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Categories & Keywords

Category:Architecture and Structures
Subcategory:Places of Interest
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:buffalo, central, central terminal, history, railroad, terminal, train
Central Terminal

Central Terminal

Print Title: Central Terminal

This original photograph features inside The Buffalo Central Terminal.

The Buffalo Central Terminal was to be located at the intersection of Lindbergh (Memorial Drive) and Lovejoy (Paderewski Drive), adjacent to the Railway Express Agency building which was constructed in 1917. In order to facilitate construction, over 100 homes were cleared at the site located within the city’s Polonia neighborhood.

The New York Central Railroad selected the New York City architectural firm of Fellheimer and Wagner to design the new terminal. The firm, recognized for its successful railroad station designs, designed numerous iterations including: Winston-Salem Union Station (1925), Boston North Station (1926), Cincinnati Union Station (1929), South Bend Union Station (1929), and Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Station (1933).

Construction of Buffalo Central Terminal commenced on March 29, 1926, and included significant site work and realignment of the adjacent track work, along with construction of the terminal building and 15-story tower, passenger concourse and platforms, baggage and mail building, power plant, two signal towers and two utility buildings. The Buffalo Central Terminal was dedicated and a grand opening gala was held on June 22, 1929, following completion of the $15 million structure.

The Art Deco masterpiece was built to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily, as well as 1,500 New York Central employees. It included shops, a restaurant, soda fountain, parking garage and all other services required for daily passenger operations. Although the Central Terminal had the misfortune to open mere months before the onset of the Great Depression, the building was extremely busy during its first two decades of operation, with no period busier than during World War II. Following the War, passenger rail travel fell precipitously as automobiles and air travel began to dominate. In 1955, the New York Central Railroad put the Buffalo Central Terminal on the market, though there was little demand to purchase such a large building. With the decline of passenger rail service, the New York Central mothballed much of the sprawling Buffalo Central Terminal and created a small station within a station to service the remaining passengers.

In 1968, the Terminal complex was absorbed into the Penn Central Railroad following the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads. Penn Central continued to operate passenger trains from Buffalo Central Terminal until 1971, when Amtrak took over operations of the majority of intercity passenger rail service in the country. The final passenger train departed the Buffalo Central Terminal in October 1979.

All prints are produced using use a traditional photographic process. Printing is on real photographic paper which is exposed with light and then run through a chemical process, on Kodak Endura Professional Paper. (Read description on other items)

Item #: 31965