Thursday, March 30, 2017

Architect Spotlight: Charles Day Swan

Charles Day Swan taken from
Its been awhile since our last Architect Spotlight post and I felt now was a good time to dive back in and look at another one of Buffalo's unheralded architects. This time we'll be focusing on Charles Day Swan

Architect Charles Day Swan was born in Buffalo in 1855 the son of ship captain Augustus Swan. Swan lived at 290 Jersey Street near Allentown and from this residence he commuted to the office of architect Richard Waite. Between 1873 and 1881 Swan worked as a draftsman for Waite, following the traditional path of most architects in the nineteenth century.

The Zink Block

After leaving Waite's office Swan enjoyed a long and successful career, contributing a number of beautiful buildings to Buffalo, several of which have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Swan primarily built private homes, but he also was responsible for building the Zink Block on Connecticut Street and Public School 24 near Martin Luther King Park. These two buildings represent Swan's most impressive extant contributions to the architecture of Buffalo. The Zink Block is a beautiful Renaissance Revival commercial building composed of sandstone and brick and highlighted by a series of arched windows that give the building a really unique look. Public School 24 is a bit less showy than the Zink Block, however certain features are carried over from the Zink Block such as the heavy sandstone windowsills and projecting brick columns that divide the window bays. Like the Zink Block, Public School 24 was executed in the Renaissance  Revival Style. The application of this architectural style to an educational building makes School 24 one of the more interesting historic school buildings in Buffalo.

While the Zink Block and Public School 24 remain two of Swan's most attractive extant buildings his finest building was likely the United Presbyterian Church at the corner of Richmond and Summer Streets. Built in 1889 the beautiful church has sadly been demolished. The lot has since been repurposed as a senior citizen home.

Taken from

Charles Day Swan was most active in the 1880s and 1890s and saw is career taper off after 1900. In 1911 Swan moved to Cambridge Massachusetts with his family where he died in 1914 at the age of fifty-nine.


No comments: