Electric Tower


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July 1911

June 2009
Photo credit: WNY Heritage Press, Wikipedia


20 East Huron Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
More commonly known as 535 Washington Street
Google Bird's Eye View
Ellicott Council District
SBL: 111.46-7-1.1
Erie County Property Info
County Tax Map (loads GIS page)
City of Buffalo Parcel Viewer
At the intersection of Washington, Huron, and Genesee Streets.

Across from: 31 East Huron Street, Burns Building, 523 Washington Street, 5 East Huron, Buffalo Savings Bank, 540 Washington Street , 357 Ellicott Street, 367 Ellicott Street


Iskalo Development Corporation
NYS Corporation and Business Entity Database

Physical Description

Thirteen-story 140,000 sq.ft. Beaux Arts/Classic Revival tower. Clad in white terra cotta. Octagonal plan.

Current Condition

Restored and in use


  • 1882 - 'James Adams, A. P. Wright, J. F. Moulton, and H. G. Knowlton formed an organization for the purpose of distributing electric light in the city.' 'The franchise was granted by the Common Council to The Brush Electric Light Company and to The United States Electric Company.' They operated mainly in the First Ward.
  • 1886 - 'An organization was formed known as The Thomson-Houston Electric Light Company, which purposed to do electric lighting on the west side.'
  • 1892 - 'A combination of interests, by the purchase of stocks and bonds of the respective companies by a common holder, was entered into under the name of The Buffalo General Electric Company.'
  • 1912 - Completed construction of the Electric Tower as the local headquarters of the Buffalo General Electric Company. Designed by James A. Johnson.
  • 1924 and 1927 - Additions were built on either side of the tower
  • 1950 - A merger of the 3 largest electric companies in upstate NY lead to the formation of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation. Their corporate headquarters were in Syracuse, but their regional headquarters were in the Electric Tower.

history courtesy BuffaloAH.com

  • From the local landmark application: "The General Electric Tower, 20 East Huron Street, is among the most familiar and identifiable features of the Buffalo skyline. The 14 story, 294-foot tall office building was built from 1911 to 1912 and designed in the Beaux Arts style by Esenwein & Johnson. The General Electric Tower is among the earliest and best realizations in the United States of the possibilities of electric skyscraper illumination, with its lighting systems originally designed by Walter D’Arcy Ryan."

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2007 - $28.3 million rehabilitation by Iskalo Development Corporation.
  • 2008 - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Other Pertinent Facts

  • It was built based on utopian reconstructions of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, and also on the Electric Tower at the Pan-American Exhibition.
  • It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • May 2018 - designated a local historic landmark by Buffalo Common Council.


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Added 2013-01-08 • Last changed 2018-05-15