Photo of the Y.M.C.A. from Preservation-Ready Sites Buffalo, year unknown.

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Google street view of former Y.M.C.A. site. Image capture date July 2023.

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Article about the Y.M.C.A., year unknown, via Buffalo Stories.

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Drawing of Y.M.C.A. by John Brent, November 11, 1926.

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Known Name(s)



585 Michigan Ave. Buffalo, NY

Establishment Type(s)

Hotel, YMCA

Physical Status



A four-story building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Sycamore Street, facing west onto Michigan Avenue. The brick structure, inspired by the Georgian style, featured eleven bays along the west elevation and seven along the south. The first-floor windows were arched. The second floors windows were six-over-nine, while the third and fourth windows were six-over-six. There was a stone beltcourse between the first and second floors, as well as the third and fourth. It had a stone foundation and a composition roof. A pair of double doors allows entry from Michigan Avenue to the west and Cyprus Street to the south. On the interior, it featured a twenty-by-sixty foot swimming pool, a forty-by-seventy foot gymnasium, and a lounge. A barber shop operated out of the basement. On the second floor there were classrooms, club rooms, and a cafeteria. The top two floors had dormitories for rooming guests.


Detailed History

Designed by the first Black architect in Buffalo, John Edmonston Brent, the Michigan Avenue branch of the YMCA was built in 1928 to support Buffalo’s African American community. Brent had also been the first president of the Buffalo Branch of the NAACP since 1915. The Michigan Avenue YMCA was visited by important guests such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Count Basie, and Jim Brown. Unfortunately, the building was torn down in 1977, and the site is currently a vacant lot.

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