Public School No. 43
161 Benzinger Street, Buffalo New York

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Esenwein & Johnson

Date of Initial Construction


Historical and Architectural Importance

The school building is unique in its application of the Renaissance Revival style as seen in the size and scale of the structure, the corbel arcaded attic story, use of the ground level floor, stylized window trim and two story porch. Public School No. 43 was organized in 1831 with the construction of a one room building erected by Joseph Churchyard, owner of the land. The small wooden building with steeple was used until 1925. In 1885 a two story brick building was opened. The ten room structure was built by the residents of the Churchyard farms. An annex was opened at East Lovejoy Avenue and Ideal Street in 1898. The present structure was erected to accommodate the 600 German-American families living in the district. The addition was opened September, 1925. The building contains 49 classrooms, a kindergarten, double gymnasium, music, cooking and sewing rooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium that seats 1,000. Enrollment in 1926 totaled 1,662 students.

Interrelationship of Building and Surroundings

The school building is located on the southwest corner of Benzinger Street and East Lovejoy Avenue. The east side residential neighborhood is composed of one and one half story bungalows. East Lovejoy is a mix of residential and commercial usage.

Other Notable Features of Building and Site

The school building is a five story, eight bay brick structure with Renaissance Revival styling. The I-shape plan is surmounted by a flat roof. The front (north) facade is divided horizontally by a brick band course at the first and third floor levels, and a rusticated stone band course below the parapet. A corbel arcade surmounts the building at the attic floor. The ground and first floor are rusticated.

A two story center bay porch has a steep staircase on the east side. The first floor is decorated with a stylized
keystone and voussoirs. The second floor opening has a stone lintel inscribed with "School No. 43." A corbel table marks the rusticated stone band below the parapet. Above the porch are second and third floor tripart windows, 3/3 light.

Window fenestration consists of basement level straight headed openings with stylized keystone and voussoirs. First through third floor paired 3/3 light windows are capped by a brick relieving arch and stone keystone. The attic floor has round arched 1/1 light windows contained to the center bays.

The east facade's asymmetrical center block features a projecting secondary entrance bay with round arched opening abutting the north wing. The lintel is inscribed with "Girls." A one and one half story round arched opening over the entrance has paired 3/3 light first floor windows and a tripart second floor window. Extending from the south wing into the center block is a round arched entrance with lintel inscribed with "Boys." Corbel tables mark the cornice on both entrance bays.

Attached to the west elevation is a three story, seven bay brick addition constructed in 1924. The rectangular plan with flat roof features the Classical Revival style. The end bays project beyond the main block. The symmetrical front (west) facade is divided horizontally by a stone moulded string-course at the first floor level, a stone band course at the second floor sill level and at the third floor level. Two story Doric pilaster strips with stone capitals flank second and third floor center windows in each bay. Ionic stone pilaster strips flank center bay windows.

The slightly projecting center bay has a smooth stone faced first floor with recessed entrance enframed by architrave trim surround. Window fenestration consists of paired 3/3 light windows flanked by single 3/3 light windows.

Building Materials

Stone and Brick

Structural System

Steel Frame


  • Courier Express, May 17, 1908, December 26, 1926, May 11, 1928;
  • Municipality of Buffalo, Henry W. Hill, 1923.
  • Martin Wachadlo, consultant

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