James H. Kirby

James H. Kirby was born in Seneca, NY. The son of a builder and contractor, when he showed a talent for drawing his father found him a job in an architect's office at the age of eighteen. Later Kirby worked for the construction department of the Pennsylvania Railroad and for the Wilson Brothers in Philadelphia where he also taught architectural drawing at the Academy of Fine Arts.

When Kirby came to Syracuse in 1879, he worked in the architectural office of Horatio Nelson White until he started his own business six months later. He was subsequently associated with Charles E. Colton, John Bates, James A. Randall, Asa L. Merrick and George W. Baxter.

In 1891 Kirby left Syracuse to practice architecture in New York City. Kirby published several portfolios including:

  • Modern Cottages, 1887

  • Portfolio of Cottages, 1885

  • Demestic Architecture, 1874.

Kirby served as Second Vice President to the Western New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. For a time he was the editor of the monthly "Architectural Era," which served as a bulletin for the Western New York Chapter of the A.I.A.


  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 1888, Jamesville, NY. Extant.

  • Park Avenue Methodist Church, 1888, 310 North Geddes Street, Syracuse, NY. Extant.

Public Buildings

  • County Clerk's Office Building, 1882, c. Genesee & Court Sts., Auburn, NY. Extant.

  • Marshall Memorial Building, 1885, Lyons, NY. Extant.

Schools and Community Buildings

  • YMCA, 1884, S. Warren St., Syracuse, NY. (Kirby & Bates). Demolished.

  • Opera House, 1885, Cortland, NY. Demolished.

  • Opera House, 1885, Lyons, NY. Extant.

Business, Banking and Light Industry

  • First National Bank, 1885, Cortland, NY. Demolished.

  • Wallace Block, 1885, Cortland, NY. Extant, altered.

  • Taylor Block, 1887, Cortland, NY.

  • W.P. Sabey & Co. Bldg., c. 1889, 113-117 S. Clinton St. Demolished.

Apartment Houses and Residences

  • Hopkins Res., 1881, 506 University Avenue, Syracuse, NY. Extant.

  • Fitzgerald Res. 1888, Tompkins St., Cortland, NY. Extant.

  • Four Dwellings for William Case, 1884, Cedar St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • Residence for E.P. Jones, 1885, 330 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • Weaver Block of Dwellings, 1885, 607 E. Fayette St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished

  • Res. for Dr. Elsner, 1885, 516 Prospect Ave., Syracuse, NY. Extant.

  • Fred Walch Block, 1887, 414 Willow St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • George Hine Block, 1887, c. James & Lodi Sts., Syracuse, NY (Kirby & Randall). Demolished.

  • Solomon Berson Res., 1888, 711 Harrison St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • William F. Lyon Res., 1889, 209 Townsend St., Syracuse, NY (Kirby & Bates). Demolished.

  • Frank C. Howlett, 1890, 804 Genesee St., Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • Justin Seubert Res., 1890, 405 Oak St., Syracuse, NY (Kirby & Bates). Extant.

  • H.C. Barnum Res., 1891, 803 University Avenue, Syracuse, NY. Demolished.

  • Res. for Robert Dey, 1891, 814 James St., Syracuse, NY (Kirby & Baxter). Demolished.

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