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Campaign for Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's Open-Air Autobus is on the road again after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. We are glad to be back and starting our LearnAboutBuffalo programming once again. To thank our members-in-good-standing for their steadfast support, we are offering them a free pair of seats for any Buffalo Whirlwind tour this summer! All others—what are you waiting for? Support preservation in Buffalo and get a 20% discount on all our tours and events! There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to travel around and about Buffalo with the experts of The Campaign for... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's Open-Air Autobus is on the road again after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. We are glad to be back and starting our LearnAboutBuffalo programming once again. To thank our members-in-good-standing for their steadfast support, we are offering them a free pair of seats for... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at LearnAboutBuffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture won a key decision by the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division for the Fourth Department today that reverses a lower court ruling that would have allowed the emergency demolition of the landmark Great Northern grain elevator. The appeals court agreed with the Campaign that the lower court the erred in refusing to permit The Campaign "to introduce certain proposed expert testimony and other evidence at the fact-finding hearing." Download Great Northern Decision New York State Supreme Court Justice Emilio Colaiacovo in January lifted a temporary restraining order and allowing demolition... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Great Northern has been embedded in the local landscape for 125 years. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is fighting to keep it standing for another 125. Nancy J. Parisi photo. By Paul McDonnell. Originally published in The Buffalo News April 5, 2022 The Great Northern grain elevator, the first and last of its kind, is still standing. It has just passed two significant anniversaries. February marked the 125th anniversary of the beginning of construction. More infamously, March 27 marked the 100th day since Buffalo’s Commissioner for Permits and Inspection Services issued an emergency demolition order to destroy the iconic... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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It has been a trying two years for everyone, so we are glad to be out and about this year. We expect to have our full schedule posted soon, but for the meantime, why not think about chartering a Buffalo experience? You'll get expert and opinionated commentary from noted Buffalo preservationists and historians Tim Tielman or Paul McDonnell (depending on availability). Travel anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want bwith a charter. There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done trips for students from grade-2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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Freedom of movement is an essential human requirement. Cities and towns that best accommodate this are places people want to live and enterprises can flourish. This matters not only in summer, when most of us visit and take our pictures of bustling streets and squares. "Bustling streets and squares" in North America are invariably in neighborhoods established before 1940, when buildings and circulation were oriented to pedestrians. When we don't clear snow from sidewalks, we force those worried about slipping and falling cooped up inside. We also keep disabled people inside. To the degree that it is hard and unpleasant... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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Just prior to the December 11 windstorm during which a chunk of the Great Northern grain elevator's brick cladding tumbled to the ground, setting off an epic preservation battle that continues in the courts, The Campaign for Greater Buffalo completed renderings of a new type of pedestrian bridge to solve another waterfront problem, one of access and equity hiding in plain site: The Buffalo Outer Harbor is practicably inaccessible to people using public transit or simply walking or riding their bikes. As the crow flies (or cars speed across the Skyway), only 800 feet separate Central Wharf and downtown Buffalo... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture has been granted a preliminary injunction to preserve the Great Northern grain elevator pending a decision by the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division for the Fourth Department on the issues raised by the Campaign regarding an emergency demolition order issued by the City of Buffalo and a lower court ruling favoring the City early last month. “We are glad that the court agreed with the need for an injunction to prevent any action to demolish the Great Northern,” said Campaign attorney Richard Berger. Campaign lead attorney Richard Lippes said “We... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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ADM flour mill was built adjacent to the Great Northern grain elevator (top) in 1928. The Great Northern, Washburn-Crosby, and Wheeler (remnants below)elevators of Kelly Island form the most architecturally significant collection of grain elevators in the world. The Great Northern is threatened with an emergency demolition order currently being fought in court by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo. Photo (detail): Carol Highsmith 2018. By Michael Pesarchick Despite its massive size and iconic presence on the Buffalo waterfront, the Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) plant on Ganson Street – home of the endangered Great Northern Elevator – employs relatively few people. According to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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Unless an appeals court intervenes, Buffalo is heading headlong into the avoidable destruction of one of its most significant buildings. It is doing it because of a rushed error in judgement by the person in charge of code enforcement who did not seek or gather advice from anyone except his staff and the intransigently negligent building owner. He came to the conclusion that one of the most stoutly constructed buildings in the city was in imminent danger of collapse, if its 60-foot high, 40-foot wide, 400-foot long top didn’t blow off first. He saw it as an emergency requiring the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo, currently engaged in a battle to overturn or have revoked an emergency demolition order on the historic Great Northern grain elevator, has contended from the start that owner ADM's submittals in support of demolition were far from ironclad. Buffalo Commissioner of Permits & Inspections Jim Comerford testified in court that he relied, in part, on the "engineering reports" provided by ADM in making his decision to require the emergency demolition of the giant waterfront landmark—the world's oldest electrically powered grain elevator, and the very last of its kind (a brick-clad working-house elevator, which gives it... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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You can bet every bad-actor commercial property owner in Buffalo is closely following Archer Daniels Midland's (ADM) attempt to use the emergency demolition powers of the Commissioner of Permits and Inspections to ram through, under the cloak of public safety, demolition of the landmark Great Northern elevator. If the ADM action succeeds, it will be a blueprint for every other bad actor in town. Campaigns for emergency demolition— orders which should either not be considered at all (in place of ordering repairs) or should go through the normal Preservation Board review of public hearings, document preparation according to city standards,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Great Northern grain elevator, despite the tear in its brick wrapper, is in no more danger of collapsing than a six pack of Genny cans left out on your deck in the rain. That's because not only is the 30-pack of steel cylinders strong on its own (each can withstand internal pressures of 17,000 lbs. per square inch), each is bolted to eight massive steel columns, which are then bolted to every adjacent cylindrical bin. On top of everything, the roof and cupola (themselves composed of girders up to 60 inches deep) are supported by a series of these... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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No, the Great Northern is not going to burn, and there is nothing inside it that will burn either. The Brown Administration, apparently seeking to bolster its emergency demolition order on the Great Northern grain elevator, obtained a letter from the fire commissioner advocating for the demolition. The letter was and included in court documents filed and referenced during testimony of Permits & Inspections Commissioner James Comerford in an evidentiary hearing on Monday January 3 in the Campaign for Greater Buffalo's lawsuit against the City of Buffalo and owner ADM. Attorneys for ADM stoked the flames during Comerford's testimony and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Brown Administration seeks to reward the 29-year maintenance negligence of the landmark Great Northern grain elevator by Archer Daniels Midland Milling (ADM) by rushing to issue an emergency demolition order after a partial collapse of a non-bearing brick cladding during a Dec. 11 windstorm. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo went to court to block the demo. The case is being heard in State Supreme Court before Justice Emilio Colaiacovo. In court documents and testimony, Permits & Inspections Commissioner James Comerford admitted that he and no one on his staff is a licensed engineer, and that he relied on reports... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2022 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo released concepts of what the landmark Great Northern elevator could look like restored. In this late-day perspective, the elevator serves as a beacon on the City Ship Canal, with the city name proclaimed in three-story high letters visible from miles overland and on Lake Erie. It also proposes to restored the filled-in canal boat slip on the north side of the elevator, which recently suffered damage during a prolonged windstorm. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture, the City of Buffalo, and Archer Daniels Midland Milling (ADM) are heading back to court after... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Great Northern grain elevator is just one of the many important efforts The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is working on right now. A letter from Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman: Dear Friend in Preservation and Friend of Buffalo, We are engaged in an epic battle to save the Great Northern grain elevator, a Buffalo icon which many of us worked to preserve and landmark over 30 years ago. Buffalo mayor Byron Brown made a classic Friday-afternoon-holiday-season emergency demolition declaration. We worked mightly from that moment to now, as I write these words, to block the demolition, get... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Great Northern elevator suffered damage to its north wall on Dec. 11, prompting the Brown Administration to issue an emergency demolition order. Similar damage to its south wall in 1907, which was repaired State Supreme Court Judge Dennis Ward this afternoon signed a temporary restraining order preventing the emergency demolition of the 1897 elevator. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo had filed suit against the City of Buffalo and the Archer Daniels Midland Milling (ADM) to block demolition of the landmark Great Northern grain elevator. The city announced its demo order on late Friday afternoon. The judge’s prohibition of demolition... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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ADM must be pretty certain it will get it 30-year record of malignant neglect at the landmark Great Northern grain elevator rewarded with an emergency demolition order from the Brown Administration: It didn't even bother filling out the standard application to request demolition, but submitted a custom request for an emergency demolition to Commissioner of Permits and Inspection Services James Comerford. This is, of course, to evade public review, rodent baiting, asbestos removal and a Preservation Board hearing and review by independent experts. And who wouldn't want to avoid public review of the slipshod logic and demonstrably untrue assertions that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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Part of the north wall of the Great Northern grain elevator was lost Saturday in a gale, 114 years after another storm caused nearly a mirror image of damage to the south wall. Will Mayor Brown follow up on his pledge "not to allow problem properties to exist" or will powerful agri-giant ADM be granted its wish to demolish a property it has wanted to demolish for decades? The Great Northern grain elevator, a City of Buffalo landmark since 1990, for the second time in its history suffered extensive damage to its north brick curtain wall in a windstorm late... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is proposing that a new type of pedestrian bridge is the solution to a problem hiding in plain site: The Buffalo Outer Harbor is practicably inaccessible to people using public transit or simply walking or riding their bikes. As the crow flies (or cars speed across the Skyway), only 1000 feet separate Central Wharf and downtown Buffalo from the opposite shore of the Buffalo River, yet this becomes 3.8 miles on the ground for walkers, bikers and transit users, who must, if they can, make due with existing roadways. The problem will only become more... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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As a 17-year-old, I went to look at the model of the brutalist Buffalo Convention Center on display in the lobby of the Bank of Buffalo at Pearl and Court Street in 1976. I worked next door at the Otto Ulbrich Company as a helper in the shipping department and was very familiar with the neighborhood and its daily routines. I was a tiny actor in its urban ecosystem. The Convention Center would destroy all of that. That was easy enough for a 17-year-old with a GED to see. First, it would cause the demolition of the Andrews and Tucker... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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Campaign for Greater Buffalo flyer urging public to attend public hearing on fate of Voelker's Lanes. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo urges preservation-minded citizens to attend a public hearing and speak in favor of saving the historic Voelker's Lanes-Hotel Elmwood building at the corner of Elmwood and Amherst Streets. The Buffalo Common Council's Legislative Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday September 14 in Council chambers on the landmark application The Campaign prepared at the request of the Preservation Board. The Preservation Board voted unanimously in June to designate the building as a City of Buffalo landmark. Previous articles... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture scored a victory for the preservation of a pop culture landmark on July 8 when the Buffalo Preservation Board unanimously approved an application it had prepared to designate the Hotel Elmwood/Voelker’s Lanes complex an official Buffalo landmark. For Campaign members and supporters it was a satisfying first step in process to save the endangered building. Download Hotel Elmwood-Voelker application med-res1 The fourth-generation owner of Voelker’s, who also owns Kenmore Lanes, filed for a demolition permit in April. That initiated the process by which the Preservation Board reviews all demolition applications. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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Voelker's Lanes—the former Hotel Elmwood of the Pan-Am expo, is seen here shortly after a 10-lane bowling alley was added in 1941 (far left, brick). The bar was leased to another operator at the time. The fourth-generation owners of Voelker’s Lanes, the neon- and krypton bedecked landmark at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street, are seeking to demolish it, along with several other buildings in what could be called Voelkerville. It is a two-block section on the west side of Elmwood Avenue, from Woodette Place to Marion Street. It is where working class Black Rock, the industrial Belt... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2021 at Greater Buffalo