On the Road Again: Ride along with experts and newsmakers on the Open-Air Autobus!

Open-air Autobus silhouette 2022
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's Open-Air Autobus is on the road again after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.
We are glad to be back and starting our LearnAboutBuffalo programming once again. To thank our members-in-good-standing for their steadfast support, we are offering them a free pair of seats for any Buffalo Whirlwind tour this summer! All others—what are you waiting for? Support preservation in Buffalo and get a 20% discount on all our tours and events!

There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to travel around and about Buffalo with the experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. They have the Open-Air Autobus, a mobile classroom and part of The Campaign’s Learn About Buffalo outreach— the best way to see, hear, and smell Buffalo (toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

This year you can reserve a seat with one of our news-making experts for their personal take on Buffalo. Tim Tielman, the leading voice for preservation in Buffalo for 30 years andrecent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year. Paul McDonnell, president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo and president-elect of the American Institute of Architects: New York. Mark Goldman, educator, historian, author, and entrepreneur. Chris Hawley, planner, Buffalonia collector, restorer and operator of Eugene Debs Hall, a classic shophouse.

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our trips reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable, led by experts who love exploring the world around them. Our trips are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and historical research and help raise funds for our wide-ranging preservation work.

By doing a trip, you are doing good: The Campaign is a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education, and revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation.

The Campaign’s trips are popular, informative, well-done. Book yours or schedule a charter today! 

Reserve your tour by clicking on a one of our scheduled tours on the calendar below. Have a charge card handy. Want to reserve over the phone, or something not working right? Call us at 716-854-3749. Walk-ups are always welcome, space permitting.

Reserve online by clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar below, or the button below the individual tour descriptions. You can call us for reservations at 716-854-3749 as well. You'll need a charge card handy.

Whirlwind poster 2022 1The Buffalo Whirlwind

• 10:00am Saturdays and Sundays from July 2 to September 4.

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. Two hours, $25. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, 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 trip, 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 at the Larkin Square, in the heart of the Larkin Historic District (which The Campaign created!). We proceed to the Old First Ward and its grain elevators,  the Canal District (we saved it!), downtown buildings at the dawn of the Skyscraper Age,  then out to the broad Victorian-Era residential districts and the foundation of American Architecture, H.H. Richardson's Buffalo State Hospital, conceived in 1870. 

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 • Larkin Historic District • City Hall and Old County Hall • Theater Historic District • Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln parkways.

The Whirlwind is an compelling two-hours with Tim Tielman, Paul McDonnell, Mark Goldman, or Chris Hawley. Entertaining experts all!

Grand Tour Tielman poster 2022The Grand Tour

• Saturday, 10:00am September 10

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Some people just want more: More buildings, more neighborhoods, more stories, more impressions, and more understanding of The City of Buffalo. To meet that demand, Tim Tielman will lead a special 3-hour Grand Tour that covers all the sites of our Whirlwind trip, but adds all the places we wish we could’ve shown you before with our mobile classroom the Open-Air Autobus.

Spend three hours with an expert and see:
• Lake Erie and Buffalo’s harbor defenses
• Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House compound
• Fredrrick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park
• The Linwood Historic District

The Grand Tour is also available as a charter, with lunch and a rest stop—it makes a great afternoon outing! Contact us for special pricing at 716-854-3749, or [email protected] c4gb.org.

Belt Line Hawley posterLofty Expectations on the Belt Line

• Saturday, 10:00am September 17

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Join Chris Hawley, The Man Who Knows Too Much Cool Stuff, as he uncovers one of Buffalo’s Hide-in-Plain-Sight secrets: The New York Central Belt Line railroad of the 1880’s, the city’s most consequential transportation project after the Erie Canal. Chris lives along the Belt Line and has just restored and occupied both parts of a classic Buffalo shophouse!

The Belt Line attracted huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself.

See how John Larkin and Darwin Martin built a gargantuan factory complex that, building-by-building, traces the de- velopment of modern architecture. Today it is Larkinville, a new neighborhood of offices, apartments and gathering places.

See the changes to Henry Hyde’s innovative Mentholatum factory, F.N Burt’s Niagara Street and Seneca Street folding box plants, and other former factories that have been converted to lofts, restaurants, and commercial space trading on industrial appeal. Learn their stories and those of the diverse neighborhoods it traverses, Parkside, Polonia, Black Rock, and the “Yammerthal,” the stone quarries called the “Vale of Tears.” Reserve now!

Green & Wicks McDonnell posterBuilding Buffalo: Green & Wicks, Architects

• 10:00am Sunday September 18

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

The firm of Green & Wicks (1882-1917) coincided with Buffalo's Golden Age. W.S. Wicks (1854-1919) and E.B. Green (1855-1950) were Buffalo’s most distinguished architects of the period. The firm had dozens of major commissions, many of them superb examples of their type, whether office building, hotel, apartment building or grandiose mansion. The number and quality of its commissions is staggering: Buffalo Savings Bank, The  Market Arcade, half of “Millionaire’s Row,” the Twentieth Century Club,  the American Radiator factory, the Marine Bank, the Albright Art Gallery, department stores, and more.

Join Campaign for Greater Buffalo president Paul McDonnell, who is also the incoming president of the American Institute of Architects: New York, to explore fine structures of wood, brick, and stone,  prominently sited or tucked away on side streets, radiating charm and poise. Join Paul as he hunts down dozens of the buildings and tell the tales of the people who lived, worked, worshiped, and socialized there.

 

Charter poster 2022 9

Travel anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to learn abot Buffalo than to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done school trips from grade 2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and corporate affairs. 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


2021 Buffalo Revival Series in the works while Open-Air Bus takes breather.

2003 Revival card
From the archives: The lineup for the 2003 Architectural Revival Buffalo. LaearnAboutBuffalo and The Campaign for Greater Buffalo are reviving the series for 2021

LearnAboutBuffalo will be pitching its tent in strategic historic spots during the summer of 2021. This is to replace its programming aboard the Open-Air Autobus, which won't be available for tours this year due to COVID-19. LearnAboutBuffalo is the education and research program of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture.

This is a revival of a revival. The Campaign sponsored the lively and informative Architectural Revival Buffalo series in a giant tent on Bidwell Parkway in the early 2000's. Noted speakers included urban designer and author Jan Gehl, developer Dan Camp of the Cotton District in Starkville, MS., and author of the classic Democratic Architecture, Donald McDonald. The inspiration was the revival tents that spring up on the East Side during the summer.

The line-up and schedule is in the planning stages. Check in here for updates.


2019 LearnAboutBuffalo Field Trips on Our Open-AirAutobus!

  2019 Autobus Cover

There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to travel around and about Buffalo with the experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. They have the Open-Air Autobus, a mobile classroom and part of The Campaign’s Learn About Buffalo outreach— the best way to see, hear, and smell Buffalo (toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our trips reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable, led by experts who love exploring the world around them.Our trips are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and historical research and help raise funds for our wide-ranging preservation work.

By doing a trip, you are doing good: The Campaign is a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education, and revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation.
The Campaign’s trips are popular, informative, well-done. Book yours or schedule a charter today! 

Reserve online by clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar, or the button below the individual tour descriptions. You can call us for reservations at 716-854-3749 as well. You'll need a charge card handy. Buffalo Whirlwind tour

Whirlwind Illustration 2
The Buffalo Whirlwind

• 10:00am, June 23, 29; July 6, 14, 20, 27; Aug. 3, 11, 17, 24; Sept. 1

• Meet at Main & Huron streets. 90 minutes, $25. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, 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 trip, 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. The tours are led by Tim Tielman, Executive Director of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year, and Paul McDonnell, an award-winning architect and Chairman of The Campaign.

We start with Peak Buffalo, downtown buildings at the dawn of the Skyscraper Age (including Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building and City Hall),  proceed to the Canal District, and then out to the broad Victorian-Era residential districts and the foundation of American Architecture, H.H. Richardson's Buffalo State Hospital, conceived in 1870. 

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 is an compelling 90-minute session with the passionate experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture.

Buffalo Whirlwind tour


Grand Tour 2019 poster 4The Grand Tour

• 10:00am, June 22, 30; July 13, 21; Aug. 4, 10, 18, 25, 31

• Meet at Main and Huron streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Some people just want more: More buildings, more neighborhoods, more stories, more impressions, and more understanding of The City of Buffalo. To meet that demand, we have a special 3-hour Grand Tour session that covers all the sites of our 90-minute Whirlwind session, but adds all the places we wish we could’ve shown you before with our mobile classroom the Open-Air Autobus.

Spend three hours with an expert and see:
• Lake Erie and Buffalo’s harbor defenses
• The Old First Ward
•The Grain Elevators (Hey, Tim Tielman, one of our tour leaders, wrote the book: “Buffalo’s Waterfront: A Guidebook.”).
• The revitalized Larkinville (um, in another life, Tim designed Larkin Square),
• The Linwood Historic District

The Grand Tour is also available as a charter, with lunch and a rest stop—it makes a great afternoon outing! Contact us for special pricing at 716-854-3749, or [email protected] c4gb.org.

The Grand Tour is led by Tim Tielman, Executive Director of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year, and Paul McDonnell, an award-winning architect and Chairman of The Campaign.

Buffalo Grand Tour

 

Snapshot poster 5
The Buffalo Snapshot 

• 12:00 noon, June 23, 29; July 6, 14, 20; Aug. 3, 11, 17, 24; Sept. 1

• Meet at Main & Huron streets. 60 minutes, $20. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

This is designed to be a quick look at essential Buffalo, all within the original bounds of the city in 1832.

The tour features Chris Hawley, a planner for the City of Buffalo, whose work has been recognized by The Congress for New Urbanism.

You’ll see:

• Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building, the prototype skyscraper • Ellicott Square by Daniel Burnham & Co. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral by Richard Upjohn • The Canal District • Niagara & Lafayette squares  • Allentown Historic District  • City Hall • Theater Historic District

The Snapshot is a 60-minute ride with an engaging expert you won't forget!

Buffalo Snapshot

 

Grand Waterfront poster 6

A Waterfront Expedition

• 10:00am Sunday July 28 & Sunday August 25

• Meet at Main and Huron streets. $70 includes a shore lunch. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

The Erie Canal, the great engineering wonder that made Buffalo and much of America, was underway 200 years ago. As part of that celebration, The Campaign for Greater Buffalo—whose members gave us our canal back through a decade-long battle to save the Canal District— has a special 5-hour expedition of Buffalo and its waterways: the Buffalo and Niagara rivers, the Erie Canal, and the Lake Erie shore.

Join Campaign Executive Director Tim Tielman, author of "Buffalo's Waterfront," 2018 Buffalo News Citizen of the Year, and 2019 Visit Buffalo-Niagara Ambassador of Year, on a very special tour of the Buffalo waterfront, from Lackawanna to Tonawanda, and up the Buffalo River. Discover scenic beauty, industrial heritage, forgotten historic sites, iconic Buffalo landmarks, and discuss future plans with someone who has shaped much of the public discussion over the last 30 years. Up close, personal, and unforgettable. Includes a shore lunch!

A Grand Waterfront Expedition

 

Atomic Age poster 2019 8The Atomic Age on the Niagara Frontier

• 1:00pm Saturday September 21

• Meet at Colvin and Amherst streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Is it a bird? A plane? A UFAO (Unidentified Freakish Architectural Object)? You’ll find it on this intriguing tour that explores the nooks and curbless crannies of the post-war suburban frontier, Tonawanda’s Green Acres subdivision. In the mid-1950’s Howard Pearce and his Pearce & Pearce Company built thousands of ranch houses in Green Acres. He warmed up by building the nation’s very first split-level houses in Amherst, Clarence, and Tonawanda, perfecting mass-production techniques and space-age options and built-ins. Pearce would become head of the National Association of Homebuilders, helping to shape the environment of millions of baby-booming nuclear families.

We’ll look at the surrounding commercial architecture and signage, early Pearce & Pearce rental housing, its office building, the First Trinity Lutheran Church (A bird? A plane?), and some custom projects, including a mind-blowing cream-brick-and-stone Ranch-L with shed-roofed garage and carport at —where else?—the intersection of Glenalby and Glenhurst. Led by Tim Tielman, author of How Green Were My Acres, Builders, Designers, and Buyers in an Atomic Age Suburb. 

Atomic Age on Niagara Frontier

 

Building Buffalo poster 2019 9Building Buffalo: Green & Wicks, Architects

• 1:00pm Saturday September 7

• Meet at Main & Huron streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

The firm of Green & Wicks (1882-1917) coincided with Buffalo's Golden Age. W.S. Wicks (1854-1919) and E.B. Green (1855-1950) were Buffalo’s most distinguished architects of the period. The firm had dozens of major commissions, many of them superb examples of their type, whether office building, hotel, apartment building or grandiose mansion. The number and quality of his commissions is staggering: Buffalo Savings Bank, The  Market Arcade, half of “Millionaire’s Row,” the Twentieth Century Club,  the American Radiator factory, the Marine Bank, the Albright Art Gallery, department stores, and more. Fine structures of wood, brick, and stone, they are prominently sited or tucked away on side streets, radiating charm and poise. Join us as we hunt down dozens of the buildings and tell the tales of the people who lived, worked, worshiped, and socialized there.

Building Buffalo: Green & Wicks, Architects

 

This Old Mansion poster 2019 7This Old Mansion

• 1:00pm Saturday September 14

• Meet at Main & Huron streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

The story of Buffalo's—and America's— rich and infamous unfolds on this fascinating tour of upper-crust strips and 'hoods. Delaware Avenue was the pioneer street of Buffalo’s titans from the Civil War to the Great Depression, but other precincts were established as the families grew in numbers and wealth, and sought stature. Learn of their feats and foibles, but most of all, their evolving taste in architecture.

Massive Italianate, Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, and Shingle Style houses were built as displays of conspicuous consumption. They were bound by rigid codes of behavior that were fondly tweaked by Broadway playwright A. J. Gurney, who grew up in the cosseted confines of Buffalo's One Hundred. Some rebelled, most notably was Mabel Dodge Luhan, who, after a trailblazing and swath-cutting life on two continents, wrote a scandal-making memoir that dished the dirt on her youthful Buffalo neighbors. Devilish they may have been, but their taste in architecture was well-bred.

This Old Mansion tour

 

2019 Autobus Charter

Travel anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to learn abot Buffalo than to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done trips 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