Building History

Our office located at 343 Elmwood Avenue was designed by renowned architect E.B. Green. E.B. Green was born Edward Brodhead Green in Utica, New York in 1855. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1878 and was the eighth architect to be registered by the State University of New York.

After three years as a junior architect working for William Miller in Ithaca and teaching at Cornell for a year, he and Sidney Wicks, an M.I.T. graduate in 1881, opened an architectural practice in Auburn, New York (1880).

E.B. Green was a man of strong convictions who believed passionately in the dignity and power of history. As a young man, he mastered the Classical and Tudor Revival styles, and, with the exception of a few brief detours into other design idioms, was most comfortable working within the confines of these forms. His strength as a businessman probably derived from the realization that he was not an innovator, like Richardson, Sullivan, or Wright, nor did he wish to be. Instead, he chose to perfect his talent for adapting historic architectural forms to his clients' needs (which could only improve social credibility for the "newly-arrived" in Buffalo society).

During his long lifetime, E. B. Green had a relationship with Buffalo that was so strong that he was very often the first among local architects to receive commissions for the design of the city's significant civic, commercial, educational, religious and residential buildings. The sheer volume of important buildings he produced was remarkable by standards of any architect's output. In general, his style seems to have depended to a large extent on whichever revival style was currently preferred by his clients. During a 72-year career, he designed more than 370 major structures from Maine to Indiana with more than two-thirds of them in the city of Buffalo. More than 160 of his Buffalo buildings survive to the delight of local people.

E.B. Green died at the age of 95 in 1950.

(This and more information regarding E.B. Green can be found on the Internet by clicking here.)

Since the building at 343 Elmwood Avenue was erected, the building has had many uses and has undergone a number of transformations over the years. The building was designed at the end of the 1800s and construction on the building was finished in 1900 at the direction of Buffalo businessman Philip G. Schaefer. The building served as his home until his death in 1932. The house remained with the Schaefer family even after the death of Philip Schaefer's wife, Hattie Ritt Schaefer, in 1939. During this time period the building was used sometimes as a boarding house.

In 1948, the building changed ownership and was purchased by Paul J. Speyser. Speyser was a Frenchman and an executive with the structural steel firm of August, Feine & Sons Co. Later Speyser was named the French Consul in Buffalo. Speyser owned the building at 343 Elmwood Avenue from 1948 until his death 1959. During those 11 years the building served as his home and eventually as his office. The building was even utilized as a funeral home during this time period.

In 1963, 343 Elmwood Avenue was purchased by the Leonard H. Gaetz Funeral Home and would remain a funeral home until 1980 when Mr. Gaetz retired. It was at this time that the building was purchased by Cohen & Lombardo, P.C., in 1981, and had to convert the building on an accelerated schedule because they had to leave the Genesee Building by late May. Converting the former funeral home and boarding house to offices required intensive effort by Virginia and Edward Gabriel, the decorator/contractor team. The goal was to make the building functional as a law office without destroying the original design and woodwork that was inside the building. After enlarging the house at the rear, the total office space for the firm in 1981 was 7,000 square feet. Cohen & Lombardo, P.C. has since purchased the house next door and constructed a walkway connecting the second floors in a sympathetic way so as to preserve the appearance of the E.B. Green Schaefer House.