Buffalo Central Terminal: An iconic railroad station abandoned since 1979

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Seeing beautiful abandoned buildings can cause nostalgic sentiments, especially when they look like the Buffalo Central Terminal, a masterpiece built to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers on a daily basis.

Designed by Felheimer and Wagner, the 271-foot iconic Art-Deco building is located about 2.5 miles from Buffalo, New York.

Unfortunately, the building opened months before the Great Depression had gripped the United Stated. Although the rail station was doing well in the first two decades, especially during World War 2, after the war had ended, it began to collapse.

Lake Shore Limited was the last train that went through the rails on 28th October 1979.

Abandoned platforms in 1989 Photo Credit


One of four corner clocks’ on the office tower Photo Credit

A Penn Central locomotive at Buffalo Central Terminal on July 20th, 1969

The rail station was sold for $75.000 to Anthony Fedele, a local builder who planned to transform it into a 150-room hotel under the name of Central Terminal Plaza. Anthony also wanted to build his apartment in the second-floor tower, but he couldn’t find investors for the project. He sold the building to Thomas Telesco, the only one willing to buy it for $100,000.

Telesco’s intentions were not to restore or reconstruct the building, but to re-sell the station’s architectural artifacts or the other valuable items.

Although the terminal went through the worst decay with its new owner, the high cost of removing its larger buildings, saved the terminal from a complete destruction.

Buffalo Central Terminal, west side, viewed from the main approach up Paderewski Drive

Buffalo Central Terminal – the tower, viewed from the west

After the many conservators’ complaints had been directed towards the new owners, they’ve offered to sell the building for only $1 as a challenge for others to try to manage the place better than they did.

The challenge was accepted by Scott Field of the Preservation Coalition for the price of $1 and around 70,000 of back taxes. The terminal was later completely owned by the non-profit volunteer organization.

As a host to approximately twenty major fundraising events each year, the Buffalo Central has a growing progress today. Some areas of the building are already clean and opened for the public eye.

With over 100,000 people who have visited the place since 2003, the rail station has become a host to art shows, train shows, local political events, tourist tours, weddings, Oktoberfest, and many other events that revived the place and yielded hope into its future restoration.

Artists and Models fundraiser event in the main concourse, 2007  Photo Credit


The former head houses of Buffalo Central Terminal in July 2016 Photo Credit


Buffalo Central Terminal platforms in July 2016 Photo Credit


Buffalo Central Terminal, Interior – entrance to baggage check area, off of the main concourse

Buffalo Central Terminal, Interior – domed ceiling at one end of the main concourse

As the place remained abandoned for many years, many ghost hunters suspected that there might be some paranormal activity going on inside. Atlantic Paranormal Society’s crew visited the place in 2008 and aired their findings on Ghost Hunters.

A year later, the terminal was re-visited by the spin-off show Ghost Hunters Academy due to huge audience interest in watching the ‘ghostly rail station.’

Many plans are in sight for rebuilding the terminal and bringing back its old charm. A little help from public donations and donations from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, have fixed the lights and repaired two of the original entryway canopies by now.

The Buffalo statue Photo Credit


Buffalo Central Terminal Photo Credit

The roof over the passengers’ waiting room that’s collapsed over the years was also replaced, and the main entrance was fixed for the filming of the movie Marshall in 2016. Even a replica of the Buffalo statue is situated on the Main Concourse to advertise the Buffalo Museum.

With amendments like this, the remarkable and unfortunate rail station is on a good way to shine again, thanks to the people who see it as a masterpiece like it once was.

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