Blast from the Past: Pre-D’Youville Era

After four years of walking the halls of D’Youville, I’ve noticed that most of our wall decor are black and white photos from the early 1900’s. Though some of them are admittedly strange and eerie, the history of D’Youville and Buffalo has always been of interest to me. As a result, I’ve decided to investigate these photos and learn more about what surrounded our college over 100 years ago.

The Pierce Palace Hotel – 1871

Where the Alt building stands today was once the grounds of the Pierce Palace Hotel.  The Pierce Hotel was raised by Dr. Pierce to treat patients through the rest cure and patent medicine in the late 1800’s.  Pierce’s medicine, like several other remedies available at the time, would often include alcohol and opium.

Old image of Pierce Hotel

Construction of the hotel was completed on April 30, 1878, but tragically burned to the ground on February 16, 1881.  Dr. Pierce passed away in 1914 and is buried in the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. The Grey Nuns eventually added the Alt building to the campus in the 1960’s.

The Wells Fargo Mansion

In the late 1880’s, the Wells Fargo property spanned three blocks between Jersey St. and Pennsylvania St.

Wells Fargo EstateWilliam G. Fargo was the co-founder of the Wells Fargo and American Express Company. When the estate was constructed in 1868, it was the largest mansion in Buffalo.  Upon completion of the 22,170 square foot mansion in 1872, the cost of construction was $600,000, which would be around $9,000,000 in today’s dollars.

William Fargo died in 1881, and after his wife passed away in 1890, the children lived elsewhere and the mansion was vacant for 10 years after that.  The mansion was demolished in 1901 as it was too expensive to maintain and there were no interested buyers.

Holy Angels Academy (Pre-D’Youville)

Holy Angels Academy was a kindergarten to 12th grade boarding school for girls, founded by the Grey Nuns in 1861 and housed in the building now known as KAB or Koessler Administration Building.

KAB in the 1800s

Today, the KAB is home to administrative and faculty offices; the building originally housed the entire college when D’Youville was chartered in 1908.

 Colombian Exhibition held in Chicago 1893

As you walk by the Madonna Lounge on campus, you’ll see a row of (strange and somewhat creepy) black and white photos on both sides of the hallway.  This a collection of 19 photos that were sent to the Columbian Exhibition by Holy Angels, considered a leading school for women in New York State at the time.

Grey nuns and students

A number of Grey Nuns and students attended the Columbian Exhibition and sent these photographs to display the activities, classrooms, and laboratories at Holy Angels Academy. (Content from The D’Youville Family Album, by Dr. Kelly)

students dancing


Digital image copyright 2013 by D’Youville College. Images in this collection may be used for educational and non-commercial use: please credit “D’Youville College Archives, Montante Family Library, D’Youville College.” Images are not to be used for any commercial purpose without the expressed written permission of D’Youville College Archives.



















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