Buffalo Central Terminal, designed by Fellheimer and Wagner for the New York Central Railroad, opened in 1929 to much celebration. Harder times were soon to follow with the crash of the stock market 3 months later, and the beginning of the Great Depression. Rail travel declined until World War II, when the terminal experienced a rebirth. The terminal was the scene of many troop departures and reunions during the war, with the soldiers rubbing a stuffed buffalo on display for good luck. Rail travel declined again after WWII, and the terminal suffered, finally closing its doors in 1979. The walkway from the main concourse to the train platforms was severed in the early 1980s to allow room for taller trains to pass. The train platforms are currently owned by Amtrak.
After the terminal closed, the art deco building fell through the hands of various private owners who hoped to do something with the massive structure, to no avail. The 1990s saw the systematic stripping of the building of all decorative elements and fixtures by the 2nd private owner. By then, the building was left wide open to looters, vandals, and Buffalo winters.
In 1997 the main concourse, 17 story tower, and 4 story baggage building were purchased by Buffalo preservationist Scott Field, who formed the non profit Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, for 1 dollar. The CTRC has made progress with the building, using $1million+ to repair roofs, restore the 4 tower clocks, remove debris and asbestos, and reopen the concourse to the public for events throughout the summer months. The building played host to 1800 nude models for the work of Spencer Tunick. The CTRC hopes to continue its efforts in securing, stabilizing, preserving and restoring the huge complex, and work continues year round. I sat on the Board of Directors of the CTRC for 7 years. For more information please see the official website - http://www.buffalocentralterminal.org