Medina Sandstone tour on May 9 features Hall of Fame sites in Buffalo

Provided photos: Two historic Medina Sandstone structures will be the focus of this year’s Sandstone Society Hall of Fame Tour, scheduled May 9. At left is Buffalo’s historic Richardson Hotel/Olmsted Complex. At right is St. Louis Church at 780 Main St., Buffalo.

Posted 16 April 2024 at 11:03 am

By Ginny Kropf and Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society has announced the itinerary for its 2024 Hall of Fame Tour on May 9 in Buffalo.

This year’s tour will feature a visit to the historic Richardson Hotel/ Olmsted Complex, and St. Louis Church. In addition, there will be a drive by of several other prominent Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame honorees.

The Richardson/Olmsted Complex was in the inaugural class in 2013 for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. The massive complex of the former Buffalo State Hospital was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and the surrounding grounds by Frederick Law Olmsted. This was the first major work on which the two collaborated. At that time it was considered to be one of the most architecturally significant designs for an asylum, a style that became known as Richardsonian Romanesque.

Construction started in 1871 and the two imposing 185-foot towers of the Administration building have been a highly visible and striking landmark in north Buffalo since 1880. The central pavilion, with its lofty Gothic towers, adjacent wards A and B and the four flanking wards are all built of reddish-brown Medina sandstone that was quarried in Hulberton, Orleans County. The heavy, rough-faced stone walls are set off by plainly finished blocks of the same material for doors and windows. Part of the site is now used as a hotel.

The St. Louis Catholic Church went into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2014. The church, at the corner of Main and Edward Street, was constructed from 1886 to 1889. This Gothic Revival church is built of red Medina Sandstone.

Heavily influenced by German design features, the distinctive front facade consists of two 128-foot side towers and the magnificent 245-foot center steeple and open-work spire. Perhaps the church’s most distinctive feature, this center spire, similar to the spires on several German churches including Cologne Cathedral, is the tallest open-work spire ever built completely of stone in the United States. It is also believed to be the only remaining open-work or pierced spire in the U.S.

The Medina Sandstone tour day will begin with a welcome at 8:30 a.m. by Medina Mayor Marguerite Sherman at the Sandstone Hall of Fame located in City Hall on Main Street.

The tour bus, a 47-passenger coach with bathroom, will leave at 9 a.m. and arrive at the Richardson Complex at 10:15 a.m., where guests may choose to take a leisurely tour of the grounds and museum or join a docent-led tour of undeveloped areas of the Richardson/Olmsted Complex.

At 11:30 a.m., there will be a luncheon will be served in the Glessner Room at the Richardson Hotel. The bus will leave for St. Louis Church at 12:30 p.m., where a 45-minute tour is planned at 1 p.m. The bus departs for Medina at 2 p.m.

Cost for the tour is $95 per person or $90 for stonecutters (Sandstone Society members). Checks are due by April 26 and should be mailed to Medina Sandstone Society, P.O. Box 25, Medina, 14103.

Anyone with questions or wishing more information may contact Sue Holland at (585) 721-3809 or at