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Finding Zawadzki…

I have become fascinated with the Broadway-Fillmore work of architect Wladyslaw H. Zawadzki. His designs represent some of the most beautiful and significant buildings in the neighborhood.

After looking into more of what he had done, I decided to start photographing his buildings and put together a series of slideshows to highlight the various B-F structures he created.

His legacy touches many different parts of B-F and Polonia…it is amazing…the variety of buildings is amazing as well.

Some of the buildings in the slideshow definitely need some TLC, but nonetheless, are representative of his body of work.

Please share your thoughts.

The following biography on Zawadzki was extracted from the ”Intensive Level Historic Resources Survey of Broadway-Fillmore Neigborhood” completed by Clinton Brown Company Architecture in August 2004.

Architect W. H. Zawadzki (1872-1926) was the most important Polish-American architect in Buffalo. 11 He designed a number of buildings in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood that as a group constitutes his best work. The current survey identified 18 buildings attributed to Zawadzki in the neighborhood; the largest concentrated collection of his work, known to date. He designed a variety of buildings for a wide range of uses such as religious, residential, social, commercial, and industrial. During his career, Zawadski employed different materials and styles of the period for his designs. Born in Poznan, Poland in 1872, he immigrated to Buffalo with his parents as a young man. His education background included private study with Mr. Schmidehuazena. He later attended architectural school in Buffalo. Before opening his own practice in the neighborhood, he worked for the American Bridge Company and then at Lackawanna Steel Company for six years. In 1898, he married Stanów Zjednoczonych. Zawadzki served in World War I. The prominent East Side architect purchased the house at 798 Fillmore Avenue (1895) for his own residence and office, where he remained until his death in 1926.

Zawadski’s first major commission was for the Dom Polski building at 1081 Broadway. His largest commissions in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood were for religious and social buildings. He designed the Transfiguration R.C. School (1915, 34 Stanislaus Street), a classical-inspired building, and Transfiguration Rectory (1925, 144 Mills Street), one of his latest works. He was commissioned for Queen of the Most Holy Rosary R. C. Church, a combined church and school building, at 1040 Sycamore Street (1916-1917). For St. Stanislaus parish he executed plans for a convent (1916-1917, 562 Fillmore Avenue) in a modified Georgian Revival style to give an air of comfortable domesticity to the large multiple dwelling.

He also designed for the parish a garage with living quarters (1919, 123 Townsend Street). Zawadzki drew plans for the three of the most important Polish-American neighborhood social and cultural centers: the Renaissance style Dom Polski Building (1905-1906, an institution modeled on the YMCA) at 1081 Broadway, the Polish Singing Circle Building (1907) at 1170 Broadway, and impressive, three-story Polish Union Hall (1914) at 761 Fillmore Avenue.

Zawadzki is attributed to a number of commercial buildings. Among his commercial buildings on Broadway are the former Polonia Hotel (1906; later remodeled as a bank) at 1067 Broadway, diminutive Romanesque style Hodkiewicz-Cohen Bakery (1906) at 1132 Broadway, and the Renaissance style Lipowicz’s wholesale grocery store (1912; an earlier section by an unknown architect was built ca. 1900 at 1201 Broadway). Other works include a building for the A. Schreiber Brewing Company to house the company offices and the bottling works (1909, 662 Fillmore Avenue) and three residences.

Other buildings attributed to Zawadski include: St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Byzantine-Church (1906) in Black Rock; St. Nicholas Ukrainian-Byzantine Catholic Church (1917-1919, Fillmore Avenue and Oneida Street); St. Luke’s Church and School (1908-1919, Sycamore Street and Miller Avenue); St. Casimir Church and School (1906, Weimar and Casimir Sts.); Public School No. 3 in Buffalo; St. John Gualbert (1917) in Cheektowaga; Church Rectory and Home of Sisters of St. Augustine in Depew. Sts. Peter & Paul in Depew, St. Trójcy in Niagara Falls; St. Stanislaus Kostki in Niagara Falls; St. Trójcy in Erie, PA; and the Polish Church in Batavia.

More to follow…

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23 thoughts on “Finding Zawadzki Part One

  1. Excellent slideshow, Chris! Zawadzki is one of my favorite architects. His decorative brickwork is absolutely beautiful! My second favorite (Polish Union Hall being the first) Zawadzki building is Transfiguration School. His style was decorative yet very masculine.

  2. As I have really started to pay attention to his buildings, I notice so many different things that are uniquely him…the chimneys for example…if you look at 470 Sweet and then the Polish Union or vica versa, what attention to every last detail…

    I was surprised that Sweet still had originals…

  3. Another unique feature of many of his buildings is the use of different color bricks and different surface heights to accentuate the detail. He was a master of detail!

  4. As I watched the video of Broadway FIlmore, I was awe swept. The childhood memories which I thought were tucked away in a place long forgotten, became real and alive as if they occured yesterday. The times of walking and playing safely in a place where you knew everyone and everyone knew you wafted through my head bringing a smile to my face. You knew that the Koniarczeks always lived there and probably always would….that the Woskowicz family was there to stay, that the bar on the corner had been owned by the same family for years. No one was unfamiliar, not belonging…A stranger was someone that came from distant places, danger never came from those living a block away from you , it was something that came from far away. The greatest danger we faced as children was from acts of our own niavity. Homes were taken care of, pride on an every inch of the area. Women cleaning steps and sidewalks, using knives to cut away weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalks and making the lawn edges even and pristine. Trash was never something you found on the street, maybe a cigarette butt or 2, but not what we see today.
    I wept to see the neglect and the boarded up buildings which we would go to, but rejoiced at the rehab being done to some. I often pray that there be restoration of the old Polonia. I often would love to go back to the days of my youth, though reality dictates otherwise. We can help restore, we can help revitalize, but we can never go back….cannot rebuild what we neglected to take care of and tend to. Maybe we can make it something else more beautiful, I don’t know, but there is always hope, if there is a breath in us and a drive, there is hope.
    To those working on this renewing of the old Broadway FIlmore area….May your vision be seen in this generation and your work be done with pride and vigor. May all that you do bear good fruit and be multiplied a thousand fold.

  5. Wanda…THANK YOU for your comments…we can never go back…but…what we can do is help preserve what we can and capture the beauty of the neighborhood’s past…as the photos show, there is plenty of beauty left to save…that is what I and many others are working for…

  6. Surfing the web I came accross this site and was amazed. My father spoke of Wladyslaw often but I never realized how much he did in Buffalo. Wladyslaw was actually my fathers uncle. It was great to read up on family and see someone is this interested in his work.
    Michael Zawadzki

  7. Wladyslaw was my grandfather’s older brother….so…my great, great uncle!!!! Thanks for this, what a captivating piece of family history for us!!! I’m glad this man made so many people happy through his work.

  8. I want to thank you for your interesting video about the architect, W. H. Zawadzki.

    I came across Broadway-Fillmore Alive while doing family history research on the Internet. Wladislaw Zawadzki was related to my grandfather, Charles E. Zawadzki.

    I loved watching the video and hearing the accompanying music. It really brought back memories of my childhood and the neighborhoods of Buffalo!

    You did a terrific job and I can’t wait to see more.

    Incidentally, the Polish Singing Circle Building (1907) at 1170 Broadway was for a time the location of my Grandfather’s pharmacy, until his death in 1930.

    Thank you again for capturing the past in such a lovely way.

  9. There seem to be quite a few Zawadzkis left. Would the Zawadzki clan consider doing something with the building to honor their ancestors’ memory ?

  10. I will be fininshing up the last of my Zawadzki videos this summer…stay tuned and thank you for the kind words…my hope is to have his body of work in Buffalo recognized on a higher level…he really helped shape Broadway-Fillmore and Polonia…his work is both distinctive and beautiful…I am glad some of his ancestors found the videos…


  11. Wladyslaw Zawadzki is my great, great uncle. My grandfather, Vince Watson (shortened version of Zawadzki), was Wladyslaw’s nephew. Grandpa owned Auburn Watson and designed many beautiful kitchens in Buffalo for 50 years. Architecture and building run in the family. I am only 13 years old but I want to be an architect like my great, great uncle. I love building, designing and construction. I spend hours daily drawing and designing buildings. I did not know that my uncle was an architect until this Thanksgiving. Thank you for posting this video. It inspires me to become an architect even more!

  12. My maiden name is Zawadzki and I just happened upon this link through something else sent my way. From all I know, Zawadzki is not a common name. My grandfather’s first name was Stanislaus and he had a half-brother, but not sure of much else. I am so enthralled to find this information. Even if not a relative, I am proud to share a name with such a great talent.

  13. Great work and wonderful photos of masterworks. However, you might want to correct whom he married. As you’ve written it, he married the United State (Stanow Zjednoczonych), which I am sure you didn’t intend. Interesting fact is that my grandmother nee Zawadzki, was the daughter and niece of famous 19th century engineers whose work can be found in present day Lwow (or Lvivi in Ukrainian.) It would be interesting to know if the Zawadzki family was originally from or related to the Zawadzki family originally of the Podlasie region of Poland east of Warsaw. My great grandfather moved to Lwow after the 1863 Uprising where there was greater freedom. There is definitely something in the genes as many of their decendents have become engineers themselves.

  14. According to the “Dictionary of Surnames Currently Used in Poland” there are 35,224 people with the name Zawadzki in Poland. Compare that to 131,940 with the most popular name “Kowalski”.

    You can find more information about the Dictionary here:

    Population of Poland is: 38,149,886

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