The Gargoyles of Buffalo, NY

My recent article on the architecture of Buffalo inspired me to do some research and publish a photo blog post on a topic I've long been interested in: Gargoyles. By definition, a gargoyle is summarized as a grotesquely carved human or animal face or figure projecting from the gutter of a building, typically acting as a spout to carry water clear of a wall. The main purpose of the gargoyle is to prevent rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Early architects usually incorporated numerous gargoyles on a single building to evenly divide the flow of rainwater in case of a storm. Although the designs of these figures varied based on the architect's design, one common feature of most gargoyles was a through cut in the back and ran through the figure, having the rainwater exiting through it's open mouth. 
The history of the gargoyle dates all the way back to ancient Egyptian architecture, which commonly used lion heads as their common water spout. The Greeks, Romans and many other civilizations following also implemented gargoyles into their architectural styles. The gargoyle gained tremendous popularity among architects during the medieval ages, especially with the gothic-styled Catholic Churches. One of the most famous examples can be found on the Notre Dame de Paris. In addition to serving as spouts for water, the gaping mouths of these gargoyles evoked the fearsome destructiveness of these legendary beasts, reminding the population of the need for the church's protection from these evil creatures. During this time grotesques became quite popular as well, which were also grotesque figures however not acting as water spouts. 
Buffalo has a significant amount of gothic architecture, however I was surprised to only find a handful of these structures to have gargoyles incorporated into them. Below are a few examples of gargoyles I was able to find in Buffalo, with descriptions of where the buildings are, starting with 800 Ferry (lead image, plus next three images).

One of several gargoyles found at 800 West Ferry. This particular gargoyle face is of Darwin R Martin, the original owner of this 1929 apartment complex. This Tudor style apartment building was actually a house of many mansions with each arm of the x-shaped plan containing two-story apartments as spacious and well-appointed as any freestanding home. The grand apartments have since been split into single-floor units that are now sold rather than rented. The complex was designed by Bley & Lymon in 1929. 

The 800 W Ferry apartment complex boasts several unique gargoyles, including this Indian head on the south side of the building. 

Another gargoyle face of Darwin R Martin at 800 W Ferry.

Winged demon gargoyles found on the Samuel F Pratt Memorial at Forest Lawn Cemetery (there are 8 gargoyles in total on his memorial).

Full view of the Samuel F Pratt Memorial at Forest Lawn. Pratt was a successful businessman at an early age, becoming partner and owner in several manufacturing companies. In 1844 he became the first president of the Buffalo Gaslight Company and in 1851 was one of the founders of the Buffalo Seminary. Before his death in 1872, Pratt donated over $70K total to Buffalo General Hospital, Buffalo Orphan Asylum, Young Men's Christian Association, Home for the Friendless and Hamilton College. 

A grotesque gargoyle atop a rooftop peak at the Edwin Lang Miller House located at 175 Nottingham Terrace, Buffalo, NY

A humorous grotesque at the Miller House in the right corner. 

The Annie Lang Miller House is the largest mansion to be built on the former grounds of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. This was the site of the Honduras pavilion. The 12,000-square-foot Onondaga limestone mansion with Tudor Revival details, was erected 1929-1933, for Annie Lang Miller. She was the daughter of brewer Gerhard Lang. Her husband, Edwin George Simon Miller, who had been president of the Lang Brewery and the German-American Bank, had died in 1915. The principal architect was Duane Lyman, who also designed 800 West Ferry (above).

Two grotesque dog gargoyles made of tin can be found atop the Butler House at 429 Linwood Avenue. Although it's not confirmed if these two gargoyles are original to the house, it's another great example of unique styling for personal home design. 

Full view of the Butler House at 429 Linwood Avenue. This house was built for Edward H Butler, the founder and publisher of The Buffalo Evening News. The house was one of many built in the late 1880's as the city began to rapidly expand outwards from the downtown area. Linwood is a wonderful example of the serious architecture talent Buffalo once had. This Romanesque style boasts many medieval ornaments.

A lion gargoyle atop the Bemis & Ransom House at 267 North Street in Allentown, designed by architect Joseph Silsbee (who is also believed to have designed 429 Linwood previously shown). Believed to have been built in 1885, the house boasts a Queen Anne style with Flemish Renaissance influence. 

The Old Post Office Building features a TON of details, most importantly several fierce gargoyles as shown above. Now serving as a branch of Erie Community College, this 1900 building is an impressive 225,000 square feet and balances the styles of Victorian Gothic and Richardsonian Romanesque with it's Maine Granite exterior. Shown above are two extending gargoyles (of 4) on the main square tower and are not waterspouts, however indicative of the primary gothic style by the architects. 

Another view of the square tower from the Old Post Office with three of the gargoyles in view.

I'm going to leave you with my original inspiration for this post: My trip to Europe in 2015. My wife and I visited Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Munich for a total of two weeks. As we took in all the architecture and history these wonderful places have to offer, the DOZENS of gargoyles atop St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle really stuck with me. Here's a few of my favorite from my visit to Prague, enjoy! 
PS: If anyone wants to start a gargoyle fan club, just let me know :) 
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