Buffalo Central Terminal was heralded as one of the premier examples of railroad art deco architecture when it was built in 1929

Beautiful abandoned buildings may evoke nostalgic feelings, especially when they resemble the Buffalo Central Terminal, a work of art designed to manage over 200 trains and 10,000 people daily.

Buffalo Central was not your typical rail stop. It was more of a resort with boutiques, coffee shops, a Western Union telegraph office, a lobby, a waiting room, a soda fountain, a parking garage, and a variety of other amenities designed to meet the passengers’ daily requirements.

The landmark art-deco skyscraper, designed by Felheimer & Wagner, is located approximately 2.5 miles from Buffalo, New York. Unfortunately, the structure opened months before the United States was overtaken by the Great Depression. Although the train station performed successfully throughout the first two decades, particularly during World War II, it began to deteriorate after the war.

On October 28, 1979, the Lake Shore Limited was the last train to pass over the tracks.

Abandoned platforms in 1989 Photo Credit
One of four corner clocks’ on the office tower Photo Credit
A Penn Central locomotive at Buffalo Central Terminal on July 20th, 1969

The rail station was purchased for $75,000 by Anthony Fedele, a local contractor who planned to convert it into a 150-room hotel called Central Terminal Plaza. Anthony also planned to build his apartment on the second level of the skyscraper, but he couldn’t locate investors. He sold the building to Thomas Telesco, the only one ready to pay $100,000 for it.

Telesco’s plans were not to restore or rebuild the facility, but rather to resell the station’s architectural treasures and other valuable goods.

Despite the fact that the station saw the worst degradation under its new owner, the enormous expense of dismantling its major structures preserved the terminal from total destruction.

Buffalo Central Terminal, west side, viewed from the main approach up Paderewski Drive
Buffalo Central Terminal – the tower, viewed from the west

Following the many conservators’ objections, the new owners have offered to sell the building for $1 as a challenge to others to maintain the area better than they did.

Scott Field of the Preservation Coalition accepted the offer for $1 and around 70,000 in overdue taxes. The non-profit volunteer organization eventually purchased the whole terminal.

The Buffalo Central has made significant success in recent years, hosting around twenty major fundraising events each year. Some portions of the building have already been cleaned and made available to the public.

With over 100,000 visitors since 2003, the rail station has become a host to art displays, train shows, local political events, tourist tours, weddings, Oktoberfest, and a variety of other activities that have revitalized the area and given hope to its future rehabilitation.

Artists and Models fundraiser event in the main concourse, 2007  Photo Credit
The former head houses of Buffalo Central Terminal in July 2016 Photo Credit
Buffalo Central Terminal platforms in July 2016 Photo Credit
Buffalo Central Terminal, Interior – entrance to baggage check area, off of the main concourse
Buffalo Central Terminal, Interior – domed ceiling at one end of the main concourse

Because the location had been abandoned for many years, many ghost hunters felt that there was paranormal activity going on within. The crew from the Atlantic Paranormal Society visited the location in 2008 and broadcast their findings on Ghost Hunters.

Due to the high level of curiosity in the ‘ghostly rail station,’ the terminal was revisited a year later by the spin-off show Ghost Hunters Academy.

Many ideas are in the works to repair the terminal and restore its former glory. With a little aid from the public and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the lights and two of the original entryway canopies have been repaired.

The Buffalo statue Photo Credit
Buffalo Central Terminal Photo Credit

The roof above the passengers’ waiting area was also renovated, and the main entrance was repaired in time for the filming of Marshall in 2016. To promote the Buffalo Museum, a facsimile of the Buffalo statue is placed on the Main Concourse.

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