The Buffalo Central Terminal (BCT) is an inspiring place. Whether seen from afar or experiencing it up close, the BCT draws people in. The building also draws in people to help.
Christopher Gurnett was drawn to the building after seeing it about fourteen years ago. This what he had to say about experiencing the BCT for the first time, “I first discovered the Central Terminal in 2005 I was 13 years old. It was the Easter season and I was with my family at the Broadway Market. I saw the building in the distance and I asked my Father, Michael Gurnett, if he knew that building. He told me it was the old Central Terminal an old train station. He went to say that he put the security alarms in there. A few weeks later I walked in for the first time during an art show and I was amazed by this building. I never seen anything like it. The next year, I became I volunteer. In 2009 did my Eagle Scout project which was cleaning up the 4th floor. Since 2006 I have never left and I plan on continuing to help the cause.”
A few days ago, Gurnett took to helping the BCT in a new way. He discovered a post on a local preservation Facebook group called Preservation-Ready Sites. The post contained screenshots from Rago Auctions in New Jersey of light fixtures from the BCT which are auctioned soon.
Click on images to see in full view—>
The BCT was stripped of most of its Art Deco light fixtures and other items in the 1980s and 1990s by previous owners and sold off to places all around the world. When Gurnett saw the post, this is what he thought, “I was honestly in a complete shock to see 5 lights from the Terminal at one auction house.” This is when he sprung into action and created a GoFundMe page to raise money to bring these fixtures back to the BCT. On trying to bring back the fixtures, he said, “I think bringing back original artifacts is very important to the Terminal. The light fixtures that were in the building were one of a kind. You won’t see light fixtures like them in other buildings. The light fixtures that lined concourse made the concourse stand out. In addition, these artifacts tell a story. They were around during the Great Depression. They were in place in soldiers leaving for war. It also made the Central Terminal unique.”
Gurnett has has already raised over $1,700 in just over a day on GoFundMe. He says, “I’m absolutely in shock by the response of the go fund me page. I would have never imagined that it would gather so much attention. But the greatest feeling is reading the stories left by the donators. Many have left responses of remembering going to the building to see their Dad who worked for the NYC railroad or leaving for war. Those are the stories that make this fundraiser worth while.” He’s been in contact with Rago Auctions, “I did contact the Auction House as soon as I created the go fund me page. I told the owner, David Rago, what my intentions and to see what we could work out. I made sure to tell him that all the lights in his auction house were going back to its original home at the Buffalo Central Terminal. So far everything is going smoothly.’
The fundraising effort will continue until January 18th. You can donate by clicking here.
Christopher Gurnett also asks of the public, “Please continue to spread the word and let’s bring these light fixtures home.”
Here’s a photo of Christopher Gurnett and his girlfriend Brittany Marino on the Mezzanine Level at the Central Terminal.
Here is a photo by Marcus Gillebaard from Facebook which highlights some of the fixtures in the main concourse of the BCT from sometime in the 1970s.