From time to time, we like to share letters sent to us with personal stories about the Terminal. Here’s one from Angus Gray:
Good morning: First and foremost, may I offer my congratulations as well as my admiration for preserving such a wonderful building. It has always bothered me that such beautiful and historic buildings get abandoned, or misused, then demolished to make way for some steel and glass monstrosity, and therefore any restoration and saving of older buildings has always attracted me. As one of your Canadian neighbours who grew up in Toronto, and watched TV from Buffalo for many years, I became familiar with many of the majestic buildings in Buffalo in news stories, weather reports and sportscasts. On my first trip to Buffalo in 1970, my father would point out the many different styles of architecture of the older buildings, many of which were similar to some older buildings in Toronto. My dad would lament at the fact that a number of buildings needed to be restored, both in Toronto and Buffalo (as well as in many other cities in both countries!), and it was this trip to Buffalo that spurred him on to help establish the Toronto Architectural Historical Society, which became responsible for preserving and restoring historical buildings in Toronto, and was later amalgamated into Heritage Toronto. Shortly thereafter, in 1972, my dad was instrumental in saving from the wreckers ball the historic Campbell House, which was moved from its original location in to a permanent place where it now acts as a museum and special function location. Today, historical buildings in Toronto are preserved and in some cases incorporated into newer edifices, with the integrity of the original buildings maintained for the future generations. It takes buckets of money, I know, but it also takes more willpower, and I’m happy to see that your organization has lots of that.
The Buffalo Central Terminal has a special place in my heart, and so it is more rewarding to hear about its restoration and preservation than most other buildings. This is because many years ago, I spent 12 hours waiting in the terminal for a connecting train to Boston, where I was surprising my girlfriend, whom I had met at an exchange in Toronto. I didn’t need to wait 12 hours for the train, but I spent so much time trying to look at every nook and cranny of the old terminal, that I missed a couple of trains! I know I must have irritated the staff at the terminal at the time, asking questions and pleading with janitors and office staff to let me see “just one more place please!”, but it awoke in me a love and admiration of the craftsmanship and commitment to quality work that was so obvious, even though at the time it was in desperate need of a total restoration.
My feelings for the girl in Boston waned, but my feelings for the Buffalo Central Terminal are still very strong.
If you have a story or memory you’d like to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.