Buffalo State Hospital

1880- Present

Buffalo, New York

History

Buffalo State Hospital for the Insane was New York’s fourth hospital treating mental illness in the 1880s. The site chosen would be located in up state New York in the town of Buffalo. An unknown architect at the time, Henry Hobson Richardson would be in charge of the design for the new hospital. Also famed landscapers Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux would design the areas around the hospital. Henry decided to use the popular Kirkbride plan with Medina red sandstone for the main portions of the hospital while the outer wards would be brick. In 1880 Buffalo State Hospital for the Insane opened with only the east side (Male Wards) completed. Not until 9 years after the opening would the west side (Female Wards) be finished. The new hospital had state-of-the-art treatments for the time. With enough sunlight, ventilazion, space, and beauty to cure anyone. In 1927 the farmland behind the hospital would be turned into Buffalo State College. In 1965 a the Strozzi building was built east of the Kirkbride. With limited landed on the property in 1969, three of the original buildings male wards would be demolished to make way for a new facility. With the almost 100 year old Kirkbride hospital being out dated and with a new hospital modern hospital across the way opening, all remaining patients were transferred to it in 1974. In 1975 the hospital changed its name to Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The Kirkbride would be abandoned leaving the admin only used for storage until 1994. In 1973 the Kirkbride was listed on the National Registry of Historic Place and in 1986 was a National Historical Landmark. The Kirkbride was left abandoned for over 20 years until a preservation groups fought to redevelop the campus. One of the redevelopments was to open an urban hotel. In 2017 Hotel Henry opened using the admin and first wards of the male and female wings as the hotel. Buffalo Psychiatric Center is still open on the grounds of the old hospital today.