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GRS Buffalo Central Terminal  - Page 2

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Buffalo, NY

photos by the author

The Station Too Late, Too Far

Page 2

 

The Buffalo in a 1979 view.  The main lobby is 66 ft wide by 225 ft long with domed ceilings 59 ft high at each end. The Buffalo, which was located at the intersection of the main lobby and concourse, was perhaps as well known a meeting landmark in the city as is the Golden Clock of Grand Central in New York City.

Garnet Cousins in a history written for Trains magazine several years ago, described the Art Deco details in the interior as "fleur-de-lis patterns; carved marble finials reminiscent of papyrus leaves; lights faceted like crystals, as concerned with geometry as illumination; and terrazzo floor designs in four shades of marble. Yet it all seemed out of place, swallowed up in the overwhelming, monastic, tan-colored volume of the whole." The main lobby and concourse were one of the greatest public spaces ever created in Buffalo. The huge arched windows flooded this great cathedral with soft light. The ceilings and walls were made of Guastavino tile. Finishing of the tile was the single most time consuming feature of the interior construction, requiring some eight months to complete due to its complexity.

 

1979 view of the main lobby.  Today this area is in shambles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first visit to Central Terminal was in March of 1977 when the Buffalo Chapter NRHS ran an excursion to Utica on the then new Amtrak Turbo trains. The early morning departure was greeted with a spectacular sunrise that silhouetted the tower as we approached up Paderewski Drive. Entering the vast arched space, I could not help but be awed. Even in its late twilight, Central Terminal was magnificent! I entered that station as a novice railfan, with a slight interest in stations. I left that day as one of the faithful.

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This page was last updated Monday, January 31, 2000

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