Buffalo Zoo (Elephant House) (1912)
Esenwein and Johnson
300 Parkside Avenue
This location is part of Preservation Buffalo-Niagara’s Westside Revitalization SCVNGR Trek. Play SCVNGR to learn about Buffalo’s rich architectural heritage, earn badges and win prizes at participating venues. Download the SCVNGR app and start playing today!(Photo to the right by Pat Finch)
Established in 1875, when the first curator was hired, the Buffalo Zoo held 270 animals at the time of the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. The largest early building in the zoo is the Elephant House, which was finished the same year as the Exposition. The monumental entrance to this historic structure includes a high-relief sculpture of an elephant head, by Ira Lake. The elephant relief dramatically breaks the classical pediment, in the middle of which it sits, and slightly overlaps the sculptural key-stone over the arch of the main entrance, unifying the design of this part of the building.