Since 1906 the main office of
Smith, Murphy & Schoepperle
has been located at
786 Ellicott Square Building
The Ellicott Square Building celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 1996. When it opened in 1896, it was the largest and most complete office building in the world. It was designed by Daniel Burnham in 1895 with a large interior court and dramatic marble stairways to a mezzanine level. The court is spanned by an iron and glass ceiling. Later, Italian craftsmen laid an intricate and breathtaking mosaic floor in the court. Brass elevator doors depict the history of Western New York with images of Native Americans, Great Lakes’ shipping, grain and steel mills, railroads and Joseph Ellicott, for whom the building is named.
Joseph Ellicott, a surveyor and agent of the Holland Land Company, laid out the City of Buffalo, then the village on New Amsterdam. Inspired by the plan for the District of Columbia, the streets were laid so they radiate from the center of the City and from other principal points in the City. Ellicott reserved the most desirable location for his residence and private estate, the east side of Main Street from Swan Street to Eagle Street. From his mansion, he looked north and south on Main and also down Niagara, Church and Erie Streets which radiated from Main at that point. Until 1896 his heirs and successors retained title to the part of his estate bounded by Main, Swan, Washington and South Division Streets. It was this property, known as Ellicott Square, that the Ellicott Square Building was erected.