Joan Bozer. Photo by Derek Gee for the Buffalo News.

Joan Bozer (1928-2023) always looked to the future, but she got there through the past. Her hard-charging commitment to historic preservation helped Buffalo leaders understand that they should protect and adapt Buffalo’s magnificent structures and landscapes, rather than tear them down. We applaud city leaders who have recently acknowledged her many accomplishments.  

As a historic preservationist and visionary, she viewed thoughtful preservation as essential to urban vitality. Her life-long dedication to saving Buffalo’s landmark buildings and landscapes was premised on the understanding that the past must inform the future.   

Olmsted parks were not just empty places; they were beautiful democratic spaces where all could congregate. Historic buildings were not just old; they were places that could accommodate new ideas and new audiences, with minimal impact on the environment.  

Given her limitless energy and dedication to Buffalo, we applaud the decision by Buffalo leaders to name the atrium of the former post office building on the city campus SUNY Erie after the woman who saved it. In a ceremony on Thursday, April 18, 250 people gathered for the dedication ceremony and unveiling of the new Joan K. Bozer scholarship fund, which will provide money to future SUNY Erie students. Read more from Buffalo News and WIVB4

Indeed, Bozer was a full-time saviour. As Olmsted scholar Frank Kowsky noted, we can “trace the creation of both the National Association for Olmsted Parks and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy” from Joan’s dedicated work. It is no wonder that we at the Olmsted Network remain inspired by her vision and dedicated to preserving her great city.   

Renaming the atrium is a great act of respect and appreciation. But a far greater tribute would be to reinstate Olmsted’s Humboldt Parkway. We are proud to join hands with Joan’s son and others in this important cause. Read more from us here and Bozer’s son Alan here