Electric Tower - Table of Contents

Grand Reopening, August 15, 2007 - Electric Tower
535 Washington St., Buffalo NY

History of the Building Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size - and additional information

Reopening invited guests chat in the lobby which was returned from a 1-story lobby to a 2-story lobby by the Iskalo Development Corp.

Iskalo Development Corp. President Paul Iskalo addressing the Reopening invited guests in the lobby.

Neighbor Buffalo Savings Bank/M&T Bank Branch viewed through the vestibule doors

Vestibule Art Deco medallion and light fixture

Vestibule Art Deco grill and terrazzo floor

Vestibule Art Deco chrome grill

Collage of the Beaux Arts Electric Tower in the vestibule

View from the vestibule into the elevator lobby

Elevator lobby Art Deco plaster moldings

Elevator lobby Art Deco plaster moldings

2-story lobby and vestibule

  • Niagara Hudson Corporation logo
  • Art Deco molding and newly-designed wall sconce

2-story lobby

Lobby Art Deco plaster moldings and newly-designed wall sconce

Art Deco stainless steel balustrade

2nd floor

Art Deco ... Perhaps inspired in part by classical triglyphs



Quartet performing at the Grand Reopening



History of the Building
Adapted from the Grand Reopening Souvenir Brochure

During the proud era of the City of Buffalo's worldwide prominence, several architectural gems were created. Among them was the Electric Tower which opened in 1912. It was patterned after The Tower of Light which was a highlight at the 1901 Pan American Exposition held in Buffalo and the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The original building was designed in the Beaux Arts style by the local architectural firm of Esenwein and Johnson for the Buffalo General Electric Company, which was responsible for distributing and promoting the electricalcal power being harnessed at nearby Niagara Falls to the residents and businesses in the City of Buffalo.

A 1930's renovation by the Buffalo General Electric Company's successor, the Niagara Hudson Corporation, introduced black ornamental glass, stainless steel, chrome trim,, plaster moldings and ceiling medallions to the building's interior, blending the classic Beaux Arts style with the more modern Art Deco style of the 1930's.


1900's - Hydroelectric power harnessed from Niagara Falls was used to dramatic effect in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.

1910's - Buffalo General Electric Company builds headquarters in Buffalo in 1912

1920's - The Roaring 20's brought two additions to the building, one in 1924 and one in 1926. The additions provided expansion of office space, as well as display areas for the latest in appliances and light fixtures.

1930's - Upon completion of its new Art Deco headquarters in Syracuse, Niagara Hudson renovates parts of the Electric Tower in Art Deco style and moves the entrance to Washington Street

1940's-1960's - The next few decades brings about minor changes to the building's interior while the exterior remains largely untouched.

1970's-1990's - "Updates" occur to some office floors while the interior character of the lobby begins to be lost. Some of the exterior terra cotta is refurbished and replaced. Terra cotta work is done by the Boston valley Terra Cotta, one of two remaining architectural terra cotta manufacturing companies in the country.

2004 - Iskalo Development Corp. buys the Electric Tower and begins a comprehensive building renovation incorporating input from the State Historic Preservation Office of NY State and the National Parks Historic Landmarks Program. The 1-story lobby is returned to a 2-story lobby.

Special thanks to Iskalo Development Corp. President Paul Iskalo and Director of Leasing Eric M. Eisenried in 2007 for their cooperation
Photos and their arrangement 2007 Chuck LaChiusa
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