Lafayette Hotel in color 2

Credit: Courtesy the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society

Louise Blanchard Bethune was a drafting apprentice at 25 for a Buffalo, N.Y., architect before becoming the first woman to open a firm (in 1881), join the AIA, and become a fellow. (Bethune’s 1904 Lafayette Hotel, shown, is part of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society’s exhibit America’s First Professional Woman Architect.) By 1920, there were more than 200 female architects. Today, they are estimated to be 26 percent of U.S. architecture-firm staff. Through March 2012. •