Glenny Building / Dennis Building / Stanton Building
Original name: Glenny Store or Crockery Store
249-253 Main Street, Buffalo, NY


Circa 1873
Rebuilt after 1905 fire

Original name:

Glenny Building


Richard A. Waite


Italian Renaissance Revival (Palazzo style) Commercial Building


Only surviving structure in Buffalo to have the entire five -story facade made of cast iron. This was the tallest iron façade building in New York State outside of NYC.


Joseph Ellicott Historic Preservation District

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Dennis Building at far left.
Brick load bearing walls on north side

Dennis Building at far left

Dennis Building at far left

Dennis Building.
Only surviving structure in Buffalo to have the entire five -story façade made of cast iron.

First floor storefront has original cast iron section

Original name was the Glenny Building

Cast iron Corinthian columns with grooved brackets above

Second story has colonnade of six cast iron segmental arched windows

Fourth story: Colonnade of cast iron rounded arch windows

Sheet metal cornice with supporting modillions

Detail of previous photo

Rear (east) of building

Cast iron Corinthian columns (fleuron and acanthus leaves in capital)

Cast iron pilaster with three guttae

Rear (east) of building: stylized triglyphs and guttae

William H. Glenny was born in Ireland and came to Buffalo in 1836 as a clerk in a bookstore. He opened his own crockery store which, at the time of his death, was one of the largest businesses in the country, with branches extending to all the Western states and Territories. He was also associated with banking and a railroad company.

His son (also William H. Glenny) served as trustee of Forest Lawn Cemetery from 1890 to 1929 and was Vice President from 1904-1929. - Source: Forest Lawn archives

Dennis Building

The Dennis Building is the only surviving local example of a façade entirely of iron. Unfortunately, modernization of the ground floor has obscured any identifying plaques and it is not known if the building was the product of a local manufacturer.

Cast iron provided greater structural strength, allowing for wider first story openings, while easily supporting the weight of the masonry above. Larger shop windows could be created, letting more light into the building and providing additional display space. Iron could be cast in a variety of designs. Use of the material became so prevalent that ultimately entire cast iron facades were constructed.

The idea was to mold all of the decorative elements - columns, pilasters, capitals, arched window lintels, dentil moldings, and cornices - out of iron and then paint the iron to resemble stone.

More common to Buffalo than the multistoried iron front are facades consisting of ground-floor iron columns supporting upper stories of brick in which decorative features, such as window sills and caps, are of cast iron.

As quality stone became more expensive, cast iron was an economical alternative that produced a similar effect. In the latter half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, Buffalo, strategically located between the ore fields of the upper Great Lakes and the coal mines (to fire the blast furnaces) of Pennsylvania, was a major producer of iron and steel, and several large architectural ironwork firms, including the Eagle Iron Works, Washington Iron Works, and Tifft Iron Works, existed here after 1850. These names can still be found on many buildings in the city.

Text sources:

Captions source: 1979 NY State Division for Historic Preservation Building-Structure Inventory

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.