A Remembrance of Louise Blanchard Bethune, America's First Female Architect

Yes, The Atlantic Cities got the date wrong when it chose to celebrate Bethune's birthday last week. But that doesn't mean we can't honor the first American woman known to have worked as a professional architect (born on July 21, 1856).

Louise Blanchard Bethune was the first female associate of the American Institute of Architects. She and her husband shared a practice in Buffalo, New York.

Bethune’s best-known project was Buffalo’s Hotel Lafayette (1902). She turned down a chance to enter the design competition for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in protest over the low rates offered to women designers.

Buffalo remembers the first woman of architecture with the soon-to-open “Bethune Lofts,” in the renovated Buffalo Meter Building. The building was formerly known as “Bethune Hall” when it housed the SUNY Buffalo department of art, from 1970 to the early 1990s.

“[A]nyone who admired Bethune and what she represented should be pleased to see the only city in which she practiced architecture bringing her legacy and her name back to life a century after death,” Mark Byrnes writes.

Full Story: Happy 157th Birthday to America's First Female Architect


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