Buffalo Central Terminal

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  • Who designed and built the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The terminal was built by New York Central Railroad. Patrick Crowley, president of New York Central Railroad, elected architects Fellheimer & Wagner to design the terminal. Fellheimer & Wagner are also famous for designing the Cincinnati terminal.
  • How much did the Buffalo Central Terminal cost to build?

    14 millions dollars.
  • When did the Buffalo Central Terminal open?

    Construction on the terminal began in 1927 and was completed in 1929. Buffalo Central Terminal opened on June 22, 1929. Grand opening included the Chamber of Commerce Gala, with 2,200 people attending. It was the largest event in Buffalo at that time. The first train, Eastbound Empire State Express, departed from the terminal at 2pm. Click here to see a reproduction of the original Gala program.
  • How big is the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The terminal originally included the main concourse, 15 story office tower, train concourse, and the mail and baggage buildings along Curtiss Street. The CTRC currently owns the main concourse, office tower, and baggage building. The train concourse was disconnected from the main building in 1982, when the overpass was demolished to make way for larger trains. Amtrak currently owns and leases the train concourse. The City of Buffalo currently owns the mail building.

    The office tower is 271 feet high. The concourse measures 225′x66′ and is 58.5′ high through the center vault, and 63.5 feet at the domed ends. The building is 523,000 square feet.
  • When did the Buffalo Central Terminal close?

    The last train left Central Terminal on October 28, 1979. Amtrak abandoned the terminal in favor of using its new Dick Rd. Station in Cheektowaga, and the reopened downtown Exchange station. Anthony Fedele & Galesi Realty then purchased the terminal for $75,000.
  • Is the Buffalo Central Terminal going to be restored?

    It is the hope of everyone involved with the CTRC that the building will be restored to its former glory. However funding is the biggest factor in any restoration work. First and foremost on the restoration agenda is sealing and stabilization. The building has been fenced and sealed to keep out weather, vandals, and other intruders. Asbestos removal has been completed inside the main hall. The CTRC recently repaired the flat roofs of the building, and fixed drainage pipes inside to prevent the pooling of rain and snow inside the building. The domed roofs of the concourse are the next item on the list to be repaired – which includes removing the cement tiles on the roofs, repairing the roofs, and replacing the cement tiles. Once the building is completely sealed from the elements and intruders, restoration work inside the building can be considered. The reported estimated cost of complete restoration is in the area of 56 million dollars.
  • Why is the Buffalo Central Terminal in such disrepair?

    Buffalo Central Terminal closed in 1979, and fell through the hands of various owners until the CTRC acquired it in 1997. Years of neglect and Buffalo weather took their toll on the building. Previous owners removed all the ornamental details of the building, and vandals contributed to the destruction by adding graffiti tags and breaking windows.
  • What happened to the clock at the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The clock that stood in the middle of the main hall was removed during the sale of artifacts by previous owners. The clock appeared for sale out of Chicago on ebay several years ago for $20,000. At that time, fixing the roofs of the building seemed more important than acquiring artifacts from the terminal. Volunteers Sara Etten and LeighAnne Bennett located the clock in October 2003, and traveled to Chicago to see it. Late 2004 brought in the interest of WBEN and the Buffalo community on reacquiring the clock. Thanks to a generous donation from M&T Bank and donations from the community, the clock was purchased by the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation for $25,000, and brought back to Buffalo in January 2005. The clock was installed in the building for the 2005 season, and now resides at M&T Center in Downtown Buffalo.
  • What happened to the statue outside Buffalo Central Terminal?

    Little is known about the statue that sat in the plaza of the terminal. The statue was called "Progress" and we understand it was put in place sometime after the terminal was closed. The artist is currently unknown, but the statue was made of concrete and metal. During a terminal clean up, an attempt was made to move the statue to the Griffis Sculpture Park, but fell apart due to its poor condition.

    From Michael Harris – In regards to the statue "Progress", around 1982 I was a student at Corpus Christi and we were made to visit the statue. We were told the statue was supposed to be Mary holding Jesus.
  • What happened to the Buffalo statue at the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The original buffalo featured in the main hall was a real stuffed bison, used as an advertisement for the Buffalo Museum of Science. The story goes that during World War II men leaving Buffalo for the war often rubbed the Bison for good luck, thus wearing out the buffalo’s hide. The stuffed bison was removed and replaced by a plaster buffalo statue, painted to look like bronze. The plaster bison was broken when a previous owner backed a truck into the statue, knocking it to the ground, while removing the ceiling lights from the building.

    A new fiberglass bison was installed in Buffalo Central Terminal in October 2011, thanks to a donation by Mollenberg-Betz.

    The stuffed bison still resides in the Buffalo Museum of Science.

    A replica of the plaster bison sits on the University at Buffalo Amherst campus (in front of the arts building).
  • What happened to all the ornamental detail at the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    Previous owners sold all the ornamental artifacts that had been in the terminal. Light fixtures, iron railings, signs, the clock, etc. were all removed from the terminal and sold during the 1980s and 1990s. Pieces from the terminal turn up in various locations throughout the country. The clock was found for sale in Chicago. Mailboxes from inside the building are currently in the The Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum in Miami, Florida. A number of light fixtures are now in the Cafe Deco restaurant chain in Hong Kong. Our lights have also appeared in the movies "The Hardway", "For Love or Money", and "Bullets Over Broadway".
    If you have any information about other items from inside the building, please let us know.
  • Who currently owns the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    Buffalo Central Terminal is currently owned by the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation (CTRC). The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation purchased the building for one dollar in 1997 (and thus assumed the back taxes the previous owner owed the City of Buffalo). The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation is a non-profit organization that oversees the stabilization and restoration of the building. The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation owns the main concourse building and baggage building. The now detached train concourse is currently owned by Amtrak. The mail building is currently owned by the City of Buffalo.
  • Who makes up the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation?

    See our Restoration page for a listing of the Board of Directors
  • Are there public tours of the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    Tours of the building are listed on our Visit link from our home page. The tours focus on the exterior and main hall of the terminal. The general public is not allowed in the floors of the tower, or other areas of the main hall. This is for the public’s safety, as renovation work is ongoing.
  • Are there tours of the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    Tours of the building are listed on our Visit link found on our home page. The tours focus on the exterior and main hall of the terminal. The general public is not allowed in the floors of the tower, or other areas of the main hall. This is for the public’s safety, as renovation work is ongoing.
  • How do I get to the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The Buffalo Central Terminal is located at 495 Paderewski Drive in Buffalo, NY.

    From the North:
    190 south to exit #4 (Fillmore/Smith Street).
    Right off the exit. Right onto Paderewski Drive.

    From the South:
    190 north to exit #4 (Fillmore/Smith Street).
    Left off the exit. Right onto Paderewski Drive.

    From the 290:
    290 to 90.
    33 towards downtown Buffalo.
    Best Street/Science Museum exit.
    Left onto Best St. Right onto Fillmore.
    Left onto Paderewski Drive.
  • How can I help with the restoration of the Buffalo Central Terminal?

    The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation is made up of a group of dedicated volunteers. We have volunteer opportunities throughout the year for those interested in lending a hand. Everyone is welcome to help out, although minors will need parental approval. Due to the nature of the work and the condition of the building, all volunteers must sign a waiver.

    There are many different opportunities for people interested in helping to preserve the Buffalo Central Terminal. We are looking for people with basic carpentry and repair skills, and those with plumbing or electrical skills, to work inside the building.

    We also have opportunities for those interested in staffing events, assisting with fundraising, marketing, operating our gift shop, and many other tasks. If interested in volunteering or becoming a Docent, email BDadswell@buffalocentralterminal.org.

    Sign up for our Volunteer mailing list to be notified of all upcoming volunteer opportunities by following the Volunteer link on our home page.
  • Have I seen the Buffalo Central Terminal on album art?

    Various bands and artists have used the Central Terminal as a backdrop for photographs, album art and music videos.

    Robbie Robertson – Robbie’s first solo album used the platforms on the cover. Some info from the cover’s photographer: “I had met Jim Bush (Buffalo photographer) in New York in 1986. He invited me to Buffalo to give a lecture on my photography to a local group of art directors and photographers. While I was there, Jim drove me past the Central Terminal. A few months later I got the assignment to do the photography for Robbie’s next album. Robbie wanted something mystical yet urban for the cover. I thought the Terminal would be a great location for the urban part. I called Jim Bush and I flew up to Buffalo where he met me at the airport. He drove me to the terminal and we spent a couple of hours roaming around photographing the various aspects of the terminal. I remember it being a magical place. It seemed pretty abandoned in those days and we were free to wander around and take pictures. All the photographs were in black and white and I made prints of my favorites. Robbie next came to my studio where I combined his face and the terminal shots using a somewhat complicated method using a beam splitter. I would move the print during the exposure and thus the blurred effect achieved on the final art.
    It is one of my favorite album covers and I hope this information helps
    explains how it came about.
    Regards, Chris Callis”

    Cannibal Corpse – “Yes, it’s true, we used that sculpture [Progress] in one of our shots. It is on the album “Tomb of the Mutilated”, on the back cover of the CD. All the shots for that album were done at the old central train terminal. Alex Webster, Cannibal Corpse”

    Cheshire Cat – Video for the song “Never”

    The Boy And His Machine – Video for “Hook Line and Sinker” filmed in 2009 by Scott Richardson (who also was co-creator of the Central Terminal: Saving a Buffalo Landmark DVD)

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