The Calumet Building
233 Franklin St.
Event Hours: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Last admittance: 4:00pm
Photography permitted; Filming prohibited
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Public Restrooms: Yes
Visitor Experience: Take a guided tour of the second and third floors of the Calumet Building – see the original architecture, including windows, flooring, and exposed rafters.
Building Description: From Explore Buffalo’s Building Profile Series on BuffaloRising.com, July 11, 2020 by Judy Falkowski:
The Calumet was designed in the Art Nouveau inspired style by James A. Johnson, of the architectural firm of Esenwein & Johnson in 1906 for Robert Keating Root. As one of the eight official architects of the Pan American Exposition, Esenwein & Johnson designed the Temple of Music, where President Mckinley was shot. The firm, one of the most prolific in Buffalo, also designed the first Statler Hotel at Main and Swan Streets (1905), General Electric Tower (1912) and Lafayette High School (1903). A number of their buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Calumet was added to this National Register in 2010.
The Calumet is a steel frame, three story building, but it’s the facade that people take note of immediately. The burnt sienna and cream glazed terra cotta stands out on the street. Calumet is French for reed, and a closer look at the facade reveals the prominent reed design. The terra cotta vegetative ornamentation can be compared to the terra cotta design on Louis Sullivan’s famous Guaranty Building located several blocks away at Church and Pearl Streets. The reed design is particularly noticed on the piers across the front of the building.
In 2010 Goldman and his partner, Arthur Ziller, sold the building to the law firm of Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP who partnered with Frank Parisi and Angelo Natale. The law firm moved their offices to the building after minor exterior changes, and necessary interior renovations. Carmina Wood Morris Architects were hired for this project which included an addition to the Franklin Street side with an elevator making the upper floors accessible. An urban courtyard was built in the rear of the building. In 2013 the owners and the architects were recognized with a Preservation Award for their work restoring and preserving this architectural gem. Today the law firm occupies the upper two floors with a main entrance on Franklin St. Restaurants and businesses continue to occupy the first floor with entrances on West Chippewa, including Bacchus Wine Bar Restaurant.