July 05, 2016

The 10th Season of the Buffalo Open-Air Autobus is Underway! Explore Buffalo with entertaining experts who give the Buffalo tours to end all Buffalo tours!

2016 tours p1

Click on the link to view or download the 2016 schedule for the Buffalo Open-Air Autobus. Simply the best, most fun, most informative explorations of Buffalo available to mortals. Every weekend in July, August, and September. Weekdays and weekends through September we are also available for charter.

Download 2016 tour tabloid

Walk-ups are welcome, but seating is limited. You can mail us a check, stating the tours and number of seats you want (made out to The Campaign for Greater Buffalo, 14 Lafayette Square, suite 1425, Buffalo, NY 14203).

Better yet, call now to reserve: 716-854-3749. Have your bank card ready (a small fee applies). 

Or order online below, but do BOTH steps!

2-step Online Reservations Process (we do this to keep costs low and apply as much of your ticket price to our mission, historic preservation in Buffalo).

STEP ONE: If you want to order through Paypal, text us at 716-854-3749 or email us at FrontDesk@c4gb.org. Give us your name, the number of seats you want to purchase, the tour name, and date. Like this: "Hi, it's Pat Smith. I'm buying 3 seats for the Aug. 27 Whirlwind Tour." 

If you don't text us or email us, we have no idea of the date you want; when you hit the Paypal button, YOU LEAVE OUR WEBSITE and Paypal's system doesn't allow you to enter date info or get back to this page. Paypal only gives us your name and amount paid, nothing else.

STEP TWO: Tap the Paypal buttons below to select the type and number of seats you want. Paypal will send us a message confirming that you have paid.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Waterfront Heritage seat
Whirlwind Tour seat

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 04:05 PM | Permalink

June 30, 2016

Campaign Acts to Protect the Law that Protects Landmarks

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture and Culture has filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court challenging the Buffalo Common Council’s summary rejection of three landmark designation applications lon May 10th. The Campaign  complaint charges that the Council, as the City Code requires, must provide valid reasons for rejecting applications, and those must be according to the standards established by the City Code. 

The Campaign is also seeking an injunction against the demolition of the three properties in question, The Bachelor Apartment Building, the North Park Library, and the Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. Also named in the suit are the Ellicott Development Company and the Crosby Company. 
The case has been assigned to Judge Catherine Nugent Panepinto, and has been scheduled to be heard on July 21. The Campaign is monitoring all three sites and will seek a temporary restraining order if any demolition seems imminent before the case can be heard.
“In not addressing the merits of the Preservation Board’s decision, the Council is acting arbitrarily, and in a way that is harmful not only to the properties involved , but in a way that erodes public confidence in the Council’s ability to safeguard the city’s cultural resources,” said Tim Tielman, Executive Director of the Campaign. “There is no credible protection for a city’s historic resources if a council or an administration can take such arbitrary action. It utterly undermines the landmarks law and the Preservation Board. The Preservation Board exists to provide expert, objective decisions removed from politics or whimsy. Citizens will see the decisions as politically motivated, and the preservation process as just another system that can be gamed. We have no choice but to take action.”
The Bachelor Building  is an 1886 apartment building at Franklin and Tupper streets, designed by  Green &  Wicks, Buffalo’s most accomplished architectural firm.
The North Park Branch Library, at the corner of Delaware and Hertel avenues, is the work of prolific City Architect Howard Beck, who also deigned the grounds. 
The Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area, at Pratt and William streets, includes buildings constructed for distilleries, malthouses, and the Crosby metal stamping company fro the mid-1800’s to the early 1900’s.
All are threatened with demolition, the Bachelor Building for a parking ramp, the Pratt Street buildings because of benign neglect, and the North Park Library for a retail building.


Posted on June 30, 2016 at 04:14 PM | Permalink

April 11, 2016

Urgent Landmark Hearings!

Landmark Hearings info sheet

Posted on April 11, 2016 at 02:18 PM | Permalink

February 11, 2016

Campaign fights on three fronts for North Park Library, Bachelor Apartments, and Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. Public Meet-up set for Feb. 20

The close of 2015 brought with it tidings of distress to Buffalo preservationists and concerted action by members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo through the holiday season and into the new year to stem the tide.

The Campaign instigated, researched, produced, and submitted no less than three landmark applications at once—for the North Park Library, the Bachelor Apartments, and the Pratt Street Industrial Heritage Area. It was quite a task, and cleared the first hurdle on January 28, when all three nominations were approved by the Preservation board, two of them unanimously.

North Park Library
First across the transom was Buffalo's North Park Library (closed in 2008), a pre-war Tudor Revival building designed by Howard Beck that marks the guards the western door of North Buffalo at Hertel and Delaware avenues, was sold by the City of Buffalo to Benderson Development. Benderson and the Brown Administration had been talking for years about the site, apparently, and the deal was consummated in late fall when the Common Council approved the deal. Benderson released a sketch which showed the library and its small park replaced by a typical Benderson Box of retail gimcrackery. (above, the library is set behind a generous tree lawn.)

The second late-autmnal knell was the announcement by Iskalo Development to smite the convent of St. Maragret's Church (North Buffalo, they're gunning for you). Unfortunately, pleas to the Brown Administration’s Permits and Inspections Department not to issue a demo permit while a landmark nomination process was underway cut no ice, and the building was irretrievably damaged by heavy demolition equipment on Monday, February 8. Above, the first floor hall displayed dark oak wainscoting and a magnificent and rare built-in Jewett refrigerator (r).

Bachelor (detail), 1948 BHM_edited-1
The third malevolence to darken the skies and blow chill winds down the streets was a familiar force, Carl Paladino's Ellicott Development, which announced its desire to build a Neo-Brutalist parking ramp on what it hopes will be the grave of Green & Wicks's 1886 apartment building, The Bachelor, at Tupper and Franklin streets. The ramp features more metal panels, projections, and aggressive thrusting slabs than a Dodge Ram pickup driven by an overcompensating architect. Above, a detail from a 1948 photo shows The Bachelor on SE corner of Franklin and Tupper streets in downtown Buffalo.

Bldg 20, Pratt facade
Lastly, a four-generation Buffalo metal-stamping firm, the Crosby Company, had (and still has) demolition equipment poised outside its factory on Pratt Street on Buffalo’s near-East Side, where it wants to knock down historically valuable buildings it hasn’t maintained for 30 years. Above, an all-terra-cotta tile building that would be demolished on Pratt Street. The earliest that the three applications can be heard by the Common Council’s Legislation Committee is Tuesday, February 23.

The Campaign urges all to attend a public meet-up on Saturday, February 20, at 4:00pm at Rohall’s Corner, 540 Amherst St. in Buffalo, to share ideas on how the three sites can be saved. There will be a cash bar, and food will be available.

Posted on February 11, 2016 at 01:59 PM | Permalink

October 30, 2015

New 2016 tour season for the OpenAir Autobus in the works


Thank you to all of our 2015 OpenAir Autobus tour participants and supporters for a great season! 

Many Western New Yorkers as well as a large amount of out of town visitors enjoyed the fun and informative tours conducted by experts commissioned by our Campaign.

The OpenAir Autobus will be back next May with several new tours and our popular signature tours starring the Buffalo Whirlwind Tour!

Meanwhile we are accepting charter tour reservations for corporate or personal events. Call or email for more information and to reserve your date!

716-854-3749 or email: frontdesk@c4gb.org

Posted on October 30, 2015 at 01:00 PM | Permalink

January 22, 2015

Greater Buffalo Preservation Fund needs your help!

Dear Friend,
Rarely a day went by in the past year when both threats to our built heritage and the rehabilitation and adaptation of historic buildings and sites wasn’t in the news and on the streets. The Campaign for Greater Buffalo was there every step of the way. And 2015 promises to bring new challenges. Spirit willing and the resources ready, we can win. For that, we’ll need your help.
The Campaign, with its strong membership, expertise, and fortitude, has always been where the community turns for action and strategy. We also put on a good show. In the last year, we hosted the largest event at The Congress for New Urbanism’s 2014 meeting— “The City of the Future”—an open-air lecture and light show at Silo City that drew almost 1,500 people.
The Campaign also prevented a huge, and hugely significant, building from demolition, The Larkin Powerhouse. The owners were secretly preparing to implode the industrial behemoth when we found out. It was a threat not only to our industrial heritage, but to the rebirth of The Hydraulics as “Larkinville,” Buffalo’s newest adaptive reuse success story. We called out the troops, stopped the demo plan cold and battled for months to successfully designate the Larkin Historic District. The core of Larkinville is safe.
The Campaign also worked hand-in-hand with members and residents of Linwood Avenue, one of our greatest streets, to expand the Linwood Historic District from West Ferry Street to its northern end at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Additional buildings—once threatened—on Main Street at West Ferry were included at the request of the owner. That shows the power of historic preservation incentives—legislation which Campaign members helped shape—to preserve and improve neighborhoods and personal wellbeing. After an exhaustive process of overcoming reluctance to the expansion within City Hall, the district expansion was approved two days before Christmas.
Speaking of fighting City Hall, The Campaign prevented the demolition of the Civil-War era Meidenbauer House in the Fruit Belt at Maple and High streets. We are still trying to overcome foot-dragging in officialdom to designate a “High Street Historic District” to protect the Fruit Belt from what seem to be weekly schemes to demolish houses for parking lots to serve the neighboring Medical Campus. 
Finally, have you enjoyed the scene of ice-skating on the Erie Canalway, under bridges and streets laid out precisely as they were built 170 years ago? You have Campaign members to thank for that. We have been at the forefront of the Canal District’s rebirth since Day One. It has been a 16-year process (and counting), but the fruits of our labors are apparent every day.
 Tasks ahead? You bet. The Campaign is already at work assisting efforts to stop the ill-advised plan to demolish the National Historic Landmark Chautauqua Amphitheater. You’ll be hearing a lot more on our efforts as the year unfolds. And, in what promises to be a bruising battle, an Urban Death Star in the form of a new stadium complex in the Cobblestone District, Old First Ward, or the Michigan Avenue Corridor will be announced soon. Each site, with demolitions, road reconstruction, vast dead zones, and more, would be the antithesis of “smart growth,” and actually thwart the history-based excitement we are witnessing. That, and we’ve really got to improve our website to serve members, the community, and everyone who wants access to our trove of knowledge on Buffalo-area history and architecture.
So, much success, but much to be done. We need your help. Please donate as generously as you can, today, to this season’s Greater Buffalo Preservation Fund. Use paypal button below, call us at 716-854-3749 or mail check to 14 Lafayette Sq. Ste.#1425, Buffalo NY 14203.
Thank you! Best wishes for 2015.

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

December 09, 2014

Gift Certificates now available for the 2015 season!

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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.

* Certificates to be used during 2015 tour season only and not redeemable for cash.

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.

Holiday Greeting

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

October 28, 2014

Keep right-of-way for the public at City Ship Canal !

Common Council meeting today, Tuesday 2:00pm City Hall.

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is urging city officials to save the only public access on the east shore of the City Ship Canal and not give control to a business that would cut off access...


The Campaign for Greater Buffalo strongly supports retaining all of the public-right-of-way of South Michigan Avenue to The City Ship Canal, and to avoid permanent or temporary leases which would in any way impede the unfettered public access that has been in effect there since the waterway was created in the 1850’s. Make no mistake: this is a taking of public lands and public access at a time when the public is clamoring for more.
We urge, instead, enhanced public access and the restoration of the  lift bridge that was removed in 1964. The City Ship Canal landing should be designed to encourage public enjoyment,  with historical interpretation, relaxation, and cultural tourism  enhancements.
General Mills, having failed to gain direct ownership of South Michigan Avenue and the City Ship Canal landing, now wants to be given a “revocable” lease, in perpetuity, on this valuable section of public land for a nominal sum.  To grant the request would be a grievous mistake. It would be rued every time a person would be blocked from enjoying a beautiful and historic part of Buffalo’s living waterfront.
Lately, it has suggested that it is a matter of homeland security. That is a stretch (How does this property differ from any other in the United States in terms of food and water security? Every one of the tens of millions of farms, food handling points, and water supply points would be a matter of “homeland security”).
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and its Open-Air Autobus tours would be directly effected by the proposed abandonment, as its most popular tour for visitors and residents alike is the tour that stops at the City Ship Canal and South Michigan Avenue for an extended discussion of General Mills’s elevators (built as part of the Washburn-Crosby complex) and the Great Northern Elevator, also to be seen from there. The eminent architectural historian Reyner Banham, as quoted in my book, Buffalo’s Waterfront, said that it could be argued, with little exaggeration, “that Elevators A, B, and C of the Washburn-Crosby complex [currently General Mills] constitute the most internationally influential structures in North America.”
Further, abandoning South Michigan Avenue would forfeit rebuilding the lift bridge that was once there. The Buffalo waterfront has changed dramatically since its low ebb in the early 1960’s. It would be a grave mistake that would be rued and recalled by all citizens forever if this most logical public path between the Outer and Inner harbors were to be foreclosed. There is potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in development at stake, as well as enhanced access to hundreds acres of public recreational lands on the Outer Harbor.
The Campaign urges you to reject any attempts to privatize this vital and strategic right-of-way, temporarily or permanently and to actively explore the lightest, quickest, cheapest, and best crossing of the City Ship Canal: A new South Michigan Avenue lift bridge.


Posted on October 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

October 09, 2014

Breaking ground ceremony of the Richardson Center Corporation Core Project

The "groundbreaking" ceremony for a hotel at the Richardson Olmsted Complex will take place on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. The Campaign's board and staff were instrumental in saving the former asylum, filing a lawsuit which led directly to $100,000,000 in state funding for preservation projects, including $75,000,000 for the Richardson, which had been deteriorating unchecked for decades ($25,000,000 went to the Martin House).

An 88-room hotel and 300-seat event center are planned. Hotel rooms will be in the two pavilions flanking the Administration Building, which will house hotel reception and an "architecture center."

Construction on the $69 million project will also include landscaping and roadways. Controversially, the main hotel entry will be automobile-centric, and approached from the rear, or north, side of Richardson's iconic Administration Building. Northside landscaping is to be rectilinear, taking its cue from parking lots serving the hotel (the Campaign fought against this anti-Olmstedian plan, to no avail) 

Landscaping and circulation issues notwithstanding, the occupancy of part of the Richardson Complex marks a victory in the 30-year struggle to re-occupy the National Historic Landmark.

Posted on October 9, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

September 25, 2014

Inc. papers

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Permalink