Massive Medina Sandstone site in Buffalo will be Hotel Henry

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – The former New York State Asylum for the Insane, built in 1870, was abandoned and neglected. It will be receive $69 million in renovations and be turned into a hotel and conference center.

BUFFALO – A building in Buffalo that may be one of the finest Medina sandstone structures ever built is getting new life as the “Hotel Henry.”

The owners of the former New York State Asylum for the Insane announced on Monday the site will be known as the Hotel Henry, a tribute to famed architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, who designed the structure on Forest Avenue.

The not-for-profit Richardson Center Corporation has pursued a reuse plan for the complex since it was formed in 2006. For many years prior, committed preservationists, elected officials, and community members focused attention on the decades of neglect and deterioration.

The site will receive $69 million renovations and open at Hotel Henry with 88 rooms in the fall 2016. The site will also be a conference center and restaurant.

This project will keep Medina sandstone in the news for years to come. Members of the Medina Sandstone Society inducted the Richardson Olmsted Complex as an inaugural member in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame last December.

The Sandstone Society has asked that the center for architecture in the complex include a display about Medina sandstone and immigrant quarrymen who worked in the sandstone quarries in Orleans County.

The building is a National Historic Landmark. Richardson worked with prominent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to develop the site, which includes 42 acres and collection of buildings known as the Richardson Olmsted Complex. It is nationally recognized as a great work of the two masters.

For more on the project, click here.