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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture is calling on the NY State Department of Transportation, with other state agencies, to restore reclaimed land from Skyway removal to conditions established by founder Joseph Ellicott in 1800 and Erie Canal builder DeWitt Clinton in 1825. The aim is to reclaim Buffalo's heritage, economic advancement, and a measure of social equity. That includes restoration of Buffalo's first public park—The Terrace— as well as the run of the original Erie Canal between Pearl Street and Erie Street and the parallel famed Canal Street, and the Prime Slip, another historic canal which... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is proposing that The Terrace, a blocks-long public park and promenade linking several squares, be reconstructed as part of the state and federal project to remove all or parts of the Skyway. The Campaign released proposals for the DL&W train shed and the Cloudwalk in January (see Cloudwalk: Skyway recycled), as part of the overall process to reinvigorate historic sites and re-establish the historic street patterns of Joseph Ellicott’s New Amsterdam plan, and the neighborhoods destroyed by highway construction and Urban Renewal. The Canal District streets and Central Wharf were the first fruits of that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Cloudwalk would transform the lives of bike riders and walkers. For bike riders, getting to the Outer Harbor becomes a scenic one-minute ride across the Buffalo River and City Ship Canal. A walker could traverse the distance in five minutes. What happens when you deliver such a radical improvement to a transportation mode? You induce traffic. In this case, the virtuous kind, for urban vitality as well as personal vitality. The New York State Department of Transportation’s Skyway environmental review process is being steered to a pre-determined outcome featuring a new inland limited-access highway with three interchanges, a de... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2021 at Greater Buffalo
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The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, working with a $5,000,000 state grant and a report by the Urban Land Institute, has been working on urgent building-envelope and utility needs, as well as developing long- and short-term strategies for its property, which includes the iconic office tower, concourse, and a five-story baggage wing, in addition to the elevated plaza that forms the terminus of Paderewski Street and open land between Memorial Drive and Curtiss Street. It has spent much of the year on public outreach and discussion of community priorities. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has long felt that the entire historic... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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Quick, decisive action by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo stopped the destruction of St. John's iconic tower. The church, opened in 1927, is a masterpiece by architects Oakley & Schallmo. Out-of-the-way but not out of mind, the greatest piece of architecture in Black Rock was being taken apart. But fate was about to intervene. Shortly after 7:00pm on Tuesday October 6, Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman was driving by the former St. John the Baptist R.C. Church on Hertel Avenue and East Street in Black Rock, and noticed a rental lift on the lawn next to the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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Drawing by Lawrence McIntyre from the book "Designated Landmarks of the Niagara Frontier," shows significance of recently destroyed tower of St. John the Baptist Church to overall composition of building Condition of tower, with temporary shoring, after an illegal attempt by owner to remove it was stopped by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo. Owner intent was to leave only bottom tier of tower. 2007 photo shows glazed terra cotta ornament on stone or cast stone plinths on either side of entrance have been removed, and the plinths capped with copper. It remains unclear who funded or directed the illegal destruction... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The tower of the former St. John the Baptist on the morning of Oct. 7, after demolition work had been stopped. Emergency water-shedding measures have been approved by the City. The ornamental ventilator of the historic school is visible through the tower's arch. The demolition work at the former St. John the Baptist Church in Black Rock has been halted, thanks to the timely intervention of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo. Buffalo Commissioner of Permits and Inspection Services James Comerford dispatched inspector Tracy Krug to the site at 62 Hertel Avenue shortly after 7:00 AM upon receiving a call from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The East Street elevation of St. John the Baptist shows the tower as it existed last month An illegal demolition at the former St. John the Baptist church at 60 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood has been uncovered. The church is one of four masterpieces designed by the firm of Oakley and Schallmo in the 1920's. St. John, in a group with Blessed Trinity, St. Luke, and St. Casimir, displays the highest level of craftsmanship in brick architecture in the city. Shortly after 7:00pm on Tuesday October 6, Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman was driving... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture is sponsoring a series of design studios this fall and next spring with Cornell University and the University of Buffalo. Two studios, one at Cornell and one at UB, are researching a concept of The Campaign for an intercity public transit system utilizing high-speed articulated vehicles in the median of the Thruway at average speeds above 100mph. The UB studio, led by professor Jeffrey Rehler and consisting of Environmental Design and Architecture students, will evaluate mobility systems and explore the design of the new road bed, stations, and the station areas.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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Download Greater Buffalo Skyway fact sheet 11x17 The New York State Department of Transportation has released a preliminary scoping document that rejects the first-, second-, and third-place prizewinners in Governor Cuomo's "Aim for the Sky" competition to develop new plans for the Skyway corridor. In fact, DOT rejected all 16 of the contest's finalists, and every single concept in its public comment phase that called for retaining any part of the Skyway between Tifft Street, south of the Buffalo River, and Church Street in downtown Buffalo. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo had submitted comments in favor of its "Skywalk" proposal.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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On hot holidays, like July 3, 2020, locals head to The Log Cabin and the Falls. You either spectate from a perch on the porch, patio, or the rocky bed of Tonawanda Creek, or you jump right in. This ritualistic frivolity occasionally raises concerns or hackles, and the authorities are called. Like every week. The sheriff’s department, so we are informed by the indefatigable staff of The Batavian, has a special rig and rope team at the ready (for dispatches like this: “Man down in Indian Falls, bleeding from the head, water rescuers called.”). On July 3, before your correspondent... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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This is another in our occasional series of decoding Buffalo postcards. Today, in honor of the Independence Day holiday, a detail of a colorized postcard c. 1906 showing Buffalo on the eve of, likely, July 4th, and at its peak in the hierarchy of American cities. It is one of our favorite views of the city. The artist Childe Hassam made his living painting similar scenes of New York City 10 years later. Based on a photograph, the image is unusual for its elevated perspective in the middle of a busy street, and rich in information. To wit: Ellicott Square,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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"Seven Reasons," (c.1959) a slide image taken by an employee of the Buffalo Department of Planning documenting pre-Urban Renewal conditions. The photograph in all probability is on the Lower East Side. The pencilled title, on the slide's paper frame, is indicative of the notion, at least among some bureaucrats, that, in order to give these children a better life, their homes and neighborhood had to be destroyed. Besides the enormous social toll, that cost Buffalo thousands of historic structures and businesses, including those listed in various editions of the Green Book, which The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is documenting. The... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
Buffalo, like so many American cities, still has wounds and physical defects dating from the Urban Renewal era. Massive demolition programs claimed thousands of irreplaceable buildings. Many sites are vacant to this day (camouflaged, if you will, by parking lots). When new structures were built, they were often built with ignorance and disregard for how humans behaved and cities succeed. Thus, in Buffalo, we erected buildings with long stretches of blank walls, which suppressed sidewalk activity and destroyed the contiguity which made walking useful and pleasant. Jane Jacobs, in Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) pointed this out.... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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First page of architect-author-illustrator Yen Liang's 1958 book The Skyscraper. Jane Jacobs saw this as the very picture of urban health, equity, and functionality. Author Yen Liang saw it as a menace to health and property values that had to be destroyed in order to build a new, clean, and ordered city Trigger warning: this article contains soul-crushing depictions of the American City. Look at images of street scenes any American City around 1900. Look at that city today, and you are likely to see a selection of glorious masonry architecture intermixed with glammy office buildings (in larger cities) and... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Heath House, viewed from Soldiers' Circle. The Buffalo Common Council withstood many attempts to landmark Frank Lloyd Wright's Heath House and Davidson House over the last 20 years, but on March 17, 2020, faced with a court order won by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture, it quietly approved designating both prairie-style houses as City of Buffalo landmarks. They had long been on the National Register of Historic Places—as long as their lack of local recognition was a civic embarrassment. The Campaign mounted several attempts to get them landmarked, but each was thwarted by... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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On a bitterly cold day, the Ernest Franks House at 184 West Utica Street was demolished at the behest of developers Nick Sinatra and partner William Paladino. Despite being approved by Preservation Board for landmarking, Buffalo Mayor Brown approved the demolition The Ernest Franks House, a piece of Buffalo's cultural patrimony, was willfully destroyed on Thursday, February 27, 2020, less than 36 hours after the Buffalo Preservation Board voted unanimously to designate it as a local landmark—which would have made demolition much more difficult—and send it to the Buffalo Common Council for final approval. A full description of the house... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is holding a rally to save the threatened Ernest Franks House at 284 West Utica St., Buffalo on Saturday, February 22 at 9:00am. We'll have information on the house, explain the demolition request for a too-big Sinatra-Paladino townhouse development, and what citizens can do. You can download the flyer and our newsletter on the Franks House: Download Save Franks House Download Greater Buffalo #28.1.02131515 Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The Ernest Franks House at 184 West Utica Street is a rare Flemish Revival style house, and perhaps the first house designed by noted architect Albert Schallmo The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has filed a City of Buffalo landmark application to protect a rare Flemish Revival style house at 184 West Utica Street in the Elmwood West National Historic District. Sinatra Development, which owns the house and an adjoining parking lot, has applied for a demolition permit for an 18-unit townhouse development that it is partnering on with Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development. Neighbors and concerned citizens opposed to the demolition... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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The Squier Mansion, 2003, during restoration. A lot of things and people go into a successful campaign to save a building. This is Tim Tielman's eyewitness account, based on notes, legal documents, and media stories, of the saving of one landmark, Buffalo's Squier Mansion. It had been a concern of preservationists for over a decade, and came to a head in one day, December 21, 2001. Between 10:00am and 4:50 pm, building on the work and hard-earned reputation of an organization of dedicated citizens with many other victories to its credit, and with the unhesitating aid of others, an attempt... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2020 at Greater Buffalo
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Beth Kauffman, center left, and Meg Robinson-Albers received the inaugural President's Award for service to Buffalo preservation from Campaign for Greater Buffalo President Paul McDonnell, right. Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman, left, joined them on the staircase of the Herbert Hewitt House at The Campaign's 2019 Solstice Party The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture recognized three board members for their long-time service to preservation and the City of Buffalo at its 2019 Solstice Party, held at the Herbert Hewitt house on Lafayette Avenue. The inaugural President's Award, was presented by Campaign President Paul McDonnell to Campaign board... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2019 at Greater Buffalo
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Buffalo Common Council refused three times to act on landmark designation of Frank Lloyd Wright's William Heath House on Soldiers Circle. A judge has ordered it to act in accordance with the city's Preservation Ordinance, a victory for The Campaign for Greater Buffalo The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture has won a significant court decision to protect two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The William Heath House, on Soldiers' Circle, and the Walter Davidson House, on Tillinghast Place, must be voted on for local landmark designation by the Buffalo Common Council, rather than thrown in a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2019 at Greater Buffalo
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Buffalo architectural masters Williams Lansing and Max Beierl designed 619 Lafayette Avenue for rubber and brass baron Herbert Hewitt, who moved in in 1898. It will host the 2019 Solstice Party of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo on December 21. The Campaign is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launching of the legal battle to save the Canal District and its 2019 campaigns and victories. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and Executive Director Tim Tielman are hosting their annual holiday party for preservationists and friends on Saturday, December 21, 2019 from 4:44pm—sundown on the shortest day of the year—to 7:44pm... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2019 at Greater Buffalo
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One of Black Rock's landmark buildings, 399 Amherst Street, is endangered. Quick action by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has averted demolition, at least for now, of a distinctive, center-towered commercial and residential building designed and built by Wladislaw Zawadzki, perhaps Buffalo Polonia's most notable designer of the early 20th century. The building was to be the subject of a demolition application review at the city Preservation Board on Thursday, November 21. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo learned of the endangerment when the application was posted on the city's website on Friday, November 15, and posted a notice on its... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2019 at Greater Buffalo
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Young Pioneer: Ev Janish poses in of 265 Yorkshire in the summer of 1954. Her parents bought a new ranch house in the mammoth Pearce & Pearce development of Green Acres in the Town of Tonawanda The staggering archives of house builders Pearce & Pearce—including over 4,000 file folders stuffed architectural renderings, paint specifications, finishing options, costs, sale prices, and more, plus hundreds of blueprints–saved through the efforts of Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman in 2017, have now been digitally indexed by The Buffalo History Museum, where the invaluable collection resides. Tielman first laid eyes on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at Greater Buffalo