3/30/2010

The Schoellkopf Power House - A New Lease

The Schoellkopf Power House, erected in 1917 by the John P. Cowper Company and put into operation in 1918, is now scheduled for conversion and will be used as a rail museum.

Schoellkopf Power House - Buffalo, NY

A recent view of the Schoellkopf Power House from the end of Prenatt Street looking east across the tracks.

Schoellkopf Power House - Buffalo, NY

The industrial colossus located along the Buffalo River and home to Hanna Furnace, Republic Steel, the grain trade, National Aniline/Buffalo Color and countless other supporting service and manufacturing firms is now erie, quiet. The scape - looking in all directions - from the DL&W trestle and tracks (in the middle of the photograph) near the micro park at the end of Smith Street - is moving, especially in the context of what remains. Here's an aerial view, c. 1950.



The Schoellkopf Power House is located in the upper left hand corner of the photograph. Two map images - here and here - depict a dense industrial landscape off Lee Street. 

Power houses around the world have been converted to other uses. The Tate Modern in London and The Power Plant in Toronto come to mind. The reuse of the Schoellkopf Power House comes on the successful conversion of other former industrial spaces in Buffalo - The Packard, designed by Albert Kahn and Artspace- along Main Street.

Robert Baptista has compiled an extensive history of this country's aniline dye industry. Here's the Buffalo section, tracing the origins from Jacob Schoellkopf in 1879 to Buffalo Color's plant closing in 2002. Buffalo News reporter Mark Sommer has the announcement and additional details in today's front page story about the new rail museum - here.
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3/04/2010

Bury this Big Mistake - Fixing the Kensington Part II

This week's Artvoice cover story - Bury this Big Mistake - is required reading for City residents, ex-pats and policy makers.

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From Geoff Kelly's cover story:
The $45 million Kensington Expressway tore up Frederick Law Olmsted’s tree-lined Humboldt Parkway, claimed hundreds of homes in previously stable neighborhoods, ripped a trench in the ground that separated the city from itself, and diverted automobile traffic from the East Side’s once-thriving business strips to a limited-access expressway that shuttled commuters from downtown Buffalo to the northern suburbs in about 10 minutes on a clear day.
Making the city a backyard to its suburbs. Depressing property values. Starving small businesses on Jefferson and Fillmore of customers and abetting the evisceration of those business districts. Subjecting two generations of residents surrounding the expressway to air and noise pollution. Job well done. read the rest...
Last week's post - Fixing the Kensington - Part I - contains background material and the New Millennium Group's position paper on the current status of the feasibility study. The City's Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board has issued the following statement (.pdf) regarding the same Kensington study.

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Please note - In the interest of full disclosure, Masten District Council Member Demone Smith has nominated me and I have accepted a position to serve on the City's Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Board.
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3/02/2010

Demolished Memories

Jeff Simon refers to Buffalo's urban prairie for the first time in today's Buffalo News.
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From Jeff Simon:
“The Urban Prairie.” It’s a phrase I’d never heard before. A friend told me that it came from an urbanist she knows as we drove through Buffalo’s East Side on the way back from dinner. I was looking for vestiges of well-remembered landmarks…or at least their sites. So many were gone, replaced by huge, empty, snow-covered plains between buildings that really DID look like some sort of urban prairies. read the rest...
One of the most amazing reads about what has vanished on the City's East Side was written by New York Times writer Verlyn Klinkenborg - The Last Fine Time (1990). Here's that post from 2007 along with a map from back in the day and a current pic of what remains on Buffalo's ever increasingly larger urban prairie. The book's setting, Sycamore Street.
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building indexfixBuffalo flickrcreative classshrinking citiesamericansuburbX
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