Virtual Tour: Buffalo’s “Concrete Atlantis”

These photos were taken by Nate Schneekloth, a Buffalo resident and amateur photographer.

In his own words: Photographs taken while touring the Marine A, Perot and American/Peavy grain elevators along the Buffalo River in Buffalo, New York. My mother is a great fan & champion for preserving & restoring these architectural giants. I was lucky enough to be able to tag along as she brought a few colleagues through the buildings.

I recently read an article about these elevators, written be Ed Glaeser–Harvard economist and Buffalo nemesis.

In the article, Glaeser holds up the elevators a symbol of Buffalo’s once mighty economy, which was based, not in small part, on shipping commodities–like grain–through the Great Lakes. Buffalo became a grain processing hub, that is until railroads, an eventually highways, replaced waterways as the logistical norm. After that, Glaeser argues, (unconvincingly, in my opinion) that Buffalo lost its reason for being.

I bring that up, not to poo poo Buffalo, but to demonstrate the importance of this landmark to the city. They still stand tall as a recognizable symbol of the city’s past. I’m glad to hear people are working to preserve them.

On the other hand, the school of architecture at the University of Buffalo, has called [PDF] the massive structures “concrete Atlantis.”

Here is a close up of an old funnel.

This is a little random, but my father spent some time working as a night watchmen in a grain elevator when he was young. Did you know that they have a tenancy to spontaneously combust? Something about the combination of grain, dust and air. Pretty weird huh? Grain elevators were actually invented in Buffalo in the 1840s, according to Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, as you can see, these elevators haven’t been in use in some time.

Thanks to Nate for providing this virtual tour. We’re building quite a collection of tours of abandoned industrial landmarks from around the region. I am pretty proud of the high quality work.

-A.S.

3 Comments

Filed under architecture, Headline, The Big Urban Photography Project

3 responses to “Virtual Tour: Buffalo’s “Concrete Atlantis”

  1. Special K

    Great shots! Thanks for sharing them.

  2. great pictures. when i was young, i would go to work with my cousin jerry he was a watchman at the elevators. brought back many memories.

  3. Great architectural shots, Thanks for sharing.

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