Esenwein & Johnson's successful practice continued during the 1920s, though designs were less sylistically diverse during the more conservative post-World War I years. As architects for the United Hotels Company, then the largest hotel chain in America, they designed the Niagara and other large hotels throughout the northeastern United States and Ontario, most in the Georgian style.
Although Esenwein & Johnson began to explore stylistic innovation once again with the Mayan Art Deco United Office Building in Niagara Falls, the firm could not survive the effects of the Great Depression, and dissolved in 1942.


ca. 1910

Built to house one of several millinery businesses on Washington Street, this building once featured a projecting cornice supported by stylized brick brackets. Its simple exterior of yellow brick with red mortar is a frank expression of the underlying construction. The building currently serves as the University at Buffalo's Educational Opportunity Center.

 

The partnership was masterful, both at adapting historical styles to modern needs, and in using new and innovative expressions as alternatives to historicism. The firm produced an enormous range of work of uniformly high quality. Many of the designs rank with the best the country has to offer; their series of Art Nouveau buildings may be unique in American architecture. During its sixt-year existence, Esenwein & Johnson played a major role in defining the built environment of Buffalo and Western New York.

 

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