Louise Bethune, born Jennie Louise Blanchard, was the first American professional architect. In October 1881, at the age of twenty-five, she open her own office with husband Robert Armour Bethune. The opening of his office, announced during the "Ninth Congress of the Association for the Advancement of Women" marked what is considered the entry into the field of the first professional woman architect in the United States.
Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs firm became in the 1880s one of the most prominent on the Western New York by the execution of a variety of assignments in general industrial and public buildings. Among his most important works are: the 74th Regimental Armory (Buffalo-1885), later Elmwood Music Hall, the Livestock Exchange (Buffalo-1890), the Lockport Union High School (Lockport-1890), the great complex for Buffalo Weaving Company (Buffalo-1902), the Iroquois Door Building (Buffalo-1904) and Lafayette (Buffalo-1904) Hotel. In 1885 Bethune became the first female member of the Western Association of Architects (WAA), the first woman to be admitted to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1888 and as a member in 1889; and one of the founders of the Buffalo Society of Architects in 1886.