Main Street has certainly taken its lumps in the last forty years or so. it’s been widened, deforested, dried up by disinvestment, defaced by neglect and modernization (which one is worse?), and turned into a great, endless ditch in the name of progress. Is it any wonder that this stretch of Allentown sometimes bears a raw and angry look?
But, like every street in Allentown, Main is making a comeback; as merchants, investors and professionals begin to recognize the healthy market living right on the doorstep of these commercial and architectural treasures, Main Street, like Allen, is beginning to prosper.
St. Louis Church stands at Main and Edward Street. The home of the oldest Roman Catholic Congregation in the City of Buffalo. The church was named for Louis, the ninth king of France, a canonized saint of the Church. The congregation’s first home was a wooden cabin built on this site in 1832, which was a land-grant from Louis Le Couteulx, an early settler in the Village of Buffalo. The present structure, which might be described as French Gothic, was begun in 1886 and completed in 1889. The three-year construction period was a far cry from the several generations of labor once required to build the medieval structures on which this church is modeled.
The southwest corner of Main and Virginia Streets is a former site of the University of Western New York Medical School which was convenient to the Sisters of Charity Hospital just behind on St. Louis Place. In 1892, the Catholic Diocese built the structure which now stands on the site at No. 836 Main. The three-storey Beaux Arts building is one of the very few of that style in Buffalo. The central window openings on the north and east facades of the steel frame building span two stories with three rounded arches and are marked by broken pediments between the second and third floors, scrolled brackets, and paired columns with swags and dentilated cornicing. Other windows are flat-headed, transomed, overhung with cornices and surrounded in relief carving. A belt course of Greek-key and dentil moulding runs the facade under the first floor cornice supported by banded columns. The Virginia Street entrance boasts a fan-like copper cresting in its cornice. The massive copper cornice at the roof-line is supported with modillion brackets, egg-and-dart moulding and pellet relief in the frieze. A paneled balustrade runs the roof.
Residential housing once prospered amid the bustle of commercial Main Street. An exceptional and rare example of the High Victorian Italianate Style stands at No. 864 Main, built in 1872. The building is covered by a shallow hip roof which joins the pyramidic roofs of two front facing polygonal pavi_lions which flank the center entrance. Segmental arched windows grace the first floor facade, while the second-storey windows are round arched, all crowned with massive keystone-centered eyebrow heads. A delicate string course separates the shallow attic storey, over which elliptical and flat-arched windows alternate. The entrance porch is supported by slender corinthian columns. A fret-like design in the entrance frieze is mirrored at the roof. The building became a rooming house in the early days of the Depression and was later bought for commercial conversion.
At the southwest corner of Main and Allen Streets is a massive four-storey commercial and apartment building, called the “Red Jacket” after the famed Native American statesman whose relief-carved portrait rests in a medallion flanked by horns of plenty and centering the roof-line frieze over the corner entrance. Terra cotta paneling over the windows below proclaim the dedication of the building and set the date of construction as 1894. The building is unusual for its combination of Romanesque style elements and rich terra cotta detailing. The dentilated roof cornice is corbeled over a panel-and-medallion frieze. Four bowed bays on the eastern facade are parapeted at the third floor, pedimented at the second. Windows are treated with label-moulded arches, flat lintels and entablature-like crowns. Round arched doors are flanked by pilasters as are many of the windows. The building became a part of the Federal government’s urban renewal program in the early 1970’s and is today one of the key targets of Allentown’s revitalization efforts.
No properties were found on this street.