2017 Open-Air Autobus tours underway! Have fun, imbibe some entertaining information, and help historic preservation all at once!

Hi Gang, check out our tours for Summer 2017: our ever-popular Whirlwind Tour and our new Picturesque Buffalo Tour.

All the info you need is on the reproductions of our mini-posters below. You can download the pdfs, pass them along to friends, or print them out! 

Reserve online by clicking the button below, or call us for reservations at 716-854-3749.

Download 2017 Picturesque Buffalo tour

Download 2017 Buffalo Whirlwind

Buffalo Whirlwind tour


The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's 2017 Open-Air Autobus tours

Dear Buffalo Lover, there is simply no better way to see Buffalo and grasp what it is all about than a tour on the Open-Air Autobus. 2017 is our 11th season. It really is the best way to get around and see, hear, and smell Buffalo (ahh, toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

Open-Air Autobus tours are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and his- torical research by members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture in the course of preservation activities. The tours enhance our educational mission and help cover the costs of wide-ranging preservation work.

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our tours reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable. Five-star reviews: People rave about us on TripAdvisor.

The Campaign’s tours are popular, informative, well-done. We are the go-to organization for the general public and experts alike.

By doing a tour, you are doing good: We are a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education. Revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation.

The Buffalo Whirlwind Tour

• 10:00am Saturdays & Sundays July 1 - September 3.

• Meet at Elmwood & Potomac Aves. $25. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on button below or call 716-854-3749

There are few places you can see buildings by America’s Big Three architects— Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and H.H. Richardson— plus a park system by Frederick Law Olmsted. Buffalo is one of them.

On this tour, besides the master works by the Masters, you’ll see scores of other beautiful buildings and houses by prominent national and international architects and the streets and neighborhoods where Buffalonians carry on their everyday lives.

We start with the foundation of modern Buffalo, and modern urban America: The building and grounds of what was the Buffalo State Hospital, designed by H.H. Richardson and Frederick Law Olmsted, conceived in 1870. We end with the Heath House by Frank Lloyd Wright of 1904.

In between, you’ll see world-altering industrial architecture, the preening mansions of Delaware Avenue, and the prototype for the skyscraper, Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. We’ll put it all in context for you, as we point out dozens of buildings as markers of Buffalo’s progress through the years.

You’ll see:

• Kleinhans Music Hall • First Presbyterian Church • Ellicott Square by Daniel Burnham & Co. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral by Richard Upjohn • The Canal District • Niagara & Lafayette squares • Millionaires’ Row • Allentown Historic District • Delaware Historic District • City Hall and Old County Hall • Theater Historic District • Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln parkways

The Whirlwind tour is an astounding 90-minute tour of a great American city, given by the passionate experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture.

The Picturesque Buffalo Tour

• 12:30 Saturdays & Sundays July 1 - Sept. 3

• Meet at Elmwood & Potomac Aves. $20. 

• Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on button below or call 716-854-3749

Buffalo’s development wasn’t all about bare-knuckled capitalism, political turpitude, and pell-mell growth. Fun as that was, the sense that the city needed some civic grace came to the fore after the Civil War. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, designers of Central Park in New York, were brought in. They conceived a system of expansive parkland and parkways with residential areas of curving streets.

It was capital-P-Picturesque, for the movement that shaped England from the late 18th century onward. Olmsted envisioned the neighborhood of Parkside, built by others a generation later, just as the Arts and Crafts movement was peaking, and wonderful examples of the style line the streets by the dozen.

Buffalo was left a legacy which pays dividends to this day. Enjoy a 60-minute ride through Buffalo’s most beguiling precincts and see how artistic principals were integrated with urban planning and domestic architecture. Delaware Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, and Craftsmen bungalows highlight this tour given by the capital-P Passionate Experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture.

Charter the Open-Air Autobus!

Tour anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done tours for students from grade 2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and corporations. You get a ride like no other and expert commentary from the passionate pros of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. We know our stuff!

• 46-person capacity • See-thru, roll-down rain fly • $700 for up to two hours with expert commentary; longer tours available • About $15 per person at capacity • $400 for up to three hours for bus & driver only • Take a walking tour with same top-notch experts: $200 for 2 hrs. for up to 20 people; $10 ea. add’l. Call now: 716-854-3749

2017 Buffalo Whirlwind

  2017 Autobus tours 3


Special 26.2-mile Buffalo Marathon tour set for May 27th


Once again, The Campaign for Greater Buffalo is conducting a special Open-Air Autobus tour that covers the route of the annual Buffalo Marathon. Although focusing on runners and their friends and families, the tour is open to the general public. It is an ideal way to scout the route, fix landmarks and distances in your mind, and learn a little bit of the history and architecture of the city. While it has never been used, the bus has a roll-down, see-through roof in case of rain.

The cost is $40 per person in advance, plus convenience fee, and $50 at the curb. Seating is limited to the first luck 46 people to sign up, so you'd best do it today! Call 716-440-3691 today to charge by phone, or click on the button to pay now.

Marathon tour seats

More info on our handy flyer: Download Marathon poster 2017

Marathon flyer 2017


Campaign Plan for Outer Harbor Released; gains support.

Outer Harbor Tent & Ferry

Tim Tielman, Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director and principal of neighborhood designers Place Advantage, rolled out an Outer Harbor Plan for 2017 before an audience of over 120 people on September 14. The plan had gained the enthusiastic support of Congressman Brian Higgins and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, as well as The Buffalo News. 

Check out the story in the Buffalo News:



Download the abbreviated plan here, and voice your support! Download Buffalo Outer Harbor Plan


Drill Deep with September 2016 Tours on the Open-Air Autobus!

September is the season for great in-depth tours of the Buffalo for architectural and history aficionados and the people who love them. 

We start off with a well-researched, revealing and fun tour of 1950's suburbia given by Campaign for Greater Buffalo Executive Director Tim Tielman. Download his paper How Green Were My Acres: Builders, Designers, and Buyers in an Atomic Age Suburb, 1946-1956. Download Tielman, Green Acres narrative 2 That tour departs from in front of the Plaka Restaurant on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore. A monument to 1960's design, it was formerly Watson's Restaurant (the candy store is still operating next door as Watson's). Before that, it was the Alcobar. Have breakfast there beforehand or lunch afterwards. Or both!

The next day, Sunday the 11th, city planner Chris Hawley, who may know more about the Belt Line Railroad and its adjacent neighborhoods and industries than anyone, is leading a tour of this fascinating wonder that continues to operate today.

Download the September Schedule: 

Download 2016 Sept tour tab UPDATED


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

2016 tours p.2

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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 Saturday and Sunday 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 [email protected] 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

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.


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.