From its office floors high above the Historic Polonia District, Buffalo Central Terminal’s icon tower provides an unparalleled view of the skyline of downtown Buffalo. Beginning at Noon and continuing until 4pm on Saturday, October 22, 2011, the general public will have their first opportunity to experience this unique perspective “above” the city’s architecture. Central Terminal is located at 495 Paderewski Drive @ Memorial Drive.
Volunteers of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation will be leading tours of the Terminal’s tower that will include viewing opportunities on the building’s 13th floor. For a $20 donation, trained docents will take groups of fifteen up the tower every 15 minutes beginning at Noon for this unprecedented photo opportunity. The last tour will leave at 3:45pm. Proper footwear and the ability to climb fifteen flights of stairs required (The Tower Tour is limited to ages 16 and over).
The extra “tower tours” are part of Saturday’s free open house at the landmark art-deco building.
The free open house will feature self-guided tours, meet and greet with executive leaders of the CTRC about the Terminal’s master plan and information about volunteer opportunities. The Terminal Store will be open for shopping and a selection of Buffalo’s gourmet food trucks will be on site offering unique delicacies.
Buffalo Returns to Terminal
For decades, a statue of a powerful American Bison welcomed millions travelers as they arrive by train. First a mounted animal and later a plaster mock up painted bronze, the Terminal buffalo was destroyed by vandals in the early 1990s. But thanks to a donation by Mollenberg-Betz Inc, a new buffalo statue will be returned to the building’s passenger concourse to recreate a lost piece of Buffalo popular culture.
On Thursday, representatives from the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation and Mollenberg-Betz Inc. unveiled a new fiberglass Buffalo. Although not an exact replica of the original, the donated statue will fill a great void at the Terminal until funds are available to commission an authentic reproduction based on the original artist’s mold.
The original buffalo, used as a promotional tool by the Buffalo Museum of Science, was a mounted animal that became a favorite of departing WWII solders. GIs would take tufts of hair as good luck charms. During the war, plans were made to replace the buffalo with a bronze statue. Due to wartime material restrictions, plaster was used instead of metal and painted gold. For more than 40 years, the buffalo stood guard over the concourse. During the period of vandalism, the statue was smashed. In the early 90s, the University of Buffalo located the original artist’s mold, and commissioned a bronze version for the campus. The statue currently stands in front of UB’s Alumni Arena with a plaque explaining its significance to Western New York.
Interior Photo by Joe Cascio