Buildings in Hamburg, NY - Table of Contents

John G. Brendel Building
87 Main Street, Village of Hamburg, N.Y.

See also: Interior Photos


Click on illustrations for enlargements and additional information

Sketch from 1880 atlas.
Notice that the residence porch is not enclosed

View from west. Notice that the residential wing porch is enclosed.

View from east.

Rear view. Rounded windows in enclosed porch were originally storm windows.

Weather vane atop finial

Paired Italianate decorative brackets

Residence wing: entrance porch with large nine light fixed sashes.

82 Maple St.

Entrance to apartments. Now in the enclosed residence porch

Bottom of door of previous photo, with side lights

Bracketed cornice on entrance porch of residence wing

See also: Italianate style

Residence wing: three-sided bay

Residence wing: Bracketed cornice

The Brendel Building is located on the north side of Main Street in Hamburg's central business district. The building is bordered on all public sides by a narrow lawn and a street or driveway.

This asymmetrical, brick, hip-roof, Italianate incorporates a three-and-one-half-story commercial block with a two-and-one-half-story side wing housing a residence.

Features of the building:

Storefront: At the ground floor of the main block, a storefront spans the width of the street facade. The current mansard-roof storefront dates from about 1875. It follows the basic layout of the original storefront including a recessed center entry flanked by display windows. The outline of the original storefront cornice is visible at the edges of the present one.

Residence wing: At the front facade of the residence wing is a two-bay entrance porch which has been enclosed with large nine light fixed sashes. Both the porch and the adjacent three-sided bay have a hip roof and a bracketed cornice.

Significance of the Brendel Building

- Source: Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Italianate style 1850-1885

The first Italianate houses in the United States were built in the late 1830s; the style was popularized by influential Andrew Jackson Downing, a widely respected American landscape gardener who also published house pattern books in the 1840s and '50s.

Downing's one-year partner (Downing died in a fire) was Calvert Vaux who himself published a fairly influential pattern book entitled "Villas and Cottages." Six years later, Vaux moved to New York City and soon partnered with the superintendent of a new park that was being created. The park was Central Park and the superintendent was Frederick Law Olmsted. They went on to win the design competition for Central Park and also the design for the parks system in Buffalo. Vaux also designed structures for some of the Buffalo parks.

Downing's building designs were mostly for single family rural houses built in the Picturesque Gothic and Italianate styles. Believing that every American deserved a good home, he designed homes for three classes: villas for the wealthy, cottages for working men, and farmhouses for farmers. He intended for every family to be able to afford one of these homes, but of course this did not occur.

Downing believed that architecture and the fine arts could affect the morals of the owners, and that improvement of the external appearance of a home would help "better" all those who had contact with the home. The general good of America was benefited by good taste and beautiful architecture, he felt. Others in the 1840s believed that the proper home environment could assure eternal comforts in heaven. The private home was becoming the place for moral education and the focus of middle class America's search for the meaning of life.

By the 1860s the style had completely overshadowed its earlier companion, the Gothic Revival.

Identifying Features

For much more information and illustrations of the Italianate style, see Italianate in Buffalo 1850-1885


Special thanks to Hamburg librarian John Edson for his research assistance and to Marjorie Samuelson, the present owner in 2002, for her graciousness and cooperation

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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