Saturday, December 18, 2010

Former Courier-Express Building, Buffalo

The Catholic Center, BuffaloClearly, from the name above the door, this is the Catholic Center. It is at 785-795 Main Street, Buffalo but the decoration indicates a previous life.

The building was constructed in 1930 from designs by architects Monk & Johnson, with H D A Ganteaume. It was the home of the Courier-Express newspaper.

The Catholic Center, Buffalo

I think the decoration above the door could be religious they are original to the building and some are cast bronze logos of various printers.

Freedom of SpeechAbove each band of windows there are terracotta panels which designs that I have seen described as Celtic. I suppose it is wrong to describe them as 'fishbone' in style.

Above the first floor windows there is a series of friezes invoking the words of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press'

Editor Linotyper

On the spandrels between the ground floor windows there are figures representing different stages of the life-cycle of production, distribution and comsumption of newspapers. These figures include editor and linotyper (above), compositor, printmaker, pressman, and finally, shipper and reader (below).

Shipper Reader

The decoration is no less spectacular at the roofline of the building.

CaxtonStanding in their niches set in a band of 'celtic fishbones' are the representation of four historical figures from the world of printing.

Here we see William Caxton who introduced the printing press to 15th Century England.

The other figures are Johannes Gutenberg, the first European to use movable type printing and inventor of the printing press; Christophe Plantin who worked as a printer and publisher in 16th Century Holland; and Benjamin Franklin, a printer, newspaper editor and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.


Buffalo as an Architectural Museum
Wikipedia entries for William Caxton, Johannes Gutenberg, Christophe Plantin and Benjamin Franklin

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