Our tradition of service dates back to 1926 when a 27-year-old architect and the firm’s first president, Jim Kideney, hung his shingle. That was the same year that Mike Shea opened his movie palace on Main Street; it was the year in which Jim Kideney received his first big commission, the Meadowbrook Country Club. There were also a few residential projects and some modest rehab work to help sustain this young architect. Then, in October of 1929, the stock market crashed heralding the beginning of the Great Depression. The firm, in many ways, was a beneficiary of the Great Depression; government funding became available for all kinds of public projects. The young firm was quick to seize on this opportunity and picked up a number of important school projects including Amherst Central High School, the Charlotte Sidway School for Grand Island and, schools in Marilla, West Seneca, Corfu, Elba, Ebenezer, Livonia, and others.
There was not a lot of work during the World War II years, except for some small emergency housing projects. With time and energy to spare, Jim organized the local architectural community so that it was poised and ready for the post-war years. Under Jim’s leadership, the architects undertook redevelopment studies for five areas in Buffalo; these studies became the underpinning of much of the city’s post-war planning. When the war ended in 1945, Kideney Architects was an established firm poised to undertake a variety of commissions. Western New York was ready to build. With the G.I. Bill paying for veterans’ college expenses, there was a tremendous need to expand university campuses. Kideney Architects won commissions at Buffalo State Teachers College to design the Butler Library, dormitories, and the student union; these were the first of many buildings the firm designed on that campus. On a trip to New York City, Jim sat next to the General Manager of the New York Telephone Company. The men struck up a conversation and the rest, as they say, is history. From a few local commissions for telephone offices in Hamburg and Lancaster, Kideney Architects, over the next forty years, designed more than 800 projects for New York Telephone.
In 1950, the firm began to grow rapidly. Baby boomers required schools and Kideney had lots of experience. The firm designed schools for Buffalo, Clarence and Orchard Park schools districts. As the 1960s approached, Kideney Architects built on the previous ten years of growth. Important buildings were being designed on the campuses of Buffalo State College and SUNY Fredonia, as well as at Bell Aerospace and many others.
In 1962, Kideney won its first major healthcare client, Millard Fillmore Hospital. It was the knowledge gained in working with Millard Fillmore that brought Kideney Architects into the healthcare market as a major Western New York architectural service provider. Subsequently, Kideney completed its first large, important downtown building, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. An immediate success, the library made a significant civic statement and popularized the Kideney Architects name even further.
The decade of the ‘70s began on a strong note; school and university work sustained the firm as did the first major expansion of Millard Fillmore Hospital. In 1974, Jim Kideney retired from the firm he had founded forty-eight years before. And now, a strong 90years since 1926, Kideney Architects proudly continues James Kideney’s legacy through a tradition of Western New York architectural excellence.