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June 2011

2011 Open-Air Autobus Tour Schedule Begins Memorial Day Weekend. New This Year: Atomic Age Suburb and Industrial Strength Belt Line tour

Folks, here it is, the 2011 schedule of the Open-Air Autobus, brought to you by The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. Click here for pdf all your own: Download 2011 Autobus Tours

Or, if you like, read on. All the info you need is down below. Just give us a call at 716-854-3749 and have that MasterCard or Visa ready!

Tours are two hours and $20 • $5 for children under 12 • Groups of 20 or more save 20%. • Whole-bus charters save even more • Bring appropriate gear, whether sunscreen, beverages (no alcohol), or sweater. Ponchos available ($1) in case of a passing sprinkle. Gift certificates available. Reservations: 716-854-3749.

The  2011 Open-Air Autobus tours are the product of over 25 years’ worth of architectural and historical research conducted by members of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture in the course of  preservation activities. Much of that has been done by scholars and professionals in the field. It uses this information to further its educational mission and help to defray the costs of its wide-ranging preservation efforts. The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization, and tours are led by those on the frontlines Buffalo’s preservation battles. Expect expert color commentary!

The Campaign develops new tours and tweaks existing ones every year. New this year, for example, are “The Atomic Age Suburb” and “Belt Line: Industrial Strength Architecture.”  The Whirlwind is a fast-paced look at the masterworks and forces that shaped the city.
Thursdays are a rotating series of tours that take an in-depth look at neighborhoods and architectural themes. Proceeds help further the goals of The Campaign, a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Department of Education.

The Whirlwind Tour
Fridays 6pm, Sat. 10am, Sun. 11am, Labor Day 10am from Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy.*

This Buffalo institution gives you all the architectural highlights of Buffalo—grand civic architecture, residential neighborhoods, buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Richardson, and Louis Sullivan, as well the, the terminus of the Erie Canal. Departs from Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy.*
The starting point is conveniently located among the restaurants and cafes of the Elmwood Avenue. On Saturdays, you can enjoy the farmers’ market before the tour.

*The Friday July 15 tour departs from Elmwood & Delavan , a block south of Bidwell.
Fridays June 3-Sept. 2,
Saturdays & Sundays May 28- Sept. 26

Historic Neighborhoods
Thur. June 2 & 30,  August 25. 6pm from Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy
See the best in Buffalo and American domestic architecture on this up-close tour of the Allentown, West Village, Delaware, and Linwood historic districts, plus the grandeur of Chapin and Lincoln parkways.  You’ll see textbook examples of everything from Italianate to Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Craftsman, and ‘Stockbroker Tudor,’ from the 1870s to 1910s.
Atomic Age Suburb
Thur. June 16, July 7. 6pm, 
from Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy.
This new and intriguing tour explores the 1950’s suburban frontier. In a matter of a few years, developers built over 4,000 ranch and Cape Cod style houses in a development called Green Acres. It all started with some wild pre-war concrete-block Capes and then zoomed forward with ranches with carports and Jetsons-like detailing.
One of the most fascinating things you’ll see is how people have adapted their houses over time or left them alone. Some ranches and Capes have been blown up beyond all recognition, while a few are intact down to the built-in flower boxes and wall ovens. We’ll show you the hidden gems. We’ll explore the retail scene, too, from vestigial strip plazas built in the 1950’s, to the huge Power Centers of today. Yes, the 1950’s are history, and these houses are historic.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Thur. June 23, July 21, Aug 11, Sept 1. 6pm Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy.
The Buffalo that Frank Lloyd Wright knew from the early 1900’s to the 1930’s, the five houses he designed, the unique Blue Sky Mausoleum and the striking Fontana Boathouse are the subjects of our tour. Once president of the Chicago Arts and Crafts Society, Wright’s influence can be seen in  bungalows, “American Foursquares,”  and International Style office buildings.
Very Big and Extremely Close: The Grain Elevators  
July 4, 10am; Thur. June 16, Aug 18, 6pm from Erie Basin Marina near ‘Hatch’
Buffalo’s grain elevators are a landscape unlike any other, and reflect a history unlike any other. You’ll get neck-craining up-close views of these monsters, plus discover the people and places of Buffalo’s waterfront. It is  a window into national social, economic, and architectural modernism. See the newly restored terminus of the Erie Canal,  and streets once thronged by immigrants, sailors, ruffians, Grover Cleveland, and “saloon boss” of bosses, Fingy Connors.
The Belt Line: Industrial Strength Architecture
Thur. June 9, July 14, & Aug 4. 6pm  from Elmwood Ave. @ Bidwell Pkwy.
In a deal with the city, the NY Central Railroad connected its freight tracks into a loop around the city in the early 1880’s and agreed to run passenger service on the loop, called The Beltline. Passenger service ended before WWI, but freight service remains to this day. It was always king, attracting huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself. See them all on this industrial strength architectural & historical tour!