Schoellkopf Power House (National Aniline)


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Partially demolished, 2017-07-11

Photo credit: Wikimedia, David Torke, fixBuffalo


229 Elk Street, Buffalo, NY 14210


NYS Corporation and Business Entity Database

Physical Description

Current Condition


  • From WNY Heritage Discovery Center: "In 1879, Jacob Schoellkopf established the Schoellkopf Aniline Dye & Chemical Company along the banks of the Buffalo River in South Buffalo. The company pioneered the development of aniline color dyes primarily for the cotton, silk, leather and paper dye markets within the United States.
  • In 1917 it merged with two other chemical companies to form the National Aniline & Chemical Company, becoming the second largest dye producer in the country.
  • The onset of World War I and the British blockade of German shipping prevented the importation of dye products and dye prices soared. Schoellkopf quickly seized on this opportunity to greatly expand manufacturing capacity at the Buffalo plant. At its peak, the Buffalo plant employed 3,000 workers in dozens of buildings on 63 acres of land along the Buffalo River.
  • The facility was sold to Buffalo Color Corp in 1977 and continued in operation until closing in 2003."
  • The Power House was erected in 1917 by the John P. Cowper Company, and put into operation in 1918.

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2009 - Purchased at tax auction for $80,000
  • March 2010 - Plans announced for conversion into a rail museum
  • July 11, 2017 - ICE HOUSE DEMOLISHED.
  • July 11, 2017 - Power House remains for now.
  • July 11, 2017 - David Torke on Facebook: "Only the 1970's addition to the power house will be demolished."
  • May 15, 2018 - National Park Service (NPS) rescinded the landmark designation they preliminarily awarded in 2017, citing the demolition of a portion of the complex, saying the demolition "markedly diminishes the historic appearance and character of the property, and, therefore, [it] does not meet the Standards" of the NPS.
  • August 2018 - The building owner has requested permission to demolish the "ice house", the remaining two-story part of the building complex, saying increased costs due to the denial of the landmark status make the rehabilitation of that building not cost-effective.

Other Pertinent Facts

  • From the letter removing landmark designation: "The NPS consistently advises that owners not undertake rehabilitation work prior to review and approval of a Part 2 application. As stated in program regulations, owners who undertake rehabilitation projects without prior approval by the NPS do so strictly at their own risk. Had the Part 2 been submitted prior to undertaking demolition of a significant part of the complex, we may have been able to recommend modifications that would have enabled the project to meet the Standards. That opportunity is foreclosed because the work that does not meet the Standards is complete, and character-defining portions of the complex are gone."


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Added 2013-02-28 • Last changed 2018-09-03