Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) is recognizing outstanding individuals and projects furthering historic preservation efforts in the region. This year’s Preservation Awards Luncheon will be held Friday, May 31st, at the Kleinhans Music Hall. Buffalo has been publicizing individual winners over the past few weeks.
Larry Fuchs, Roger Korsh, Andy Adams, Henry Forman, and Robert Stetzko, five retired craftsmen from Buffalo Sheet Metal Workers Local 71, are being honored for their contribution to the on-going restoration of the Buffalo Central Terminal by the Central Terminal Corporation.
When asked by a committee member of Local 7 l, these volunteers signed on to recreate the Art Deco-style sconces that lined the concourses of the Terminal; but had since been removed. In fact, only recently was the CTRC in possession of an original sconce – and that was crowdsourced by the greater preservation community through Broadway Fillmore Alive’s Christopher Byrd, an East Side advocate. These skilled workers used drawings and photographs of the sconces that landed in 1920’s-themed diner in Hong Kong.
Together Fuchs, Korsh, Adams, Forman and Stetzko have been able to recreate six sconces, and are committed to perfecting their design and construction, before making an additional six pieces. Glazier apprentices from District Council #4 cut the glass for the sconces.
This may seem like a small project in the context of the larger effort to fully-restore the Terminal, but it represents an extremely large, diverse, and new partnership in preservation. The CTRC has a volunteer force like no other in Buffalo made up of East Side residents, blue-collar folks, and multi-generational families. Bringing the sheet metal workers info this mix is in some ways riot surprising because the Terminal is truly engaging everyone in the restoration of their iconic facility.
Bringing in new collaborators and new supporters will strengthen the preservation movement that is gaining momentum in the region. The deeper our bench the better we can compete against the still prevalent “demolition equals progress” and “any new building is good enough for us” mantras of our general population, some politicians, and many developers.
When the National Trust coined, Preservation = Jobs, they highlighted one of the greatest tools in a preservationist’s toolbox: facts about economics and employment. While these particular retired sheet metal workers did not ask or exchange money with the Central Terminal, they created yet another connection between the well-paid, skilled labor jobs of our manufacturing past, along with the MS required Architectural Historian/Preservation Specialist/Heritage Architecture jobs of today, to the preservation movement. Our toolbox is heavier, and their toolbox is still building Western New York.
Photos by Tom Campbell