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Buffalo Central Terminal


Looking up at the Buffalo Central Terminal

Buffalo Central Terminal, built by the New York Central Railroad, opened in 1929, just months before the stock market crash of October. The art deco building was designed to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily.

Station visitors were originally greeted by a stuffed American bison. Passengers, including thousands of WWII soldiers, rubbed their hands through the fur, causing the large buffalo to go bald. It was replaced by a bronze statue, which was destroyed by an eventual owner of the terminal. A bronze recasting using the original molds, can be found outside the football stadium on the University of Buffalo North Campus. The current statue in the station, is a fiberglass replica.

Buffalo Central Terminal saw active train service from 1929 – 1979. In addition to New York Central, the Canadian National Railway, Pennsylvania Railroad, and Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway also serviced BCT. The terminal saw its peak during World War II.

While touring about Buffalo, the Frozen Foursome received an unexpected invitation to tour the main concourse of Buffalo Central Terminal. As a perfect example, of “it doesn’t hurt to ask”, one quick question had us in the door, and once it became apparent that we were in no hurry to leave, an additional invite to explore further inside was offered.

All of us were excited to see inside the abandoned terminal, but it was far more personal for The Curator. His father was an engineer for New York Central, and he remembered running throughout the concourse when he visited Central Terminal with his dad and siblings.

BCT is a beautiful terminal, and must have been something very special in its day. It is currently owned by the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., whose volunteers we met and talked with during our visit. I reminded one volunteer that Union Depot in Saint Paul, Minnesota has been brought back to life and train service restored. There is certainly hope for Buffalo Central Terminal, although it’s a damn shame that the building has suffered such neglect.

BCT opened with a Western Union office, a restaurant with dining room and lunch counter, a coffee shop, soda fountain, and, of course, a street car lobby.

Central Terminal is located 2.5 miles from downtown Buffalo. The current Amtrak station, is a tiny building a bit closer to downtown. Throughout its history, Buffalo Central Terminal was always larger than needed, but hopefully the CTRC will be able to repurpose BCT now that Buffalo itself is seeing a revitalization.


A day in the life…

What an Alaskan does upon returning from a month long sabbatical:


The view from Murphy Dome in black & white

Spend the morning fixing a customer’s plumbing problem. Like most plumbing problems, the job took two trips for fittings. Like all seemingly easy jobs, the customer added two new problems upon arrival, which had previously “slipped their mind”.

Buy potting soil.

Order flooring for a job that is two weeks away.

Buy tomato, pepper and squash plants.

Set up rain barrels for customer. Repair barrels where customer broke fittings. Reinstall water pump for garden from their pond. Let out their dog and chase it around the yard for a few minutes. Scratch their cat, so it doesn’t feel left out.

Stop by post office for mail, and Fred Meyer for just a few groceries.

Load truck with tools & materials for the next day’s job.

Uncover 1 ton work truck, that has been parked all winter. Hook up battery tender.

Take phone call from customer that wants me to hang several bird feeders. I caution customer that bird feed, especially black sunflower seeds, attracts bears, which she has had several visit in the past. Bird feeder job remains in limbo, as no decision was made.

Remove door to Rover hut for the season.

Plant lettuce.

Unplug refrigerator to defrost, before restocking. Plug in the Rover’s fridge to substitute for the next 24 hours.

Hike out to back 400 pond with Leica to check out the nesting trumpeter swans. The sun is wrong for good pictures, but the reward of watching the swimming pair from the brush is still high.

Haul out deck chairs; put away snowshoes.

Drop window awning, because cabin was 86 degrees when you returned home this afternoon.

Plant sunflowers.

Crack open a beer and grill a chicken breast and zucchini.

Contemplate that tomorrow is really going to be a hectic day.


A Return to the ‘Banks


The backyard at midnight

After a month Outside, I recently returned home to Fairbanks. As much as I enjoyed my travels, its nice to be back in Alaska. The days are long once again, the trumpeter swans are back swimming in the pond, and a moose greeted me in the yard within 15 minutes of my return.


Erie Canal


The canal map at Gasport, NY

The Erie Canal spans from where Albany meets the Hudson River to where Buffalo meets Lake Erie. When completed in 1825, the 363 mile Erie Canal was the second longest canal in the world.


The Erie Canal at Gasport

Construction began at Rome, NY in 1817. The canal has 34 locks, with an elevation difference of 565 feet.


The Tow Path at Middleport, NY

When it opened, the canal cut transportation costs by 95%. 1855 was the canal’s peak year, when 33,000 shipments took place.


The Erie Canal at Middleport

The last large commercial ship retired in 1994, and the canal has seen mostly recreational traffic since. 42 commercial shipments took place in 2008.


Bridge over the canal at Middleport. The cafe on the corner is well worth visiting.



Hockey Hall of Fame

Toronto, Ontario


Hockey Hall of Fame

Four members of the Frozen Foursome+ made the pilgrimage to Toronto to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame during the off day of the college tournament. The Hall was established in 1943; it has been in its current location since 1993.


Dedicated to Mr Hockey

Currently, there is an exhibit honoring #’s 9 & 99: Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. A nice video tribute on both of the legendary players, as well as exhibits highlighting their connection.


One section of the Wayne Gretzky exhibit

One can not argue with the contribution both made to the game of hockey: Mr Hockey & The Great One.


Hobey Baker’s induction plaque

The plaques honoring the players that have been inducted and the various trophies are displayed in the Great Hall, which is in the historic Bank of Montreal building.


The Great Hall’s ceiling

The Great Hall is a stunning room, the highlight of which is the 24 fanned-panel, stained glass dome, with eight stained glass circles, and even more detailed panels on the outer edge and inner section.


Herbie’s induction plaque

The Bank of Montreal building, which is home to The Great Hall was constructed in 1885.


The Original: Lord Stanley’s Cup

The original Stanley Cup, and the retired bands from the current cup, are stored in the old bank’s vault. Now known as Lord Stanley’s Vault.


The Canadiens are well represented

The HHof receives around 300,000 visitors a year. This year, with the Frozen Four held in nearby Buffalo, NY, there was a definite influx of college hockey fans while we visited.


Conn Smythe Trophy


Miracle on Ice

There is an entire section dedicated to international hockey, which includes Olympic Hockey. A large exhibit honoring the 1980 Miracle on Ice team was prominent.


They do play hockey Down Under

A hockey fan could spend several days exploring the Hall. I know that all of our group would have loved to spend more time than we had, but it was a well worth the trip across the border to experience the history of hockey.


A very small section of the exhibit dedicated to the evolution of the goalie mask


Hello Dixie!