Built by the New York Central Railroad from 1927 - 1929, the Buffalo Central Terminal was constructed to serve the booming Buffalo rail industry. Designed by architects Alfred T. Fellheimer and Steward Wagner, the art deco station was designed to accommodate 200 trains per day, or 3,200 passengers per hour. Along with the main concourse, the station also consists of a 17-story office tower, a four story baggage building, a two story mail building, and train concourse.
Due to a decline in train use, the building was put on the market in 1959 for $1 million, a fourth of its original cost. A shaky period of railroad mergers and building owners continues until Amtrak abandoned the terminal in 1979. The station suffered years of neglect as the property changed hands; the last auctioned price was for $100,000 in 1986. The train concourse (where the passengers boarded) remained under Amtrak authority, and was leased to a private contractor for heavy equipment storage. The bridge that connected the train concourse to the rest of the facility was demolished in 1981 to allow freight train passage.
In 1997 the property was transferred to the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation for preservation. After the removal of 250 tons of debris, asbestos abatement, and other repairs, the terminal opened for tours in 2003.