April 04, 2014

FRUIT BELT PRESERVING

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Posted on April 4, 2014 at 02:47 PM | Permalink

April 01, 2014

Campaign for Greater Buffalo moves to designate endangered Fruit Belt buildings

 

City’s oldest continuously operating market and post-Civil War Meidenbauer-Morgan House threatened by proposed grocery store.

 

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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture, working with the city’s Preservation Board, is advocating to designate as historic landmarks two buildings at Maple and High streets in the Fruit Belt neighborhood that are threatened by a proposed grocery store. The Campaign is proposing that the two buildings, the Meidenbauer-Morgan House (1871, above) and the Schirmer Meat Market (1876) be joined with the already-designated Promiseland Baptist Church at High and Mulberry to form a High Street Historic District. The Preservation Board is to hold a public hearing on the proposal at its next meeting, Thursday April 10, pending proper public notice. Should the Board recommend designation, the matter would be go to the Common Council's Legislation Committee, which would schedule a public hearing and send it to the full council for a vote.

 

195 High detail illus"These are very handsome brick buildings that are survivors of a proud neighborhood, and are emblematic of the houses, churches, and markets of the Fruit Belt and a model for future development,” says Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman. “The grocery store, on the other hand, can go anywhere. The answer to saving the Fruit Belt is not to continue the 50-year war of demolition against it and its people, but to reinforce the qualities that make it special.” The buildings mark the current western edge of the Fruit Belt. Every remnant of the former residential neighborhood on High Street from Maple to Main Street has been demolished as a consequence of the North Oak Urban Renewal Project and hospital expansion.

 

Research by The Campaign has found that 195 High Street (above), currently operating as the High Street Deli, is the oldest documented, continuously operating market in the city. It was built for butcher Henry Schirmer, and opened in 1876 as Schirmer’s Meat Market. It is a structure the likes of which is no longer built. In addition to the market, Schirmer lived upstairs, and a smokehouse, sausage factory, and ice house were attached to the rear. The brick walls of the structure are a foot thick. All of this continues to stand, but is threatened by the proposed subsidized market across the street.

 

The Meidenbauer-Morgan House (variously described in city records over time as 204 High and 291 Maple, often simultaneously) is rare: It consists of two conjoined houses built at once. The larger block faces Maple Street. The smaller block faces High Street. Together they enclose expansive grounds on the corner of Maple and High. The compound has been owned by only two families since constructed, and is now owned by the City of Buffalo, which is working to consolidate the entire north side of High Street between Maple and Mulberry for the parking lot and store proposal. Several parties have approach the city over the years to buy the unique property and restore it, only to be rebuffed. Consequently, the structure is suffering “demolition by neglect.” 

 

The compound is most closely identified with two doctors of longstanding, John G. Meidenbauer, who lived there since his parents built the house in 1871, until his death in 1941. Thereafter, it was owned and lived in for 46 years by Dr. Lyle Morgan, who made house calls for decades throughout the neighborhood, and delivered the pioneering funk musician Rick James, who remained a patient through adulthood.

 

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation. Its mission is to protect greater Buffalo’s historic, aesthetic, and cultural heritage; help to protect and improve property values in historic districts; encourage civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past; protect and enhance greater Buffalo’s attractions for tourists, thereby benefiting business and industry; strengthen the area's economy; and to promote the use of characteristic and exceptional architecture for the education, pleasure, and welfare of the people of Erie and Niagara counties. 

Posted on April 1, 2014 at 01:16 PM | Permalink

March 31, 2014

BUFFALO MARATHON ORGANIZERS ONCE AGAIN ENLIST THE OPEN-AIR AUTOBUS


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The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture, operators of the Open-Air Autobus are hosting THE BUFFALO MARATHON ROUTE TOUR.

Saturday May 24 there will be three scheduled tours, targeted to runners, their friends and families, and are also open to the public.

The tours will scope out the 26.2 mile marathon route and along the way give expert interpretation of Buffalo landmarks, businesses, famous houses and parks on this year's course.

The Open-Air Autobus will depart at Franklin Street and Huron in downtown Buffalo, one block west of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Tours depart at 9:00am, Noon and 3:00pm (this tour has drop-off available at pre-race dinner).

Seats are $30 in advance, $35 at curbside. Children 11 and under,  $10 when accompanied by adult.

Reservations and information: (716) 854-3749, email: frontdesk@c4gb.org and OpenAirBuffalo.org

 

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Adult or Child under 12

Posted on March 31, 2014 at 01:31 PM | Permalink

December 30, 2013

PRESERVING OUR ROOTS

 

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Saving Wildroot Building could be just the tonic for Buffalo's East Side! 

Campaign for Greater Buffalo member Mark Paradowski has his own campaign to save the Wildroot Building on Bailey Ave. between Walden and Broadway. Wildroot was the country's largest manufacturer of men's hair tonic after WWII, made famous by extensive national advertising. The building, with its Carrera glass portal and stainless steel lettering spelling out "Wildroot," is a familiar landmark in the Lovejoy Council District (represented by Richard Fontana). Originally built for Grennan Bakery of Detroit in 1929, the 100,000 square- foot building housed the largest cake bakery in the world.

The Wildroot Company got its start in the barbershop of the grand Iroquois Hotel at Main and Eagle Streets in the early 20th century. The business grew faster than most customers' hair, and around the time of World War II it sought a new location. They found it on Bailey Ave., directly on the major rail lines which converged on the East Side.  200,000 bottles of hair product were produced each day. Nat King Cole sang the company jingle and future President Ronald Reagan modeled for the print ads. Chemist Emanuel Gundlach perfected the formula and his son Robert worked mixing batches of his creation. Robert invented the modern photocopy process for a Rochester company that became known to the world as Xerox.

The Wildroot building has value as an anchor structure to a large Buffalo neighborhood, as well as being the location of a national icon from Buffalo's manufacturing and entrepreneurial peak. The building has survied long after its peak usage due to its strong structure of steel reinforced concrete and brick facade that encompasses the entire site. It provides open floorplates and the dense urban scale sought by today's adaptive use projects.

A building worth saving!

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 04:07 PM | Permalink

December 13, 2013

Be there at Larkin Square!

2013 Blog party invite

Advanced reservations:

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 03:17 PM | Permalink

November 19, 2013

TWO BIRDS, ONE STONE CHRISTMAS GIVING!

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OPEN-AIR AUTOBUS TOUR GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE A GREAT IDEA FOR RELATIVES, FRIENDS, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES AND CO-WORKERS! 

Give your favorite urban explorer, Buffalo lover, history buff, or achitecture fan a two-hour treat with memories that will last a lifetime: An almost reach-out-and-touch ride through the streets of our city and surrounding areas aboard the Open-Air Autobus. Your recipient will gain enlightenment along with entertainment through the narration of Campaign for Greater Buffalo's expert guides. Tours run from late spring to late summer(up to ten different ones to choose from).

Your good deed counts twice- gift certificates will also support the Campaign, enabling us to continue our preservation mission.

Purchase certificates by Paypal below, or call (716)854-3749. We accept checks and major credit cards. We will mail the gift certificates promptly to you, or with given information by phone or email(frontdesk@c4gb.org) to your fortunate recipient.

*Certificates redeemable for 2014 season.

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

November 15, 2013

NEW ON CITY'S LANDMARK LIST: ST. ANN'S CHURCH!

St. Ann's Church has been designated a City of Buffalo landmark . This was achieved by the Campaign's support and our continuing work with St. Ann's parishioner's. Campaign Chair Paul McDonnell led the designation effort. Dissaproval came solely from the Catholic Diocese with objections that landmark status will interfere with reuse plans and possible "necessary" demolition.

There  are over forty Catholic Churches listed individually as local historic landmarks or are within a local historic district. The Campaign will continue to preserve St. Ann's and revitilize the neighborhood.

Corpu Christi was saved by landmark designation, allowing $2,000.00 and counting, of state funding and repairs. The anti-preservation stance of the diocese, in light of the benefits, is confounding and counter- productive. Citizens and parishioners wanted this landmark status and now have new hope for the future of their beloved church and its surrounding neighborhood.

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Posted on November 15, 2013 at 04:26 PM | Permalink

November 06, 2013

WHITE BROTHER'S STABLE, SAVED BY FAST ACTION OF CAMPAIGN, REBORN AS HOUSING!

New life of the human kind, will soon enjoy fancy digs as did horses of yesteryear on Buffalo's West Side.Tenants and their visitors will walk up to quite an impressive facade. Arched windows and carriage entrance, with bas relief horse heads flanking the lettering carved in Medina sandstone of the White Bros. business, established in 1892 at 432 Jersey Street. Read Buffalo News article dated November 6th by Mark Sommers.

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Posted on November 6, 2013 at 04:38 PM | Permalink

October 17, 2013

St. Ann's mission becomes Campaign's mission

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At 501 Emslie St. and Broadway, on Buffalo's East Side, stands a masterpiece of neo-gothic architecture with an equally impressive interior: St. Ann's RC Church. View stunning video footage narrated by writer Christina Abt and hear facts and opinion by local parishioners and Campaign President Paul McDonnell.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BDOX8-8TVo&feature=youtu.be

 

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

October 07, 2013

Work of Campaign Making Mark on City

Buffalo News Article, Sunday, October 6.


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Tim Tielman, Executive Director, Campaign for Greater Buffalo, History, Architecture and Culture


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The work and contributions of hundreds of Campaign for Greater Buffalo members and supporters over the years continues to be felt. Just in the past two weeks, Campaign board member John Paget debuted his short film, "Buffalo, The Best- 
Designed City" before hundreds of people at Larkin Square. Campaign Board members Chris Hawley and Tim Tielman figured prominently in the film, which got over 35,000 hits in its day on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBsi5FGbY2Y

Earlier that week, Tielman and Board President Paul McDonnell, with over 30 citizens from St. Ann's parish, testified at a Common Council public hearing on designating the endangered church an official city landmark. Public declarations of support at the hearing by Ellicott District Councilmember Darius Pridgen, Fillmore District Council member David Franczyk, and Niagara District Council member David Rivera seem to assure its eventual designation.

Then, on Saturday, September 28, Tielman, McDonnell, and a host of Campaign members joined hundreds of others at the formal ribbon-cutting for the South Lawn at the Richardson, a dream 20 years in the making. Campaign members Tielman, Susan McCartney, and Richard Lippes led the lawsuit which led to $75,000,000 of state money being directed to the Richardson, with millions more to the Martin House Complex.

Finally, on Sunday, October 6, Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde devoted his column to recognizing Tielman's—and, by extension— the Campaign's role in turning the city around.

Here is what Esmonde had to say:

The “transformation” of Tim Tielman is complete.

From “obstructionist” to project-shaper, from “obstacle” to asset, Buffalo’s foremost preservationist is finally getting the mainstream due he has always deserved.

Tielman, in fact, never changed. Only the public perception – fueled largely back then by vision-challenged power brokers – of who he is and what he does has finally shifted.

The shift came full circle with Tuesday night’s packed-crowd unveiling – at, fittingly, the Larkin Square public space Tielman designed – of “Buffalo: America’s Best-Designed City.” John Paget’s beautifully shot 12-minute promo film is a tribute to the ongoing revival of a city that – after years of lurching like a barroom drunk from one silver-bullet plan to the next – has finally shaken its mega-project addiction.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBsi5FGbY2Y

Tielman is a primary talking head in the rebirth-celebrating flick. Once maligned and marginalized by the powers that be, Tielman now is used as a civic spokesman. Not since Linda Blair’s head swiveled in “The Exorcist” have we seen as dramatic a turnaround.

Although promotional in intent (it was partly funded by the state and Visit Buffalo Niagara), the film reflects reality. Logjams have been broken lately on the downtown waterfront, on the outer harbor, with downtown housing and in the growing realization that preservation is not a roadblock to development, but an economic and aesthetic key to it.

In recent years, we resurrected history and created a waterfront park at Canalside. We broke the transportation authority’s 50-year stranglehold on the waterfront. We are repopulating downtown and transforming such icons of the past as the Lafayette Hotel – saved from the wrecking ball – into foundations of our future. It’s deeply gratifying for all of those who fought over the years for civic sanity.

Tielman was at the center of much of it. Many people missed this, but for every Bass Pro or mega-convention center he opposed, he offered a saner alternative. Every time he prevailed, the community benefitted. From Canalside to Larkin Square to various architectural gems, the sites glorified in the film are to varying degree products of Tielman’s battles and vision.

“Looking at the track record of Tim and the preservation community collectively, from Shea’s to Canalside to the Guaranty Building, there is nothing they fought for that we look back at with regret,” said Ed Healy of Visit Buffalo Niagara. “So many of the stories we now tell about Buffalo and our identity concern sites or buildings that were saved by preservationists.”

Canalside’s Commercial Slip and public space are there largely because of Tielman. His Preservation Coalition led the fight, which included a federal lawsuit, to resurrect history. He understood that a big-box retailer had no business doing business on our downtown waterfront.

Tielman helped to turn aside a mega-convention center that would have obliterated the Ellicott District, since resurrected by Rocco Termini and others. Chunks of Main Street, Ani DiFranco’s Babeville, the H.H. Richardson Towers and the Webb Building are on the Tielman-led “save” list. Larkinville is a product of businessman Howard Zemsky and his partners, who revived the old Graphic Controls plant. But Zemsky hired longtime pal Tielman – the two visited European cities to study urban design – to plan the Larkin Square public space.

“I just think Tim is an asset to the community,” Zemsky told me. “He’s super-smart, creative, and he understood the value of our architecture and history as unique resources long before that view was widely adopted.”

I don’t want to overstate this. Buffalo’s rebirth is not the story of any one person. Tielman (often working with his ex-wife, Sue McCartney) had a larger hand in some things than others, and plenty of help with anything he did. The list of preservationists, activists, public officials and concerned citizens who fought various battles is admirably long. Mark Goldman helped to craft the post-Bass Pro “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” waterfront philosophy. Termini has been a force in downtown revival. Rep. Brian Higgins has for years whipsawed change on the outer harbor. But Tielman was so marginalized for so long and led so many uphill – but often victorious – battles, that the triumph of his sense and sensibility is worth celebrating. In numerous ways, his efforts contributed to, and dovetail with, Buffalo’s rebirth.

“It’s nice to see that what we’ve been saying all of these years is bearing fruit,” Tielman told me. “We couldn’t have achieved it if there wasn’t a groundswell of popular opinion behind the ideas. People made their voices heard.”

Tielman’s ascent in the mainstream public eye not coincidentally coincided with Zemsky’s rise in the civic ranks. As Andrew Cuomo’s main man in Buffalo, Zemsky (who partly funded the film) brought a sorely needed progressive sensibility to the region’s corporate boardrooms. He carried with it an appreciation of Tielman’s resume and talents.

There still are plenty of battles to fight. But in recent years, big pieces have fallen into place. The film celebrates what we are doing with what we’ve got. In it, Tielman comments on the fruits of his own labor. Nice work, and it’s nice to see him get some credit – and to see the larger community finally “get” him.

Congratulations to all Campaign members!

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Permalink