A while back, I posted about a piece of architectural wonderment lying vandalized and dormant in Buffalo—the old Central Terminal. It’s a beautiful Deco train station from the 1920s, plopped into an otherwise unexceptional suburban neighborhood.
At the time the station was built, Buffalo was still an industrial and cultural center, with a population over one-half million. It was second only to Chicago for its tangling rail network. However, by the late 1970s, both the city and the station had seen better days. The station was boarded up, and the trains instead stopped at a new, strip-mall like parking-lot station not far away.
Well, there is some good news… it seems that some people do care about preserving the city’s heritage. Despite its vandalized and trashed interior, the building is drawing crowds—including some Canadian urban explorers.
What I love about structures like the Central Terminal is that they were built for the public to use. It’s absolutely unthinkable to imagine private corporations building such public spaces today—I think those years have passed, (as have the years of ridiculously cheap immigrant labor).
Here’s hoping there is a developer out there with deep pockets and a creative will.
The Central Terminal at a glance:
- The Central Terminal opened four months before the Wall Street crash of 1929
- Designed to handle an anticipated Buffalo population of 1.5 million, it cost $14 million to build
- The 17-story office tower stands 271 feet high
- The station closed in October 1979 after years of dwindling rail passenger service
- A 1969 study estimated it would cost $54 million to restore it for office use, and $16.3 million to demolish it