Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane

Also known as: State Lunatic Asylum, Buffalo Psychiatric Center, Richardson Olmsted Complex
444 Forest Ave., Buffalo, New York


Historic American Buildings Survey, Jack E. Boucher, Photographer May 1965, TELEPHOTO OF SOUTH (FRONT) ELEVATION, ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.

Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey


Street View 


Begun in 1872, this is an important transitional building in the developing style of H. H. Richardson. It is the first major work on which he collaborated with Frederick Law Olmsted and his partner, Calvert Vaux, who sited and landscaped the property. The building is also significant in the history of treatment for the mentally ill, as its plan followed the system developed by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, one of the first physicians to treat insanity as an illness. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, June 24, 1986

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 24, 1986
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874
Significant years
1870; 1896
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 19

Update Log 

  • July 1, 2012: Imported photos from HABS/HAER