Richardson Olmsted Complex Tours Offer Intimate Glance At One Of Buffalo’s Gems

Culture & Arts, Tours & Walks


Written by Daniel Meyer

Published on October 1, 2014



It is one of the most recognizable, striking and physically imposing buildings in Western New York, a historic structure that is registered as a National Historic Landmark.

As one of Buffalo’s architectural gems, the Richardson Olmsted Complex on the city’s West Side will eventually be home to a hotel, event and conference space and architecture center as the grand old building is rehabilitated in an effort to greatly enhance tourism, recreation and the local economy.

But while much is being done behind the scenes to secure federal preservation certification or the Richardson Olmsted Complex, a great number of local residents have never even stepped foot into the distinguished facility.

That can change later this fall if you choose to take advantage of two unique opportunities to tour one of Buffalo’s most important and beautiful buildings. While six other tours are already sold out, members of the general public can visit the Richardson Olmsted Complex on either Thursday, October 9 or Saturday, November 29 to learn more about the 140-year-old structure.

The tours being offered on October 9 are part of the “Museums By Moonlight” event in which one ticket gives you admission to the Richardson Olmsted Complex and a number of other facilities, including the Buffalo Museum of Science, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo History Museum, Forest Avenue Resource Center and the Darwin Martin House.

Pre-registration is required, with pre-sale tickets available for $25 each and general admission tickets available for $35. Tickets can be purchased here on Step Out Buffalo’s website by clicking here.

Admission will allow you to experience an architectural tour of a structure that is being brought back to life thanks to the efforts of the Richardson Center Corporation. Their detailed plan of renewal includes the eventual development of the hotel/conference center/architecture center, with a target date of completion sometime in 2016.

The tour being offered on November 29 is an in-depth, two-hour event that will examine the philosophies that architect Henry Hobson Richardson, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Kirbridge intergrated into the facility, which at one time house the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Tour participants will also have a chance to learn about future modifications related to the creation of the hotel/conference center/architecture center. This tour will also provide time to gain access to second spaces in what is known as the Towers Building and some of the former patient buildings that are not available on other tours. It should be noted that the tour involves a significant amount of walking and participants will be frequently climbing up and down stairs.

Pre-registration is required, with pre-sale tickets available for $30 each. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

In today’s society, everyone seems to be busy and far too often we don’t take time to appreciate the long history of distinguished properties like the Richardson Olmsted Complex. Consider earmarking some time on either October 9 or November 29 to take a tour of one of Buffalo’s crowning jewels and witness first-hand the ongoing rehabilitation of the buildings and grounds as a mixed-use, multi-purpose civic campus for future public and private activities.

The Richardson Olmsted Complex is located at 400 Forest Avenue adjacent to Buffalo State College’s campus on Elmwood Avenue. For more information about the property, visit



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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Daniel Meyer</a>

Written by Daniel Meyer

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