Lafayette High School

Lafayette High School is the oldest public school in Buffalo that remains in its original building; a stone, brick and terra-cotta structure in the French Renaissance Revival style, by architects August Esenwein and James A. Johnson. Although classes began off-site during construction of the school, the building was completed, and graduated its first class, in 1903. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


LaFayette High School was the third high school built in Buffalo, New York. It has fallen into recent struggles with academics and has been placed on New York State's Watch List of Persistently Underperforming Schools. After the 2010-2011 school year, the school will close and re-open as a multicultural school with a new administration.

Former principals

Previous assignment and reason for departure denoted in parentheses

  • Mr. Arthur Detmers–1903-1906 (unknown, resigned)
  • Mr. Calvert King Mellen–1906-1934 (unknown, retired)
  • Mr. Frank Gott–1934-1955 (Vice Principal - Lafayette High School, retired)
  • Mr. Abraham Axelrod–1955-1958 (unknown, died)
  • Mr. Robert C. McGowan–1958-1968 (unknown, retired)
  • Mr. Gerald S. Hare–1968-1972 (Guidance counselor - LaFayette High School, transferred to Buffalo Public Schools District Offices)
  • Mr. Frederick D. Ganter–1972-1997 (unknown, retired)
  • Ms. Sharon A. Lanza–1997-2004 (Vice Principal - LaFayette High School, retired)
  • Dr. Jacquelyn M. Baldwin–2004-2008 (Assistant Principal - City Honors School, transferred to Office Of School Performance)
Selected former assistant principals

Previous assignment and reason for departure denoted in parentheses

  • Mr. Charles E. Rhodes–?-1922 (Teacher - Lafayette High School, named Principal of Bennett High School)
  • Ms. Sharon A. Lanza–?-1997 (unknown, named Principal of LaFayette High School)
  • Mr. Gregory K. Pigeon–2004-2005 (Business Teacher - Riverside Institute of Technology, named Assistant Principal of Erie 1 BOCES - Harkness Center)
  • Mr. Thomas N. Kalenik–?-2005 (unknown, retired)
  • Mr. Philip M. Martin–2005-2006 (Assistant Principal - Hutchinson Central Technical High School, resigned)
  • Ms. Lisa K. Robinson–?-2006 (Unknown, named Assistant Principal of School 331)
  • Mrs. Denise E. Clarke–2006-2009 (Assistant Principal - City Honors School, named Assistant Principal Of Riverside Institute of Technology)
  • Mr. Gregory D. Mott–2006 (unknown, named Principal of Academy School)
  • Mr. John E. Evert–2006-2008 (Social Studies teacher - Burgard Vocational High School, named Vice Principal of Lewiston-Porter High School)
Selected former administrators
Notable alumni
  • Barney Lepper (class of 1915), founder of the Buffalo All-Stars, which eventually became the city's first NFL team
  • Fran Striker (class of 1922), author, creator of the radio serial The Lone Ranger.
  • Gary Mallaber (class of (N/A)), Multiple platinum selling drummer and producer involved with acts such as The Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison and Eddie Money.
  • Bruce Shanks (class of 1927), Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.
  • Gordon Bunshaft (class of 1928), noted twentieth-century architect.
  • Robert J. Donovan (class of 1932), Washington Bureau Chief, New York Herald Tribune and Los Angeles Times. President, White House Correspondents' Association. Author of 12 books including PT-109. Only journalist to ever address a Joint Session of Congress.
  • Frank Kelly Freas (class of 1938), famed science-fiction cover artist.
  • Jeremiah Goodman (class of 1939), artist, known simply as "Jeremiah", painter of interior still lifes of famous residences.
  • The Modernaires (Hal Dickinson, Chuck Goldstein, and Bill Conway, late 1930s), the popular harmony group renowned for its performances on record and motion pictures with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
  • Douglas L. Turner (class of 1949),Executive Editor, Buffalo Courier-Express, Washington Bureau Chief and columnist for the Buffalo News.
  • Tedd Lewin (class of 1953), artist, author and illustrator of children's books.
  • Angelo Coniglio (class of 1954), first Civil Engineering graduate of the University of Buffalo, engineer, professor of engineering, author, archivist of the American Football League, genealogical author.
  • Elizabeth L. Dribben (class of 1954), first female news anchor on Buffalo television, copy writer at CBS News for Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, and Charles Kuralt. Member of the Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
  • Lawson, Edward (class of 1964), Edward won a landmark Supreme Court victory over racism and arbitrary stop and seizure practices by California police by defending himself before the Supreme Court of the US. . Few Lafayette graduates have ever shown such personal triumph over injustice.

Shanks (1927) and Lewin (1953), and all the art students in between were influenced by the remarkable Miss Elizabeth Weiffenbach, who taught art at the school for over forty years. These included Jack Smart (class of 1922), an artist who also played The Fat Man on 1940's radio; and Irving Jeremiah Goodman (class of 1939), a contemporary artist specializing in room still lifes. Turner rowed for the U.S. in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, was executive editor of The Buffalo Courier-Express, and is a member of the exclusive Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C.

The public school is supported by the private Lafayette High School Alumni Association, remarkable in its size and ability to sponsor school causes. In 1999, the association restored the building's landmark lantern or "cupola", which had deteriorated and been demolished for safety reasons in the 1970s. In May 2003, the association sponsored and ran a 100th Anniversary Celebration, attended by over 1,700 alumni and their guests, raising $30,000 for the school. The funds will establish the Ramsi P. Tick media room in memory of entrepreneur Tick, an LHS alumnus and philanthropist. The association also awards several annual grants and scholarships for worthy causes and students.

As their logos, the school and the Association use the LHS Triangle (Lafayette High School; Loyalty, Honor, Service) , and the Lafayette Angel.

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 6 years ago via