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Ceremony Set for Cobblestone District

As most of you know by now, the Seneca Nation of Indians plans its groundbreaking ceremony for its proposed casino in the heart of Buffalo’s historic Cobblestone District on Thursday, December 8, at 10:30 a.m. According to the Buffalo News, the groundbreaking will take the form of a wrecking ball swung at the HO Oats grain elevator and mill at Marvin and Fulton Streets. The HO complex is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and as such its destruction would violate state and federal preservation laws.

Showing his usual disdain for the concerns and welfare of ordinary citizens, and for the laws he is sworn to uphold, the Governor is expected to participate in this ceremony. What can you expect from the leader of a government that recently announced its intent to use its eminent domain powers to evict homeowners and businesses from their Niagara Falls properties to make them available for expansion of the Seneca Niagara Casino complex?
Well, we plan to be on hand as well — 10:00 on Thursday at the corner of Marvin and Fulton Streets — to protest this symbolic act of demolition with an informational picket. Afterwards, we will hand out leaflets at downtown locations to be announced later. Please try to JOIN US if you possibly can.
Help by attending the protest on Thursday at 10 AM and/or calling our state legislators to regisiter your disapproval:
Brian Higgins, 716-852-3501
Louise Slaughter, 716-853-5813
Thomas Reynolds, 716-634-2324
Hillary Clinton, 716-854-9725
Charles Schumer, 716-846-4111
This is very important. The Cobblestone District can become a very vibrant and unique urban neighborhood like The Pearl in Portland or SoMa in SF. We don’t need an antiseptic suburban oasis downtown! And a casino is bad news for Buffalo – they should be in NF where they logically belong.

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  • And PLEASE call our state reps to register your dismay:
    Brian Higgins, 716-852-3501
    Louise Slaughter, 716-853-5813
    Thomas Reynolds, 716-634-2324
    Hillary Clinton, 716-854-9725
    Charles Schumer, 716-846-4111

  • hamp

    Great picture!
    And people think those grain elevators aren’t worth saving?

  • Wilkeson

    Don’t get me wrong, but does the Seneca Nation also maintain a National Register of Historic Places? That’s Seneca Nation land now thanks to our pathic excuses for elected representatives at every level of Government.

  • M Rodgers

    Larry, this land was purchased by the Senecas – not given to them – so, under law – they are held by the law of the land rather than behind the domain of the Senecas. The Senecas also demolished the Thomas Indian School on the Cattaraugus Reservation, but that was on their own land. Check with any judge to confirm this info – that’s the way to go.

  • Wilkeson

    M Rodgers, As of last weekend this became sovereign Seneca Nation land through an action (or actually inaction I think) by the Department of Interior. It is as much Seneca land as the Cattaraugus Reservation.

  • ScotchTape

    see ya tomorrow at 10 a.m. thanks for this info. I was down there earlier and the construction crews were already at work.

  • Maybe we need a peace pipe and a dialogue with the Senecas to convince them they’re doing the wrong thing – get them to do something with these buildings instead of tearing them down. Or covince them to sell to someone who will – money always talks. It might take time but I’m sure someone would eventually step up to the plate. Anyone know the street address of this property?

  • Mr.E.

    Absolutely pathetic and disheartening………We have fought this action from taking place in the cobblestone building district while we were still living in Seattle. The Indian Casino’s were, and still are, a ripe thorn in the side of businesses, and communities they were allowed to be constructed within. Many of the numerous Tribes have respected the sanctity of the communities, and built some wonderful sites, well away from them, these Casino’s are the
    busiest of them all. The really sad part of this whole story is the missed opportunities for valuable Buffalo history being retained, and not just thrown down for a cheap thrill and publicity stunt. People behave down there tommorrow, but let your voices be heard….

  • JJ

    Anytime somebody wants to give Buffalo a fresh start a bunch of idiots get together with there picket signs. You have got to be kidding me. Take a picture of the rotted out rat infested eye sore for your memories and move on. I wish I could be there for the ceremony I would pay big money to drive the crane and knock down this eyesore. I guess when Bass Pro starts work on the Aud you idiots will be down there to,with your lets keep the Aud mothballed picket signs!

  • TheNextMayor

    Is it true that technically the Indians need a demolition permit from the City? Gale Norton hasn’t officially given “reservation” status, so don’t our laws and regulations still apply?

  • artnice

    a casino next to general mills- how sexy!

  • Note to JJ: Every preservation success in Buffalo was once condemned as an “eyesore.” Central Terminal has probably shelters some rats. Once they’re protected and restored, everyone *loves* “eyesores.” They rent apartments in them, move offices into them, open restaurants in them, take pretty pictures of them. Too bad the Senecas don’t see how cool their casino would be with restored grain elevators.

  • Click here for video

  • What a beautiful fim…something that we can all watch when we’re starving for a look at abandoned grain mills–with the exception of General Mills, of course…I know, I know…’our history……etc…etc’…I believe there are more important landmarks to preserve…Central Terminal…The Richardson Complex…and the results of a recent poll aired on Ch. 2 DayBreak this morning shows that nearly 60% of those polled don’t have an issue with taking them down. I don’t buy the argument…they are rotting, dangerous, rat-infested structures that would cost a fortune to rehab…what’s the alternative?…I don’t see a line of investors–or preservationists for the matter–ponying up $$ to rehab them…

  • ‘film’ that is…

  • bflover

    Interestingly, I did not see HO Oats once in that video. I saw Cargill, ADM, General Mills… not HO.
    Too late for HO but not for the rest of the GEs. They are landmark eligible, but not landmarks… What’s the next step? Better take it before another historically indifferent developer brings loud talking money to the table with plans to knock down instead of rehab. Not everyone is passionate about Buffalo’s past. Time for those that are to get their act together and not let HO die in vain.

  • peter scott

    I guess HO Oats is the most visible to people on a daily basis…but I don’t see the potential there as much as the others. Granted, I don’t like that the Senecas are taking it down when there are countless parking lots in the area already.
    I’d love to see some entity step up and do something with the existing grain elevators on the river. Paint them crazy colors or something and light them up.
    I thought I read that they’re too expensive to take down….and I don’t see a lot of developers dying to get access to the Buffalo River…so why not make them a little more appealing to the crowd that wants them torn down?

  • westcoastperspective

    The real tragedy of the H-O coming down is this was one of the few elevator complexes with a significant warehouse attached to them. The brick portion of the property made for a prime conversion candidate, the silos would have been difficult to put new uses into. Matter of fact, Paladino had that in mind when he purchased the property- apartments in the warehouses and keeping the silos as-is for their character. I’m afraid it is going to be a struggle to find new uses for the riverside elevators.

  • Suitable for framing or birdcage-lining:
    H-O Oats photo gallery – 07 December 2005
    Not knowing if the wrecking ball would swing this morning I decided to take some photos of the H-O Oats grain elevator last night – plus I always wanted to see what she looked like in her evening wear.
    I spent about an hour or so making long-exposure photographs of the complex from various positions. During my stay I saw vehicles making slow passes by the elevator, I’m guessing to allow the passengers to take what they thought might have been their last look at the elevator.
    At one point I saw a tour group of about 6 people make their way from near Elk Terminal to the complex, spending about 15 minutes or so looking at the elevator before leaving. I was surprised they stayed that long, the temps were in the teens!
    I also heard jackhammers and other noises-of-destruction from the buildings adjacent to the elevator and could see workers on the roof using some kind of large torch, with the tell-tale odor of burning tar wafting towards the BMHA buildings. Every so often I could hear the cacophony of objects crashing from the upper floors to the lower.
    The clear night skies with a hazy crescent moon above me and industrial behemoths surrounding me made for a surreal evening in which time was easily lost.
    I plan on publishing more Buffalo at Night images in the near future.

  • momo

    Are you kidding? That video was depressing…looked like Beirut or Baghdad… PLEASE!!!

  • Hey Mike…Great photos…send them to the Senecas…perhaps they’ll find a way to incorporate them into the Casino complex…who knows? Maybe they’ll invest in their preservation…nothing ventured…nothing gained…won’t see the preservationists lining up to pay for the same…

  • peter scott

    wcp, I understand what you’re saying about the re-use possibilities of the H-O compared to the others, concerning the warehouse itself.
    But, I think a lot of people were up in arms about the silo itself…when it appears that the true “monuments” to that time and industry are on the river.
    I agree that reuse possibilities for those are small. Again, I think I remember reading that the demolition costs for the larger grain elevators are enormous. I was just suggesting using them more as public art. Light them up and paint them. No one’s knocking down the door trying to develop Buffalor River/Creek property.

  • bflover

    I like that paint/light option. If Cobblestone becomes a tourist destination with bars and restaurants and retail lining the neighborhhod and river, I think the painted/lit silos could be a cool backdrop to that.

  • I like that idea as well. What if a different artist was commissioned to create a unique design for each tube in the silo? Imagine what a statement that would make about Buffalo’s ongoing resiliency and creativity!

  • momo

    I think that may be the only solution other than tearing down some of the decrepit ones. SOme are just beyond repair

  • John Marko

    Wow! Thanks for the pics, Mike.
    Now I KNOW what a god awful BUTT UGLY pile of rotting rock that is.
    Save it?
    To say it looks like downtown Beirut or current bushco Baghdad is an understatement!
    Wow, what an “asset” that people will be comming from all over to see! Dream on.
    It’s and eyesore that the city should have forced the former owners who abandoned it to clean up LONG ago.
    I commend the Senecas for doing something that will finally BENEFIT Buffalo, if it is only to REMOVE that monstrosity.

  • John Marko

    Is there a way to go back and edit posts for spelling and other errors?
    Or will I just have to pre-write everything in Word and copy it?

  • bman

    Raze all but one or two of the GE’s, drag them into Lake Erie and make underwater reefs. Let the fish have the hulking structures for the next 100 years. Then re-do two good examples of GE’s for posterity and tourists. Then we can build the casino and roll the dice. Let’s get on with it.