E. B. Green - Table
Edward Brodhead Green - Biography
E. B. Green in Perspective
E. B. Green produced over 370 buildings from Maine to Indiana. Over 200 still exist in the buffalo area. Although he cannot be considered a stylistic innovator, he was a master at working in a variety of historic vocabularies as he catered to society's upper crust.
E. B. Green was born in Utica, New York in 1855. He was graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of architecture degree in 1878 and was the eighth architect to be registered by the State University of New York.
After three years as a junior architect working for William Miller in Ithaca and teaching at Cornell for a year, he and William Sydney Wicks, an M.I.T. graduate in 1881, opened an architectural practice in Auburn, New York (1880). They moved to 69 Genesee Street in Buffalo in 1881.
Edward B. Green, Sr.
When Green was 30 (1885), he designed the particularly outstanding Buffalo Crematory.
In 1887, Green married Harriet B. Edson. The couple would have two sons and a daughter.
Beginning in 1892, the firm began to receive a succession of large residential orders that eventually were to include nearly every other house on what was then Buffalo's most exclusive street, Delaware Avenue. Between 1892 and the end of 1893, Green designed ten grand homes in a variety of styles, mostly Renaissance revival, for example the Charles W. Goodyear House at 888 Delaware in 1903, the George B. Matthews House at 830 Delaware, the George V. Foreman House at 824 Delaware, and the Stephen Clement House at 786 Delaware in 1913.
Green designed the M.H. Birge and Sons Company Building in 1895 and, in 1896, a townhouse for its president Henry Birge, at 477 Delaware Avenue. In 1900, Green designed the casino and boathouse for Delaware Park Lake. Only the boat house level of this building survives, and the shoreline of the lake has long since been changed due to projects arising from the need to stem the flow of pollution down Scajaquada Creek. Green was also responsible for the design of the cast bronze lamps throughout the park.
Green (along with fellow Buffalo architects George Cary and August Esenwein) was named to the Pan-American Board of Architects and designed three buildings for the Exposition.
Edward Green was a man of strong convictions who believed passionately in the dignity and power of history. As a young man, he mastered the Classical and Tudor Revival styles, and, with the exception of a few brief detours into other design idioms, was most comfortable working within the confines of these forms. His strength as a businessman probably derived from the realization the he was not an innovator, like Richardson, Sullivan, or Wright, nor did he wish to be. Instead, he chose to perfect his talent for adapting historic architectural forms of his clients' needs (which could only improve social credibility for the "newly-arrived" in Buffalo society).
During his long lifetime, E. B. Green had a relationship with Buffalo that was so strong that he was the very often first among local architects to receive commissions for the design of the city's significant civic, commercial, educational, religious, and residential buildings. The sheer volume of important buildings he produced was remarkable by standards of any architect's output. In general, his style seems to have depended to a large extent on whichever revival style was currently preferred by his clients. During a 72-year career, he designed more than 370 major structures from Maine to Indiana with more than two-thirds of them in the city of Buffalo. More than 160 of his Buffalo buildings survive to the delight of local people.
E.B. Green and John J. Albright
E.B. Green's most devoted client was John J. Albright, who first hired the firm around 1890. This commission came upon the death of Albright's father, who lived for many years in Scranton, Pennsylvania, before moving to Buffalo, and had maintained close ties with the town. Having made a fortune in the coal business, Mr. Albright Sr. left a substantial amount of money and land to the town of Scranton to build a library. Green and Wicks' design of the library was based upon the French Gothic Chateau de Josselin with its succession of steep roof dormers, engaged tower, and entrance with elaborate tracery.
In 1897, Albright hired Green's office to design a complex
to house an immigrant aid society, to be called "Welcome Hall." This organization,
run by the ladies of the First
Presbyterian Church at Symphony Circle, provided temporary
housing, an infirmary, child-care, and vocational training for newly arrived immigrants.
For the Pan-American Exposition they also designed the (Albright) art gallery. Although the building would not be completed in time for the Pan-American Exposition, the siting of the gallery on a knoll at the western end of Delaware Park Lake inspired Green to produce one of his best and most scholarly designs. In reverence for the English Landscape Movement, Green turned to English Renaissance gardens such as Stowe and Stourhead for design inspiration. These huge, private parks with their rolling meadows, shady copses, and picturesque lakes were dotted with Greek temples and miniature Roman pantheons, all framed in an embrace of hundred-year old trees.
Realizing that this was one of the most important design commissions of his career, Green spared no effort in creating the most academically-correct Greek Temple his firm was capable of producing. To this end, he persuaded Albright that the design would not be complete without caryatids, sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, supporting the roofs of the north and south porches (which were not installed until 1933). The success of this building brought two more art gallery commissions into Green's office for the Ohio cities of Toledo in 1912 and Dayton in 1927-30, when work was becoming scarce.
Green is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery near John J. Albright.(Photo).
See also: Review of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center exhibit "Burchfield Show Honors Legendary Buffalo Architect"
- "Chronology of E. B. Green," by Lisa Brown, published in the Burchfield-Penny catalog of the 1997 E. B. Green exhibit
- "Buffalo Architecture: A Guide," by Francis R. Kowsky, et. al. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1981
- "The Gallery Architects: Edward B. Green and Gordon Bunshaft," by John Douglas Sanford
- "The Architecture of of E. B. Green: A Vanishing Urban Legacy," by Catherine Faust, published in the Burchfield-Penny catalog of the 1997 E. B. Green exhibit