Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Birth of "Buffalo Treasures"

Every so often, one of our regional authors will share insights about the "birth" of a book. The author will reveal how a specific book was conceived, discuss research adventures and perhaps highlight a favorite chapter.

East Aurora resident Jan Sheridan kicks off this occasional blog series. Jan has written several books, including National Landmarks of Western New York and Frank Lloyd Wright in Buffalo and Western New York. Her first book was Buffalo Treasures: Downtown Walking Guide & Driving Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright Homes. Jan shares some thoughts about this popular book.

What spurred you to write Buffalo Treasures?
Writing the book came in stages. I was teaching Art Appreciation at Erie Community College and decided to take the students on field trips to appreciate Buffalo’s outstanding architecture. I found only one book on the subject so I started researching the background of each building. I contacted architectural historian Austin Fox and ended up contributing 14 entries to one of his books. When I told Brian about my research into downtown Buffalo architecture, we decided to write a book about it.

How did you go about researching your topic?
The libraries and archives at the Albright Knox Gallery and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society proved to be the best sources of information about the buildings and their architects. I took all the photos myself.

What were some of your favorite nuggets that were unearthed during your research mission?
I was surprised to find more than 25 significant architectural sites in downtown Buffalo which can be seen in a short 2 hour walking tour. The variety of interesting buildings also fascinated me – from restaurants to churches and buildings redesigned to serve new purposes.

Is there a section in Buffalo Treasures that ranks as your favorite?
I am a visual person so those buildings with artistic design qualities are my favorites. In this case, they would be the City Hall, the Calumet, the Old Post Office/ ECC campus and many more.

Can you share a few significant milestone dates that are highlighted in your book?
·        In the 1880,s the entire interior of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral blew up in a gas explosion.
·        In 1825 the French General Lafayette made a speech at what is now called Lafayette Square.
·        In 1896 the largest office building in the world was constructed in Ellicott Square.


No comments:

Post a Comment