Western New York Heritage

Buffalo's Central High School: 1854-1914

At the edge of Niagara Square, bounded by Court and Franklin Streets, early Buffalo resident General David Burt built this mansion. In 1851 his family sold the property to the City of Buffalo for use as a school.

The Central High School in 1870, the undeveloped Niagara Square at left (blank space). When opened to students in 1854, the Central School (later renamed the Central High School) was the only school entirely devoted to high school classes.

The city twice expanded the building to accommodate an increasing number of students.

It was Buffalo's only high school until 1897.

The senior class of 1891. Situated as it was along main thoroughfares made for a noisy learning environment. Said one writer, "Car tracks on all sides of this school. They are going to build a new one. So noisy that some of the teachers have to use megaphones. Honest!"

The Central High faculty in 1910. The city did build a new eplacement for the old building and in 1914 opened the Hutchinson High School nearby at 256 South Elmwood. The faculty were surely thrilled with their new building.

Niagara Square c. 1910 after the development of the Square and construction of the McKinley Monument (1907). Central High School is at left; across the street the Women's Christian Association Building (64 Court).

The same view in the late 1930's. In 1921, the school and land were sold to the state for $401,000, funds which the city earmarked for construction of its new city hall across Niagara Square. The old school was demolished in 1926 and the new State Office Building (now called the Mahoney Building), designed by Green & Wicks, was built on the land between 1928-1932. Its address is 65 Court Street, which runs in the center of the image above. The building across the street in place of the Women's Christian Association Building is the 1936 Federal Court House.

The same view in 2006.