Buffalo gets the bid.
In 1869, the New York State legislature authorized the creation of a new mental asylum for Western New York. There was fierce competition among Lockport, Batavia, Warsaw, Westfield, Mayville, and Buffalo to be chosen as the location for the new asylum, with each community offering different incentives. Eventually, Buffalo was chosen after the city guaranteed the hospital a free “perpetual supply of pure Niagara water.” The city was also a major transportation center with the largest population in Western New York, plus a nearby medical college. Frederick Law Olmsted, just completing the Buffalo Park System which included nearby Delaware Park, was asked to design the 203-acre asylum campus as well. Asked for a recommendation for an architect, Olmsted suggested his next-door neighbor and young friend, Henry Hobson Richardson. Despite little previous experience, Richardson was hired on Olmsted’s recommendation. The project would go on to become the largest of Richardson’s entire career.