Elijah is an Amazon best-selling author, blogger, previous columnist for an award-winning blog, past creative editor, socialite & traveler.
History of Train Travel and Glamor in the 21st Century
At the beginning of the 20th century train travel had become all the rage and by the time the 20's arrived it became synonymous with glamor and luxury. Train travel from then until the 60's was no plain-Jane ordeal like it is now (with basic Amtrak trains); it was a fancy way to travel. There were dining cars that weren't comprised of bags of Smartfood popcorn, or hamburgers that were microwaved before your very eyes by workers in uniform like they are now. Instead, dining cars worked as a restaurant: there was a host, tables with tablecloths and chairs, waiters/waitresses and gourmet food and alcohol. Passengers ate off fine china and crystal glasses, in the cabins, which were small rooms, they'd play cards and listen to their own radio on lavish furniture. First class had drapes, art on the walls, carpets, and leather armchairs. However, during the emergence of traveling by flight, train travel became second rate and the luxurious amenities that once were quickly faded into obscurity until it was no longer existent. During the time of lavish train travel many equally beautiful stations were created, including the Buffalo Central Terminal in Buffalo, New York.
Buffalo Central Terminal was designed and constructed by architect Fellheimer & Wagoner, a firm that was responsible for building Cincinnati Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio. Alfred T. Fellheimer (1875-1959) started his career with Reed & Stem and helped construct Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Buffalo Central Terminal was designed in the style of Art Deco and was opened in May 22nd, 1929 and had 28 island platforms as well as a main building of 17 stories which still stands today.
Decline and Closure
Buffalo Central Terminal seemed to have gone through some of the most difficult financial times in American History: the Great Crash of the stock market later that same year of the terminal's creation, the Great Depression, and then World War II. It is no surprise that these events contributed to economic crises that also affected the transportation industry. Buffalo Central Terminal was also very expensive to upkeep. The heating bill alone cost $150,000 annually. Amtrak built the Depew Station which was much, much smaller and manageable in 1979, and that same year they closed the Buffalo Central Terminal for good. Its last train departed for Chicago at 4:10 am on October 28th, 1979.
Buffalo Central Terminal Today
Buffalo Central Terminal has been abandoned since 1979 and since then there are no clear plans on bringing it back to life. 5 million dollars was set aside from New York State to restore it for further usage (although unknown as of now, 2022) but there have been tours offered and repairs have been made. Buffalo Central Terminal is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been since August 3rd, 1984.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Elijah DeVivo