Guaranty / Prudential Building


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1890s before construction

1894 during construction

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The Buffalo News, Mary Ann Sullivan, HABS


140 Pearl Street, Buffalo NY 14202


Physical Description

  • Also known as the Prudential Building. Thirteen-story 140,000 sf steel-framed skyscraper. Clad with highly decorative terra-cotta tiles. A very early (1894) skyscraper by a master of the genre, Louis Sullivan, with his partner Dankmar Adler.
  • Wikipedia - Sullivan said a tall building "It must be tall, every inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it, the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. "
  • Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, August 2013: "On this trip, it was a privilege to see the Guaranty not as an exercise in nostalgia, but because the skyscraper remains an exemplar of innovation. Sullivan's great achievement was to fuse the latest structural technology with the vital forms of nature. It is no surprise, then, that his greatest skyscraper still speaks to us today, its voice a breathtaking blend of clarity and eloquence."

Current Condition

  • Restored and in use.


  • 1894 - Building constructed based on the design by Dankmar Adler & Louis Sullivan.
  • 1895 - Named the Guaranty Building for the Guaranty Construction Company
  • 1898 - Renamed Prudential Building by the Prudential Insurance Company
  • 1974 - Fire damaged the building, furthering threats of demolition
  • 1980 - Restoration undertaken with plans done by architects Cannon Design and Gensler

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2008 - The building underwent a further series of restorations managed by Flynn Battaglia Architects.

Other Pertinent Facts

  • Located in downtown Buffalo, in the Joseph Ellicott Historic Preservation District.
  • The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
  • This is the first entry in the Preservation-Ready Sites database, published January 2, 2013.


Newest Pages

Added 2013-01-02 • Last changed 2018-12-13