Saturday, March 9, 2013

Remembering Buffalo's Central Terminal

Posted by Deirdre Oakley, BUFFALO, NY -- Now abandoned and in disrepair, Buffalo's Central Terminal was once a national transportation hub with all the elegance of Grand Central Station -- including a 17-story Art Deco-style office building. And yet, it was almost always too large. Opened in 1929, not long before the infamous stock market crash, it was built to accommodate 3200 passengers an hour. But the combination of the Great Depression, the rise of the automobile, and subsequent deindustrialization meant that the station operated well under capacity for its first decade and for its last three decades. During World War Two the station experienced a significant increase in train traffic but this waned after the war ended and the station was finally closed in 1979. Although a preservation group now owns the station, its presence remains a symbol of abandoned urban core investment that stretches for several miles with row after row of empty and rotting storage facilities. But what once was must have been magnificent. 

Deirdre Oakley is the Editor of Social Shutter and an Associate Professor in Sociology at Georgia State University. She can be contacted at

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