When I first arrived in Buffalo in April 2013, one of the first landmarks that I came across was that tall, almost brutalist, empty hospital tower on the western periphery of Gates Circle. It’s vacuous presence has towered over the surrounding mansions of Delaware Ave & Chapin Parkway since it was abandoned in March 2012 to make way for TM Montante’s redevelopment of the site. A monument to another era in Buffalo’s history, it has stood there over Gates Circle with a foreboding institutional greyness – empty, dark, and haunting. A timeless piece of the Chapin landscape, it had become a familiar milepost on my Delaware Ave runs.
Following are three videos of the implosion- normal speed, slow motion, and drone capture…
Millard-Fillmore Implosion (normal speed) – Bruce Haydon
Millard-Fillmore Implosion (slow-motion) – Bruce Haydon
Millard-Fillmore Implosion (Drone footage) – Sonny Drono
Millard-Fillmore Implosion (Drone footage) – Tim Teach Buffalo Skycam
Despite repeated assertions that the best way to experience the implosion was to watch it on video due to the dust, traffic, ungodly hour, etc., witnessing this in person represented one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience what is in truth a pretty rare event. While the Millard-Filmore implosion wouldn’t quite rank up there with the likes of the celebrated building implosions of old Las Vegas casinos (complete with fireworks), it was still pretty big news.
So it was with a few mild pangs of nostalgia that I observed the building’s countdown to its final moments, huddled with other photographers on the site’s parking garage vantage point. With a series of booming flashes that literally shook the ground, the landmark buckled and slowly collapsed to earth, its top floors crumbling into Buffalo’s history books and roiling columns of dust.
Rest In Peace, old girl.