the terminal as I learned an interesting fact while researching. In the late 1980's, Thomas Telesco gained ownership of the building as being the only bidder in bankruptcy court. After taking ownership, he quickly began selling off many of the valuable artifacts inside the terminal, including the now famous clock in the center of the concourse. By 1997, the non-profit Central Terminal Restoration Corp. took ownership and quickly began raising money to restore and promote the complex. One of the first things they restored were the exterior clocks on the 10th floor of the main tower. After restoration, they were re-lit on October 1, 1999 for the first time in over 20 years. Shortly afterwards, the missing interior clock, sold years early, was located in Chicago with it's new owners. The CTRC and WBEN helped raise over $25K (including a large donation from M&T Bank!) to buy the clock back to display once again in the center of the concourse, this time permanently. I found it quite interesting and significant that two of the first priorities by CTRC were with the clocks on and inside the building. 

St. Louis R.C. Church is arguably one of the prettiest churches in all of Western New York. Its beautiful and bold Gothic Revival design takes me back to my 2016 trip to Vienna where we toured St. Stephen's Cathedral. I'm not making comparisons, but it's certainly the closest thing we have to it here in Buffalo. The front steeple stands 245 feet tall, boasting a 72-foot tall pierced spire, the tallest openwork spire built of stone in the United States. St. Louis parish was founded in 1829, making it one of the oldest in the area. The original church unfortunately burned in 1885, leading the way for the bigger and grander St. Louis R.C. Church that we see today. Inside, it is my favorite church in all of Buffalo. 

A clock post at the corner of Main and Pearl Streets entering downtown Buffalo, NY.

Part of Buffalo's Skyline with St. Joseph's steeple in the foreground. 

The Old Post Office clock taken during a Buffalo summer sunset.

A telephoto shot of the Buffalo Savings Bank taken from Main Street. Notice all the beautiful scroll work above and below the clock!

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