Forgotten Buffalo: Historic & Hip...An Urban Explorer's Guide to the Buffalo-Niagara Region: Unique Landmarks, Historic Gin Mills, Old World Neighborhoods, History, Nickel City Oddities, Tours and More!
The last of Buffalo's great train stations was torn down during December.
In a slow moving city like Buffalo, moments of historical importance often happen quickly. So fast the changes to the landscape that they happen almost over night. During December 2004, Buffalo lost one of its last remaining urban train stations. No fanfare, no public lamenting. In fact, most people never knew that the building was once the pride of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. A railroad that hoped the facility would put a modern face on an aging system.
During the mid-1950s, New York embarked on a massive project to build a statewide thruway system. Railroad right-a-ways into and out of Buffalo were to become the modern transportation’s primary urban corridors. With declining passenger business and a decaying downtown station, the LVRR opted to sell its valuable property and build anew on the city’s suburban border.
Click on map to see location of Buffalo's second Lehigh Valley Railraod Station. 1955-2004.
Located at Dingens and South Ogden Streets, the station formally opened for service on August 11, 1955. The facility replaced a neo-classical structure that fronted Washington Street. (On the site of the Donavan State Office Building). The station was demolished in 1960. Passengers arriving at or departing from Buffalo on Lehigh Valley passenger trains over the famous Route of the Black Diamond found the new terminal readily accessible. It was easily reached from Buffalo’s residential and suburban sections and was only feet away from the new New York State Thruway. The city’s downtown hotels, business and shopping areas were advertised as being only 10 mins away by taxi. Completely modern in every detail, the newest Terminal, and the last to be built in Buffalo, combined beauty and utility.
The Ogden Street Station was doomed from day one. Almost immediately after the service began, the LehighValley looked at discontinuing passenger operations. In May 1959 LV discontinued all but two of its main-line passenger trains, and those two, the New York-Lehighton John Wilkes and the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf. Loss suffered by the railway in 1958 was estimated at $3,570,933 and in 1959 $1,583,999. The era of Lehigh Valley Railroad passenger service in Buffalo ended on Feb. 3, 1961 when the Maple Leaf completed its run to the QueenCity. The run marked the end of 115 years of LehighValley passenger service. J.R. de Capriles, vice president and general counsel of the LehighValley, attributed the decrease in the LehighValley's passenger traffic to increased motor and air travel - and competition from the New York Central and the Erie-Lackawanna Railroads. These railroads also connected New York and Buffalo, and their routes were shorter, requiring one and a half to two hours less than the LehighValley.
The final days of Buffalo's "modern" Lehigh Valley Terminal. Thank you to Frank Monaco for sending along this picture.
During the station's post railroad life, it would house a bank, light industrial businesses and offices. The glass passenger waiting room was torn down in the mid 1960s. Sadly, this forgotten landmark was torn down in 2004.
The Lehigh Valley Terminal located on Washington Street. Torn down in the late 1950s.
The new modern face of the Lehigh Valley in Buffalo (1955)
Station formally opened on Aug. 11, 1955. Passenger waiting room to the right is the current site of a Wendy's.
The station during its final years. Thank you to Bob Seemueller for sending this picture along.
While driving around the Eastside on 2/14/04, I stopped by Visniak Beverages in Sloan. Instead of picking up a bottle of Plantation pop, I was alerted to the fact that production has ended and that owner Ray Pijanowski was selling off the remaining stock. When the last bottle is sold, a 70 year history of pop production will come to an end. The business, started by Ray's father, had its first location on Detroit St. near St. Stans.
392 Reiman Street, Sloan
2/14/04 The last of the pop.
Bingo Halls, VFW Posts & Bowling Alleys will never be the same.
Buffalo's Polish King of Pop - Ray Pijanowski 2/14/04
The famous Plantation pop
Lougus Lounge - Genesee Street - Lost 2003
Lougus Lounge Genessee Street
Lougus Lounge Back Room
SPOLKA's- Broadway- Lost 2001
Front of Spolka's
First view once entering store
Owner - Louis Szczukowski
Hats & Slacks Department
Looking towards Broadway
Looking at rear of store
Glownia Cleaners - Clinton St.- Lost 2001
Inside counter area
View from Clinton Street
Lost Buffalo etc.
Redlinski's @ Broadway Market, Lost 2003
Redlinski's @ Broadway Market, 2003
Milk Machine, Corner of Doat & Sattler Streets, 1998