Buffalo Residents Team Up to Buy Old Train Station a $3,000 Gift
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, one historic building might be getting a piece of its old self back as a gift from locals.
After spotting a $9,000 light fixture that once belonged to the Buffalo Central Terminal, neighborhood booster Christopher Byrd helped organize an online fundraiser to bring it back to its original home. This weekend, the effort reached its goal. "After I posted a link to it on Facebook, a lot of readers said they’d chip in $100 or $10 so I emailed them and said ‘let’s try to do this then,'" Byrd says.
Byrd heads Broadway-Fillmore Alive, an organization that promotes Central Terminal’s surrounding neighborhood. The current owner of the light fixture, Robert Navarro of Toronto’s Navarro Gallery put the item on hold until December 24, willing to part with it for $3,000 under the condition that it’s reinstalled inside the Terminal. "I was reached by multiple volunteers and interested parties from the Buffalo area by email. They arrived all at once," says Navarro, adding, "I always admired Buffalo for its architecture."
Image courtesy Navarro Gallery
The train station served its last passengers in 1979 and experienced a rapid decline under multiple owners until the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation took control in 1997. Much of its interior was either sold off or stripped away in the 1980s with baggage carts, clocks, signage, railings and lighting fixtures finding new homes around the world. Fans of the Terminal continue to find the station’s decorations elsewhere, from eBay listings to antique stores, art museums or even Hong Kong restaurants.
The CTRC, while known for its efforts to restore the building, have never had much money to work with, depending mostly on preservation grants and memberships. "This effort from BFA allows us to concentrate on funds for stability and remediation," says Marilyn Rodgers, executive director of the CTRC. Rodgers and the rest of the CTRC board is currently focused on repairing the building’s roof and the 15-story tower that makes it one of the city’s most identifiable symbols.
Bigger fundraising efforts have taken place for former pieces of the building before, most notably the $25,000 purchase of the original clock that now stands in the terminal’s main hall again after it was spotted on eBay in 2004.
While Central Terminal has retained some of its original decorations since its new ownership, you’ll still find its parts scattered through unexpected places. According to the CTRC’s website:
The clock was found for sale in Chicago. Mailboxes from inside the building are currently in the The Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum in Miami, Florida. A number of light fixtures are now in the Cafe Deco restaurant chain in Hong Kong. Our lights have also appeared in the movies The Hardway, For Love or Money, and Bullets Over Broadway.
H/T Buffalo Rising