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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 11-A N.F.T.A. Depot and Repair Shop (1990)

11-A N.F.T.A. Depot and Repair Shop (1990)

Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

The original station of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad stood adjacent to this current site for more than 80 years. In 1917 an attractive brick passenger terminal with an elevated rail approach, designed by New York City architect Kenneth M. Murchison, was erected at the foot of Main Street alongside the Buffalo River and replaced the old Central Wharf which was the hub of harbor activities for over 80 years. The DL&W railroad extended their line westward to the end of the North pier opposite the 1833 lighthouse (see 7A) to accommodate what was to become for a time the country's largest coal trestle and loading dock.

The first railroad built in the area, operating as early as 1834, was the Buffalo & Black Rock Railroad, about three miles long with cars drawn by horses. The first railroad operated by steam was the Buffalo and Niagara Falls line, in service by 1836. The 1850's and 1860's was the era of massive railroad building and Buffalo became the terminus of some 20 railroad lines. It was noted in a city directory of the time that a person could travel more than nine thousand miles over the various railroads centering at Buffalo, and their branches, without repeating their journey over a single mile of track.

Along with lumber and coal, livestock began to pour into Buffalo through the New York Central livestock yards - over 100 acres in size and the second largest facility of its kind in the country. Jacob Dold's meat processing company, the largest in the East, was known throughout the United States. The livestock industry also spawned tanneries such as those of the Rumsey and Schoellkopf families and the manufacture of soap. The Larkin Soap Company moved here from Chicago in 1875. Elbert Hubbard of Roycrofter's fame was once a partner in this firm. Frank Lloyd Wright was chosen to design the Larkin administration building (1904) which fell to the wrecker's ball in 1950. Darwin Martin was an executive of this company and his home was also designed by Wright (see 26-A).

In 1985, the N.F.T.A.'s light rail rapid transit system was inaugurated and although the DL&W passenger terminal was razed, the terminal's brick train sheds were converted into use as the transit system's rail car depot and repair shop.