Canoe and the City - Part II

I spent some time floating along the Buffalo River the other day, heading up river. Two weeks ago I posted Canoe and the City two weeks and included views of the Erie Canal Harbor development and links to other paddles along the Buffalo River.
The introduction [full text .pdf] to Reyner Banham's Concrete Atlantis (1989) is a must read if you are interested in understanding this space along the banks of the river flowing through our City. Here, Banham quotes Eric Mendelsohn writing to his wife back in Berlin after visiting Buffalo in 1924.
Mountainous silos, incredibly space conscious, but creating space. A random confusion amidst the chaos of loading and unloading of corn ships, of railways and bridges, grain monsters with live gestures, hordes of silo cells in concrete, stone and glazed brick. Then suddenly a silo with administrative buildings, closed horizontal fronts against the stupendous verticals of fifty to a hundred cylinders and all this in the sharp evening light. I took photographs like mad. Everything else so far seemed to have been shaped interim to my silo dreams. Everything else was merely a beginning.
A number of David Plowden's photographs include Buffalo based boats and views related to grain transhipment along the Buffalo River.
If you haven't checked out Buffalo History Works Grain, you should. Richly detailed descriptions of the the grain elevators including Cargill and Concrete Central. Best map, from 1931.

At the end of the paddle we made our way back to McCarthy's and became oblivious to the Chicken Wing Festival happening a few blocks away. Next stop and further up river, Concrete Central.
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1 comment:

RaChaCha said...

Hey David - a great an informative post. Very cool to hear that the indispensable "Concrete Atlantis" is available online. But on the "Grain" site (excellent, as you say) I came across this very poignant notation about H.O. Oats:

"The cereal plant closed in 1975 and the brick manufacturing building burned in 1987 yet still stands to this day."

As one of about 50 people who shouted ourselves hoarse protesting the demolition of H.O. Oats, I'm still smarting over that senseless act of destruction.