News August 2020

Photo ©Mark Mulville/Buffalo News.

In Buffalo, Efforts to Demolish Willert Park Courts Renew

August 6, 2020

In case you missed this item in the Docomomo US news stream: Up for a new round of preservation debate are the Willert Park Courts housing in Buffalo, NY. The buildings were the first complex built in Buffalo for the Black community. The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority completed the first of the buildings in 1939. Additional buildings were constructed in 1942 and 1944. The early International Style design by Frederick C. Backus (1889–1969), was innovative for its time. In 1940, Willert Park Courts was featured in MoMA’s 1940 Guide to Modern Architecture of the Northeast States. This debate is an important, timely one as countless conversations addressing systemic racism are taking place across the country. Visit Docomomo US to read the full post about the ongoing battle preservationists and community leaders are facing in their opposition to the demolition of Willert Park Courts.

“Buffalo renews push to demolish Willert Park Courts,” Docomomo US, June 27,2020.

DOCOMOMO US/NY Tri-State wrote about Willert Park Courts in 2017 when the first round of demolition was proposed.
“Demolition of Willert Park Courts in Buffalo under review,” February 20, 2017

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also provided a petition.