Waterfront - Table of Contents

Central Wharf, Erie Canal Harbor
Buffalo, NY
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1925 Kelly Island ... Commercial Slip

Commercial Slip and Central Wharf

Central Wharf

Central Wharf - detail

Flynn Battaglia Architects November 2003 model




November 2004 Erie Canal Harbor Project Master Plan, p. 30

November 2004 Erie Canal Harbor Project Master Plan, p. 8

The historic Central Wharf is located in a key location on the site where land, canal, and lake traffic converged. It is important that the sense of place that existed at this site be reestablished in this Project. As such, historic Central Wharf will be represented through a variety of paving materials and constructed site features. A new wooden boardwalk will recall the historic character and location of the wood wharf. The corner where Central Wharf and Commercial Slip meet is a significant interpretive location. This corner is visible in several historic photographs, apparently dating from the 1870s. A goal of the Master Plan design is to recreate the feel of the canal district as strongly as possible in this area.

An objective at this location is to provide low-level access for pedestrians and shore access for recreational boat users. A second objective at the Central Wharf location is to accommodate visiting tall sailing ships. Several alternatives are being evaluated to meet these objectives. One involves the use of floating docks in front of the existing bulkhead. Under the selected alternative, new anchorage for the existing bulkhead wall would likely be required and the outer face of the bulkhead or retaining wall would receive historic treatment.

As noted previously, Lloyd Street will be extended to meet the wooden wharf at this location. A new structure will be created to evoke the 1870s building that existed on this corner. The structure may be an open pavilion with interpretive elements, though a small, fully enclosed museum is envisioned over the long term. Interpretation will focus on the themes Transshipment and Transportation, Center of Trade and Commerce, and Cultural Crossroads.

On the east side of Lloyd Street, the full-scaled brick facade of the Union Steamboat building will be recreated, providing enclosure to the Lloyd Street/Central Wharf intersection. A two-story balcony structure is proposed for construction along a portion of the wharf, recalling the historic balconies of the buildings that were located there. The balcony structure will include some sort of transparent panels that will provide opportunity for interpretation, visibility to the water, and serve as a windbreak. A low, open, shed roof over the west end of the wharf will link the balcony structure with the end of the Union Steamboat facade and the pavilion/museum noted above. Such a shed structure is visible in a number of historic photographs and will provide shade and a location for interpretive elements and other public gatherings.

Between Central Wharf and Prime Street, the locations of historic buildings will be indicated through paving materials, changes in grade, and other site features. The east face of the Union Steamboat facade will serve as a backdrop for a concert stage. The location of historic Prime Slip will be marked with a water feature, a shallow pool that will be appropriate for model boats during the summer and skating during the winter. Other three-dimensional site features may be constructed as well, such as additional ghosting and interpretive elements.

- November 2004 Erie Canal Harbor Project Master Plan, p. 18

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