The Fidelity Trust Building – Swan Tower

Last week , my cousin offered me a pretty cool opportunity.  She offered to turn the tables and take me on a tour of the building where she works.  Since I’m always up for a tour of just about any building, I jumped at the chance.

Her building is the Fidelity Trust Building, now known as Swan Tower.  I’ve walked by it literally hundreds of times, and I admit I had no real expectations going in. 

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The Brisbane Building on Lafayette Square

Several years ago now, I took a job with an accounting firm.  I started on the first day the firm opened in their new building.  The reason I mention this is because they had just left the Brisbane Building.  Everyone talked about it as if it was the oldest, draftiest building the city has ever seen.  They were happy to be out of it.

I, of course, was fascinated.  I’d seen the building, but had never been in it.  I’d spent years attending the Thursday in the Square concerts that used to take place in Lafayette Square, right in front of the Brisbane Building.  I would look up and wonder what those beautifully curved glass windows have witnessed over the years.  Just who they’d seen, and what they’d heard.

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The Hotel Lafayette

While out for a walk the other day, I came upon one of the many buildings in Buffalo that makes me  wish time travel was real. To be able to go back to the turn of the twentieth century when Buffalo was preparing for the Pan American Exposition.  To walk the city streets during Buffalo’s ‘heyday’ is a recurring topic of my daydreams.

The building I found myself in front of that day was The Hotel Lafayette.  I would love to have witnessed the building of this hotel. The reason why will become clear when you read the story behind it.

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The Guaranty Building: Buffalo’s First Skyscraper

The year is 1895.  Buffalo is booming. Hascal Taylor, a Buffalo businessman commissions the Chicago based architectural firm of Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan to build the “largest and best office building in the city”. 

They design a skyscraper with a steel framed construction, which is all new in 1895.  They plan to wrap the steel frame in fireproof, decorative terra cotta. Taylor loves it and plans are made to begin building. 

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Coit House: Buffalo’s Oldest Home, and the Man Who Built It

Buffalo has got some old homes.  

But none are older that the unassuming Coit House, located at 412 Virginia Street.  I say unassuming because the history behind it, and the history that must have taken place inside it, is nothing short of incredible. And yet compared with some of the grand mansions in Buffalo, this home seems unassuming.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Delaware (Jello Underwear?) Park

A long time ago, not gonna tell you how long, when our kids were very young we were planning to go to Delaware Park for a snowman building contest as part of a winter festival, and as the parents of three super energetic boys you can imagine that this was the topic of conversation for over a week. Trying to decide just what kind of snowman to build, should we have a castle too? How many can we make?  You get the picture. They were excited.

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What is Urban Hiking Anyway?

A lot of people ask me that! What is Urban Hiking? I realized that as an urban hiker (and biker) I needed to have a real answer for this question. In my head I think of it as walking around the city looking at cool stuff, or exploring if you will. There you go, urban exploring. A lot of my urban hiking is in Buffalo, so I try to find places within the city to go where I might have been before, but haven’t really ‘seen’ it. Or have heard of it, but aren’t really sure what the place is all about. So I go explore it, and see what I can see. When I see something interesting, I research it, and bring it to you.

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