We are back on the road for Summer 2022!

Expert and Entertaining: The Best Way to Explore Buffalo Architecture!

Open-air Autobus silhouette 2022

"This may be the best city tour we've ever taken."
TripAdvisor reviewer from Pittsburgh

The Campaign for Greater Buffalo's Open-Air Autobus is on the road for its 14th stellar season. The Open-Air Autobus is the biggest part of our LearnAboutBuffalo programming of tours, lectures, and publications. Not only to you get an informative two hours of seeing Buffalo in a fresh way, your tickeys help support our non-profit historic preservation activities.

There is no better way to learn about Buffalo than to travel around and about Buffalo with the experts of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. Climb aboard the Open-Air Autobus—a mobile classroom that's the best way to see, hear, and smell Buffalo (toasted oats, chicken wings, charcoal-grilled hot dogs!).

Reserve a seat with one of our news-making experts for their personal take on Buffalo.

Tim Tielman, the leading voice for preservation in Buffalo for 30 years and recent Buffalo News Citizen of the Year.


Paul McDonnell
, president of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo and president of the American Institute of Architects: New York.


Chris Hawley
, planner, Buffalonia collector, restorer and operator of Eugene Debs Hall, a classic Buffalo shophouse and tavern.

The Campaign is Buffalo’s most dynamic preservation organization. Our trips reflect our character: Passionate, lively, and knowledgeable, led by experts who love exploring the world around them. Our trips are built on 30 years’ worth of architectural and historical research and help raise funds for our wide-ranging preservation work. Join Larkin Development Group in supporting our programming and the preservation it makes possible!

By doing a trip, you are doing good: The Campaign is a charitable organization chartered by the New York State Dept. of Education, and revenues are plowed directly back into local historic preservation. Become a member of the Campaign ($36.50 and up for individuals) and you get a 20% discount on all our tours and events!

The Campaign’s trips are popular, informative, well-done. Book your seat or schedule a charter today! Ph # mortised cut

Reserve your tour by clicking on a one of our scheduled tours on the calendar below. Have a charge card handy. Want to reserve over the phone? Something online not working right? Call us at 716-854-3749. Walk-ups are always welcome, space permitting.

Reserve online by clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar below, or the button below the individual tour descriptions. You can call us for reservations at 716-854-3749 as well. You'll need a charge card handy.

 

We go rain or shine, thanks to our roll-down, see-through roof. We're not going to let a little passing shower spoil your day! Still, always dress for the weather.

Tour poster whirlwind"The tour highlights what you need to see and the guide was very animated and kept you wanting more."
TripAdvisor reviewer from Toronto

The Buffalo Whirlwind

• 10:00am Saturdays and Sundays from June 24 to September 10.

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. Two hours, $30. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

There are few places you can see buildings by America’s Big Three architects— Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and H.H. Richardson— plus a park system by Frederick Law Olmsted. Buffalo is one of them.

On this trip, besides the master works by the Masters, you’ll see scores of other beautiful buildings and houses by prominent national and international architects and the streets and neighborhoods where Buffalonians carry on their everyday lives.

We start at the Larkin Square, in the heart of the Larkin Historic District (which The Campaign created!). We proceed to the Old First Ward and its grain elevators,  the Canal District (we saved it!), downtown buildings at the dawn of the Skyscraper Age,  then out to the broad Victorian-Era residential districts and the foundation of American Architecture, H.H. Richardson's Buffalo State Hospital, conceived in 1870. 

In between, you’ll see world-altering industrial architecture, the preening mansions of Delaware Avenue, and the prototype for the skyscraper, Sullivan’s Guaranty Building. We’ll put it all in context for you, as we point out dozens of buildings as markers of Buffalo’s progress through the years.

You’ll see:

• Kleinhans Music Hall • First Presbyterian Church • Ellicott Square by Daniel Burnham & Co. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral by Richard Upjohn • The Canal District • Niagara & Lafayette squares • Millionaires’ Row • Allentown Historic District • Delaware Historic District • Larkin Historic District • City Hall and Old County Hall • Theater Historic District • Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln parkways.

The Whirlwind is an compelling two-hours with Tim Tielman, Paul McDonnell, or Chris Hawley. Entertaining experts all!

 

Grand Tour Tielman poster 2022The Grand Tour

• Saturday, 10:00am September 9

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

 

Tim silhouette beer
Tim Tielman

Some people just want more: More buildings, more neighborhoods, more stories, more impressions, and more understanding of The City of Buffalo. To meet that demand, Tim Tielman will lead a special 3-hour Grand Tour that covers all the sites of our Whirlwind trip, but adds all the places we wish we could’ve shown you before with our mobile classroom the Open-Air Autobus.

 

Spend three hours with an expert and see:

• Buffalo's epic grain elevators—the harbingers of Modernist architecture
• Lake Erie and Buffalo’s harbor defenses
• Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House compound
• Fredrrick Law Olmsted's Delaware Park
• The Linwood Historic District

The Grand Tour is also available as a charter, with lunch and a rest stop—it makes a great afternoon outing! Contact us for special pricing at 716-854-3749, or FrontDesk@ c4gb.org.

Tour poster Belt Line 2023 sans info
Exploring the Past & Future Belt Line

• Sunday, 10:00am September 10

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Join Chris Hawley, The Man Who Knows Too Much Cool Stuff, as he uncovers one of Buffalo’s Hide-in-Plain-Sight secrets: The New York Central Belt Line railroad of the 1880’s, the city’s most consequential transportation project after the Erie Canal. Chris lives along the Belt Line and has just restored and occupied both parts of a classic Buffalo shophouse!

The Belt Line attracted huge industrial plants like Pierce-Arrow, Ford Motor, Larkin Soap, and, of course, the titanic NY Central Terminal itself.

See how John Larkin and Darwin Martin built a gargantuan factory complex that, building-by-building, traces the de- velopment of modern architecture. Today it is Larkinville, a new neighborhood of offices, apartments and gathering places.

See the changes to Henry Hyde’s innovative Mentholatum factory, F.N Burt’s Niagara Street and Seneca Street folding box plants, and other former factories that have been converted to lofts, restaurants, and commercial space trading on industrial appeal. Learn their stories and those of the diverse neighborhoods it traverses, Parkside, Polonia, Black Rock, and the “Yammerthal,” the stone quarries called the “Vale of Tears.” Reserve now!

An Abundance of Delight: Inside four Arts & Crafts Masterpieces Oakley & Schallmo 2023 $45 tour poster

• Saturday, 10:00am September 16

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca and Emslie streets. $45. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

Join Tim Tielman and restoration artist Henry Swiatek for a special 4-hour tour of the extravagant interiors and exteriors of four of Buffalo's most proclaimed Arts & Crafts buildings—churches designed by the firm of Chester Oakley and Albert Schallmo. Far-flung St. John's in Riverside, St. Casimir in Kaisertown, St. Luke's on Sycamore Street, and Blessed Trinity in Leroy are essays in craftsmanship and the humanistic aesthetic at the heart of the Arts & Crafts movement.  Plus, a discover the beautiful Tudor Revival parish house "hidden" to all but hard-core architectural aficionados!

Be part of a rare occasion and see these unique masterpieces and revel in their attention to detail, from the painted ceilings terra-cotta-tiled passages and the hundreds of pieces of multi-colored iconographic symbols that takes a book to decipher!  Reserve now!

Tour poster Green & Wicks 9:17:23 sans info
Buffalo's Best: Green & Wicks, Architects

• 10:00am Sunday September 17

• Meet at Larkin Square, Seneca & Emslie streets. $40. Discounts for groups of 10 or more.

• Reservations required: Click on calendar at top, button below, or call 716-854-3749

 

McDonnell silhouette
Paul McDonnell

The firm of Green & Wicks (1882-1917) coincided with Buffalo's Golden Age. W.S. Wicks (1854-1919) and E.B. Green (1855-1950) were Buffalo’s most distinguished architects of the period. The firm had dozens of major commissions, many of them superb examples of their type, whether office building, hotel, apartment building or grandiose mansion. The number and quality of its commissions is staggering: Buffalo Savings Bank, The  Market Arcade, half of “Millionaire’s Row,” the Twentieth Century Club,  the American Radiator factory, the Marine Bank, the Albright Art Gallery, department stores, and more.

Join Campaign for Greater Buffalo president Paul McDonnell, who is also the incoming president of the American Institute of Architects: New York, to explore fine structures of wood, brick, and stone,  prominently sited or tucked away on side streets, radiating charm and poise. Join Paul as he hunts down dozens of the buildings and tell the tales of the people who lived, worked, worshiped, and socialized there.

Charter poster 2022 9

Travel anywhere around Buffalo anytime you want by chartering the Open-Air Autobus. There is no better way to learn abot Buffalo than to see, hear, smell the city. We’ve done school trips from grade 2 to graduate students, weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, and corporate affairs. You get a ride like no other and expert commentary from the passionate pros of The Campaign for Greater Buffalo History, Architecture & Culture. We know our stuff! Ph # mortised cut
• 46-person capacity
• See-thru, roll-down rain fly
• $750 for up to two hours with expert commentary; longer tours available
• About $15 per person at capacity
• $440 for up to three hours for bus & driver only
• Take a walking tour with same top-notch experts: $200 for 2 hrs. for up to 20 people; $10 ea. add’l.

 Call now: 716-854-3749

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