Kleinhans Music Hall
Kleinhans Music Hall
Kleinhans Music Hall
|Location||Buffalo, New York|
|Architect||Eero Saarinen, Eliel Saarinen|
|Architectural style||International Style|
|NRHP Reference #||89001235|
|Added to NRHP||June 29, 1989|
|Designated NHL||June 30, 1989|
Kleinhans Music Hall, home of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, was built in the late 1930s and opened October 1940. It is located on Symphony Circle in Buffalo, New York. The music hall was built as a part of the last will and testament of Edward L. and Mary Seaton Kleinhans, owners of the Kleinhans men's clothing store. The couple left close to 1 million dollars for the music hall's construction. The building was designed by Eliel Saarinen with his son, Eero Saarinen and "was recognized as one of the greatest concert halls ever built in the United States". It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
In 1934, when it was determined a music hall was to be built, it was assumed the much experienced and local architect, Edward B. Green would get the job. In 1935, Green submitted a neoclassical design combining the styles of Symphony Hall in Boston and Severance Hall in Cleveland. Green planned to have the hall attached to the Museum of Science. It was later decided the hall would be constructed at the site of Truman Avery's mansion (to be demolished) on the circle at Richmond and Porter Avenues (known as Symphony Circle).
George F. Rand, the chairman of the Buffalo Foundation (the Kleinhans' executors), liked the works of local architects and brothers, F.J. and William Kidd. (The Kidd brothers designed Buffalo's Rand Building, built in 1929 and located at Lafayette Square). In May 1938, the brothers were hired as architects for the music hall. However, their designs were criticized by Esther Link who had been shown the Kidd drawings by Buffalo Foundation lawyer, Edward P. Letchworth. Link, without any formal architectural education, was a high school music teacher who travelled Europe and had a strong background with architects and artists. She was an admirer of architect Eliel Saarinen particularly for his design of the central railroad terminal in Helsinki. In July 1938, upon Letchworth's request, Link drafted a letter detailing her passion for Saarinen's work and the future of Kleinhans music hall. The Buffalo Foundation agreed to offer Saarinen the position of consultant. Saarinen declined. Letchworth did not want to undermine Rand and the Kidd brothers. In September 1938, Letchworth met with Saarinen and his son Eero, and the Kidd Firm. They all agreed that Saarinen would be "designing architect" while Kidd would oversee the project. Saarinen quickly submitted his design one month later.
Four months after the city was rocked by the Buffalo riot, on November 9, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King visited Kleinhan's and in a speech titled "The Future of Integration" before about 2,500 persons and sponsored by the Graduate Student Association at the University at Buffalo proclaimed: "We are moving toward the day when we will judge a man by his character and ability instead of by the color of his skin."
- "Kleinhans Music Hall". Buffalo Architecture and History. 2007-02-23.
- "National Register of Historical Places - New York (NY), Erie County". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-02-23.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Kleinhans Music Hall". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-15.
- City on the Edge, Buffalo, NY. Goldman, Mark. 2007.
- Carolyn Pitts (February 9, 1989). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Kleinhans Music Hall. National Park Service. and PDF (1.24 MB)
- "Massive Action Urged: King Says Negro In Economic Trap," by Richard E. Baldwin, Buffalo Courier-Express, November 10, 1967 [accessed 7/16/2008, http://www.buffalonian.com/hnews/1967mlkinginbuffalo.html]
- Information from Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
- Kleinhans Community Association
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Buffalo