December 07, 2005

hulking old grain elevator vs. indian casino


The H-O Oats mill and grain elevator in Buffalo NY is going to meet the wrecking ball tomorrow morning, to make way for a casino and/or parking lot to be built by the Seneca tribe. (I had some things to say about H-O previously). This is a collision of highly contentious issues: the demolition of a huge, well-known structure that some see as an historic icon of Buffalo's past that should be preserved, where others see a crumbling eyesore that should be razed. Couple this with the controversy and historical baggage of sovereign American Indian tribes building gambling casinos on ceded lands, and you have quite an argument on your hands. They're having that debate today on Buffalo Rising (they had some of it last month too). The Buffalo News reports on this as well.

I'm with the romantic preservationists on this one. Buffalo needs to hold onto these amazing, challenging, singular structures, or else its drive to revitalize the city will end in the suffocatingly dull sameness that afflicts so many American places. That would be sad but it's also a predictable outcome I'm afraid.

Update: It's gone, I'm afraid. The sad story in pictures.

Posted by Gene at December 7, 2005 11:16 PM