City Honors / Masten Park High School


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186 East North Street, Buffalo, NY 14204
Also known as 223 Best Street
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Ellicott Council District
SBL: 100.72-2-5.1
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City of Buffalo

Physical Description

3 story steel frame building with brick and terra-cotta exterior built in a Beaux Arts Italian Renaissance style and occupies an entire city block BuffaloAH

Current Condition

It is currently in use as City Honors. Renovated from 2007-2009. It also received a modern expansion building that does not match the architectural design of the main building.


  • Early 1800’s - The land was set aside as a “Potter’s Field”
  • 1885 - The City hired renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to convert the land into a public park overlooking the city.
  • 1895 - The City decided to build its second high school on the land (Old Central was the first).
  • 1897 - Masten Park High School opened under the leadership of Frank Fosdick.
  • 1912 - The original Masten Park High School burned down. 'Pop' Fosdick ran back and forth into the building to ensure that all 1100 students and faculty made it out safely. He was hit by falling debris and hospitalized. Soon after, “Fearless Fosdick” became the mascot for Masten Park HS to recognize Pop’s heroism.
  • 1914 - Construction is completed on the new Masten Park High School. Designed by famous architects Esenwein and Johnson.
  • 1927 - The clock tower that adorned the front of the school building began to crumble and was removed by the school district.
  • 1953 - The school district moved the Girls Vocational Program into the school building and removed the boys.
  • 1975 - The City Honors Program was established in 1975 as an experiment in progressive education at Bennett High School.
  • 1976 - City Honors became a magnet school as a part of Judge Curtin's court ordered desegregation strategy and moved into School #17 across from Canisius College.
  • 1977 - The City laid Fosdick Street through the campus of the school and placed public housing on the land in front of the school that was once the playfield for the students.
  • 1979 - The FMP Girls Vocational Program was removed by the school district. The FMP building was used briefly as a warehouse and then abandoned for demolition. With only months to spare before demolition, FMP alumni were able to get the building declared an Erie County landmark. This forced the City and school district to utilize it again.
  • 1980 - The City Honors program was eventually deemed to be the perfect candidate for the Fosdick-Masten Park building that badly needed a tenant and a great deal of care.
History courtesy City Honors

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2006 - School ranked the 4th best high school in the country by Newsweek
  • 2007-2009 - The school underwent a $40 million expansion and renovation project that included a new athletic complex
  • 2013 - Work is underway to demolish Woodson Gardens, the abandoned public housing created on Fosdick Field in the 1970s

Other Pertinent Facts

  • Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983
  • The school's parcel of land is one of the highest points in the City of Buffalo
  • North Street was once the northern boundary of the Village and then the City of Buffalo


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Added 2013-06-25 • Last changed 2016-10-14