Illustrated Architecture Dictionary ................. Styles of Architecture

Concrete Block 'Fireproof' Houses in Buffalo, NY

Houses of concrete blocks simulating stone were widely advocated by early 20th-century pattern books as a novel new building method. -- "A Field Guide to American Houses"


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Click on photos to enlarge

St. Andrews Church Parish House, 3105 Main St., Buffalo. The concrete blocks have been painted.

St. Andrews Church Parish House, 3105 Main St., Buffalo.

St. Andrews Church Parish House. The concrete blocks have been painted.

Elmwood Ave. - Buffalo. Two neighboring concrete block porches

Right: 1091 Elmwood

Right: 1091 Elmwood

Right: 1091 Elmwood

339 Aurora St., Lancaster, a suburb of Buffalo

339 Aurora

339 Aurora

339 Aurora

l40 Maple Ave., Village of Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo

l40 Maple

l40 Maple

140 Maple

l40 Maple

140 Maple

140 Maple

140 Maple
Through-the-cornice dormer

70 Hawkins Ave., Village of Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo

70 Hawkins

70 Hawkins

70 Hawkins

70 Hawkins
Through-the-cornice
dormer

70 Hawkins
Widely projecting eaves.
Modillions

70 Hawkins

70 Hawkins Rear of house

70 Hawkins

Clark St., Village of Hamburg, a suburb of Buffalo - two neighboring houses

Left

Left
Note concrete block chimney

Right

Right

Right

Right

2001 version
5 Woodthrush Terrace, Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo. Built 2001



5 Woodthrush

1908 Sears catalog advertising concrete housing



In the early 1900s brick, cement and asbestos shingles were marketed as economical "fireproof" choices for the small suburban house. To save money, brick and cement were often applied as a veneer (facing) on a groundwork of lath (wood or metal strips) over a standard wood balloon frame. The balloon frame itself was not fireproof, however, and also tended to shift, causing the surface material to crack. - "A Visual Dictionary of Architecture"

Features:


Ornamental cast concrete blocks were popular from about 1890 until 1940, used most often for foundations but also for porch and whole-house construction.

They were available at building supply houses, but also could be made on-site using block machines sold by Sears, Montgomery Ward, and other building suppliers. The 1910 Sears Building Catalog sold molds not only for blocks, but also for fluted  columns, column bases and capitals, piers, water tables, and nearly any detail needed to assemble a house.

Removable plates allowed the machine to cast a variety of face designs, including rock face, ashlar, cobblestone, bush-hammered, or decoratively scrolled.

- Old House Journal, August-September 2013, p. 39


Photos and their arrangement 2004 Chuck LaChiusa
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