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There should be a planing and oversight organization to supervise and preserve the heritage of the Buffalo area. Too many times there are no long term plans, only an attemp at quick fix solutions. Buffalo should look to other cities and see how they have rebuilt their areas.
In May of 1965 there was an airline strike imminent. I neded to get to Fort Dix, NJ to be shipped overseas. I took the PRR from Buffalo to Trenton. It was the last time that I saw my grandfather as he waived to me from the platform. By the time I returned, two years later, he was dead. My other grandfather,was an engineer on the NYC for over 20 years. He was the engineer of the 20th Century Limited when he died in 1939. He was based in Buffalo.
Just a few memories of picking up or taking relatives to the station. It was a very impressive place to a little kid in the early fifties.
An Art Deco work of art! I am an Amtrak Conductor in Boston and appreciate any preservation of railroad history.
(My) Memories of the central terminal are as vivid as yesterday. Get the local,state,and federal politicians off their big butts and find the funding to upgrade the city.
Remember going there as a young child to greet and/or send off arriving and departing relatives and friends. Most vivid memory is boarding train there to depart for Ft. Dix NJ in Aug. 1964. I work at the main post office on William St. right behind the terminal, and can remember taking mail thru the undergroung tunnel between the two buildings. I see the terminal for eight hours five days a week, and have for years; for many years there was a new fire in the building just about weekly. What a shame!!! Helped at the outdoor cleanup last spring, and it was nice to see so many people there helping.
With the price of real estate in the suburbs, business taxes, etc. I can't believe that the 50 - 75 million required to restore the terminal doesn't make it a cost-effective solution for some large collection of businesses. I think that if a morally sound developer garnered support from both busineses and the city government, refurbishing the terminal would have a beneficial effect on the neighborhood. This might include special dispensation re: taxes from both the state and the city, stepped-up police services, low/no-interest loans for private businesses in the broadway/fillmore/paderewski area, etc. Community gardens in some of the vacant spaces both on the property and on surrounding vacant lots. This could be a cooperative venture in conjunction with local plant growers, Buffalo Magnet science school, Buffalo Botanical Gardens, etc. Many cities have instituted FORMAL community garden programs, and they serve as a springboard for other revitalization activites. e.g. an after-school type program for latchkey kids, a welfare work-for-relief program, etc. When the amount of business/social activity increases at the terminal, it will radiate outward, positively affecting the whole community.
It is a horrible state of repair and would cost over one-hundred million to do anything with. I would never tear it down though. Washington DC did a good job with their Union station restoration, maybe that should be studied.
I grew up in Buffalo. I remember taking my cousin to the station in the 50's when she came to visit. I remeber as a little boy how exciting it was. A friend of mine's father worked for the NYC and another for the Erie. Railroads have always been a part of my life.
I first became aware of, and had opportunities to see the complex in the 1980's, and have an extensinve collection of slides which unfortunately mirror many of the recent photos on this site. My daughter even did a water colour, which hangs in my front hall. ("BCT, 1929"). The film, "The Natural", with Robert Redford, has an excellent scene done in the main concourse.
Playing tackle football in the shadow of the terminal near the rea terminal. That area was called "black diamond". Riding bicycles down the side of the hill that approaches from Paderewski. The Van Dyke taxi garage . Driving under the Curtiss St. underpass. A fight at the Dyngus day party that was held there, and the deplorable condition it was in even then! The long ramps that led to trackside. The stupid floor hockey league that was set up to play there (even worse condition).
Ryan M. Schoelerman
Friends and I used to drive over there to check out the architecture and the cool-ass sculpture in front of it. I've done much traveling around this country and half of the world, and I'm tired of Buffalonians thinking I'm nuts when I say that Buffalo is by far the best city to live in the US. I've heard from many who visit here how surprised they are that Buffalo and its residents are so cool.
T: We went to a party there in about 1990 or so(maybe). Also have vague memories of my uncle and father taking me there.
J: I too have vague memories of going there with my aunt to pick up my uncle from business trips. I remember high ceilings and a magical atmosphere-I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time.
T: Now it's the biggest crime I totally agree. When we were there it was in the process of being remodeled, drove by a week ago and it was so sad.
I was born and raised on the east side of Buffalo on Loepere Street and I can remeber as a child going with my parents to pick up relatives or friends visiting for the holidays. Also, during my early teens, we would hang around the restaurant and drink hot chocolate to warm up after playing in the snow - sliding down the hill on card boards. My grandfather and father worked for the railroad back in the 30s and 40s. I left buffalo in 86 and have been back 5 times to visit and the last time in 93. My family and friends who now all live in the suburbs discourage me from visiting the east side because of the crime and shooting going on. It is a shame because I have so many fond memories of the east side.
You need something there that would make the very expensive cost of remodeling worth it. THE NEW INDIAN CASINO! Fix 3 floors first then the money they make would pay for more! Its the only business I can think of that would work in such a way as to pay for all those repairs! THINK ABOUT IT! PASS IT ON!!
I rode one of the last trains out in the 70's. I have many photographs of it that I took as a teenager. I worked near it until recently and was saddened every time I saw it.
I remember the buffalo from when I was a kid in the 50's. My brother and I thought it was the coolest thing. So sad to see the condition it's in now.
My Dad worked at Central Terminal as Assistant Gen. Yardmaster til 1952. I have MANY wonderful memories of the station and train rides we took. I'd be willing to volunteer my time to work on projects to help restore the Terminal.
I moved to Buffalo in 1981, just after it closed. Only memory is of black and white photos I took for UB Grad course, Technology, Culture and Social Change. I scared up a pair of pheasant in the old yard. I love the structure and wish it could be completely restored for a variety of uses. I'm afraid it might be too far gone.
I'm 25 years old and first came across the Central Terminal in 1992. A group of friends and I decided to explore it; once, and I was hooked. It became a monthly ritual of ours to go in and photograph it. It's is unimaginable to me that this building was literally left to rot and nothing was done to at least secure the entrances. An interesting occurence happened there to my brother-in-law and myself. Probably about 3 years ago in the summer, it was early nighttime and we parked on one of the sidestreets and were walking up to the main concourse. With flashlights, we were about to enter, when we heard so noise coming from inside. Being careful, we decided to inspect first. Peaking in, we saw rows of vehicles parked inside, cars, trucks, and vans, and there was a bunch of men with walkie-talkies and flashlights. It was odd because I think that we were just in there a few days prior, and none of this was there. Within 5 minutes, about 10 cars, some cop cars, some unmarked, came speeding up to the concourse from Paderewski St. and some came also from Curtis St. To this day, I have no idea what was going on in there, but it seemed very secretive. Any idea's? This was at night, which is even a little more odd to me.
Always remember seeing from childhood to current as a "landmark" knowing you are getting closer to Buffalo when you see the "skyscraper tower".
I grew up on the corner of Gibson and Peckham Streets, a short walk from the Terminal. I remember going to the Terminal restaurant and having cup of coffee with my friends, marveling at the architecture, and wondering what happened to the tail of the Bison statue (someone had taken the tail a long time ago). I was greatly saddened to view the photographs of the Terminal's destruction. A very fond memory of my childhood in Buffalo has faded terribly.
Buffalo, like so many urban areas, has let its once pround ethnic neighborhoods turn into slums and crime ridden ghettos. All growth is centered in the suburbs and sprawling outward.
The first time I saw it about 3 years ago, I couldn't believe that Buffalo actually had something this cool!!!
Madeline V. Conti
I worked there for about 10 years from 1968 to 1978. It was a grand place with a lot of beauty. I think there should be something done to bring the building back to use.
I grew up on 143 Sears ST. The CT was in my backyard. We used to go sledding down Devils Hill that led to Kania's Meat Market.I can still remember the sounds/smells of the CT. A wonderful place.
Our politcal leaders are now, and have historically been short sighted. The area is being strangled by over taxation and lack of business vitality. This is why people cannot devote more interest in issues like the NYC terminal; their afraid it's going to cost them money to get involved.
I lived on Geneva Street (off Memorial Dr. I snuck into the terminal a few times when I was young. Remember the circus coming through with the animals on board. In the 1970's it was already a scary place, with lots of destruction.
I remember taking my aunt to the terminal in the 60's. It was so big to me a small child. She was comming to and from Chicago. It looked so nice to me back then. It is a shame that it has gone so far down hill. Does Buffalo do a good job of preserving its architectural heritage? NO, and neither did Niagara Falls. All of the nice old places were torn down for what? The places that were built in their place have no soul, no beauty. They all look like boxes. Look at the movie houses now they are boxes. In the old days they were works of art.
I attended one of the last public functions in the terminal, a Dyngus Day Party. Unfortunately, I never brought a camera. I did on occasion take exterior photos. Being close to the building so many times and seeing the grandeur of it's heritage, I'm sad for the fact that I was not able to witness first hand the glory of the Central Terminal.
We took the train out of the Central Terminal for California in 1969. The yellow-tiled walls to the tracks were spooky at 3 in the morning! (I would reuse CT as) A RAILROAD TERMINAL and eliminate the junky Depew terminal!!! Then, negotiate for more train departures and arrivals. Create a hotel in the terminal and run trains for the tourists to Niagara Falls. Put a casino in it too so they won't spend the money in Canada.
Roger C. Loncteaux
The windows over the parapet shown in the entrance photo were my Grandfather's office. He was Charles H. Hogan of the famous 999 Empire State Express.
I think Buffalo could do better in preserving its heritage. It was once known as a large US city, but now is 50th in size. I would do anything for the Central Terminal to be vandal-free, and its original splendour to be replenished as it was in 1940.
James W. Everett, Jr.
My grandfather worked at the terminal as a customs inspector/telegraph operator. He met my grandmother there when she was working there. I left on several train trips out of the terminal. When I was younger (5-7), my mother took my brothers and me to Rochester to visit friends. We went by train because "This just won't be here in the future." Later, I went to Utica by train to go to camp in the Adirondaks (1970).
I have very haunting memories of the Central Terminal. I think that "she" could use a good group of really talented and bright individuals to restore this grand lady! I want to DO something. Need help? This is my heritage. I don't want to see it get swept away with either time or ruination.
I grew up on Lovejoy Street and the Central Terminal was a huge and distant watchman over the neighborhood. To rebuild the teminal into anything approaching useability would take tens of millions of dollars that could be better spent. The window of opportunity to save the terminal closed twenty to thirty years ago.
Beverly Vander Kooy
The East side has deteriorated partially, I believe, to the miserable job the city has done with building inspections and enforcement. Buildings are being demolished because an owner or series of owners has been allowed to make profits without putting any money into the buildings. Our inner city buildings were not viewed as an asset for many years. I am seeing some bright spots with the restoration (albeit slow) of the Martin Complex. It is encouraging that the Graycliff Conservancy is able to purchase the property. As a community we should hang our heads in shame at the loss of such great buildings as the Larkin Office Building, etc., etc. I have been holding my breath over the wonderful building that Braun just sold on Main St. We can be proud of our successes too -- the old Post Office (ECC-City) is one. The next worry is the zoo.
I've never had the chance to see the Terminal in person. However, I am absolutely sick to see the way that this beautiful structure has been permitted to decay. It says absolutely nothing positive about the city of Buffalo, that they would allow this. It is difficult to see how Buffalo could do a worse job in preserving it's heritage. The entire city gives the impression of active neglect and that government is totally incapable of preserving those things that gave Buffalo stature, in the past.
I grew up at the base of the terminal on Newton St. I remember when the terminal was still in use( in fact my family took a trip to Toronto just to use the terminal)The lights, the excitement... I also remember when the movie Best Friends was made there. My neighbor was our councilman and got us up to meet Burt Reynolds. I remember that there was not much snow that year and they had to make snow. Some of it blew down into my yard.
I would open my brew pub blues bar and rent out the office space and some warehouse out the back. After gambling is legal I would have Buffalo's first casino!!! I wish I could buy it !!! I would run trains in to the city from "CheektaVegas." They could stop at my pub and hear some Blues before a Sabres Game.
The surrounding area seems to have fostered an environment for destruction. I dont think the people (that live) there make much of an effort to keep people out of there and allow the destruction to proceed. Obviously most of the vandals are not from far away but what can you expect. There is a general disreguard everywhere for anything historic or beautiful. People will destroy everything sooner or later.
I met and grew acquainted with Tony, the former owner of the Terminal. I was immediately struck by the poignance of a man with such a strong affinity for this beautiful historic facility and its possibilities, and by its saddening decline and the lack of effort to support its preservation and restoration. When I was younger, I had my own "Friends of the Central Terminal" pin, that Tony had given me. I've still got it, and a wealth of stories that came with it!
I remember it as a functional rail station (in a state of decline). I clearly remember the large Bison in the lobby. I just drove up to the Grand Old Girl the other day, and left nearly with a tear in my eye. I'm afraid the building has been left to languish for so long that it could never be restored in a "period correct" manner. While the exterior could probably make it, the interior would have to be scaled back in grandeur and utilize modern (cheaper) materials to make the project anywhere near feasable.
The main stumbling block to progress in this area are the politicians and local government administration. When the Bills threatened to leave, everyone worked together to keep them here and invest whatever was needed to keep them here. I personally wish they had left so the money could have gone where it was needed (into the city schools and neighborhoods), not that I expect it would have. We have an excellent model of succesful business and residential cooperation only 90 miles north of here (Toronto), however the provincial "little despots" that run this area would never consider relinquishing any power for the good of the region and its people. To stand by and watch a once great city die is heart wrenching. I'm either leaving or running for Mayor. But SOMETHING has to change.
Geri (Poswy) Faust
I used to go there with friends just for a cup of coffee and time to chat. It was such a vibrant place. Before I moved, they were using it for weddings & dances. The upstairs were offices of some sort- one being the Credit Union for NYC. of which I was a member. My Dad worked as a stationary engineer. I remember when Torontonians came to Buffalo for their Victoria and other holidays. Going downtown was so very enjoyable - the restraurants- the theaters- the stores. I'm talking about the 50's now. I remember riding my bike from Fox & Sycamore to Ft. Erie. You couldn't do that now.