Richard A. Waite

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Richard A. Waite
Born Richard Alfred Waite
May 14, 1848
London,  United Kingdom
Died January 7, 1911
New York City, New York  United States
Nationality British
Occupation Architect
Spouse(s) Sarah Holloway
Parent(s) Charles Henry Waite and Harriet Humphries Holland
Practice Buffalo NY
Buildings Ontario Legislative Building, Toronto

Richard A. Waite (May 14, 1848 – January 7, 1911) was a British-born American architect in the late 19th century.

Early years[edit]

Richard A. Waite was born in London in 1848 as one of seven children (surviving included William T, Helen and Jennie) of Charles Henry Waite and his wife Harriet Humphries Holland. Richard Waite's father arrived in America in 1856 with his wife and children and settled in Buffalo, New York to work in a printing company.

Education and career[edit]

Waite like many early architects, learned building design as an apprentice. He studied mechanical engineering in New York City under John Ericsson, the inventor of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor.

Waite returned to Buffalo in 1874 as a fully trained architect. His 1869 marriage to Sarah Holloway, daughter of local contractor Isaac Holloway, afforded him several public works commissions. In 1876, he made architectural history by hiring Louise Blanchard Bethune as a draftsman. She went on to become the first professional woman architect in the United States.


Although Waite built many homes in the Buffalo area, some of his best-known commissions were in Canada and Buffalo, New York.

A list of some of Waite's key accomplishments:

Buffalo, New York[edit]

  • Trinity Episcopal Church at Delaware Avenue and Johnson Park 1872 (plans only as Trinity Episcopal Church was built by another architect in 1880s)
  • Public School 32 (32 South Cedar Street) late 1870s and demolished replaced but current building used by Bennett Park Montessori School
  • W.H. Glenny & Sons Building - 257 Main Street, Buffalo 1875 (Italian Renaissance Revival/Palazzo architecture) and rebuilt 1905 after fire and now named Dennis Building
  • George Williams House (at 249 North Street) 1877 (Stick style), interior re-model 1909 as Colonial Revival
  • Buffalo Music Hall 1885-87 - located at Main and Edward Streets; later as Teck Theater and now demolished
  • Phillip Becker Mansion at 534 Delaware Avenue 1887-88 - built for Mayor Phillip Becker and now Plaza Suites executive offices
  • White Brothers Livery Stable 428-430 Jersey Street, Buffalo 1889 (Commercial Romanesque Revival)
  • Richard A. Waite House 361 Pennsylvania Street, Buffalo
  • 357 Pennsylvania Street - private residence
  • 355 Pennsylvania Street - private residence

South Bend, Indiana[edit]

Waite also helped design the Oliver Opera House on Main Street North and West Washington Street in South Bend, Indiana.[citation needed] This opera house was built in 1885 for James and Joseph Doty Oliver, both founders of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works located in South Bend, Indiana. James Oliver was the inventor of the Chilled Plow. The opera house is demolished and used for parking next to JMS Building.

Hamilton, Ontario[edit]

  • Birk's Building Hamilton, Ontario 1883 - (Richardsonian Romanesque) Built at the corner of King Street East and Hughson Street South for Canada Life Insurance as their Head Office and sold to jeweller Henry Birks and Sons in 1929. Birks ground floor retail store closed and building was demolished in 1972. Part of the site was replaced by Fidelity-Equitable Trust Tower (now HSBC Tower) in 1974 and rest part of Gore Park.
    • Birks "Clock of the Charging Horsemen" was restored and placed inside of Farmers Market (York Boulevard and MacNab Street North) from 1986 to 2007, but since remounted outdoors to Jackson Square (corner of James Street North and King Street West) since 2010.[1]

Montreal, Quebec[edit]


Personal and death[edit]

Waite's mother died in 1862 and his wife Sarah in 1901. Waite was survived by Sarah, brother William T (also an architect) and his children:[2]

  • son Richard Alfred Waite II (January 30, 1874 – March 11, 1961) studied architecture at Cornell University, but changed to theology at Syracuse University due to poor health. His son became a Methodist minister and died in St. Louis, Missouri.[3] Waite is buried with his wife at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.
  • Helen Holloway Waite (November 16, 1871 – December 6, 1949)
  • Raymond Isaac Waite, (October 18, 1875 – death unknown)
  • Evadne Holland Waite (October 1, 1879 – 1958)
  • Mary Sarah Waite (December 26, 1880 – March 3, 1956)


External links[edit]