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Beloved Bison Statue Installed at Buffalo-Depew Station

By September 23, 2014 No Comments
Bison statue at station

The new bison statue at its unveiling in front of the Buffalo-Depew station. Photo: Brad Will.

DEPEW, N.Y.—On September 23, 2014, representatives of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) and Amtrak joined members of the Empire State Passengers Association (ESPA) and the Western New York Railway Historical Society (WNYRHS) to bring back a piece of history to the Buffalo region—in the form of a bison statue.

Placed outside the Buffalo-Depew station, the statue of the majestic animal recalls two similar pieces that once occupied prominent spots inside the main concourse of Buffalo Central Terminal. The beautiful Art Deco station, known for its soaring tower, opened in 1929 and closed to passenger rail traffic half a century later.

Buffalo-Depew Station

The Buffalo-Depew station opened in 1980. Photo: Brad Will.

The original statue, made of papier-mâché and covered in an actual bison hide, was placed at the terminal in the 1930s by the Buffalo Museum of Science to advertise its collections. Soldiers heading to the front during World War II rubbed the statue for good luck, which wore down the fur. As a result, the statue returned to the museum in 1945 and was replaced by a plaster copy. Unfortunately, this second version was accidentally destroyed following the terminal’s closure.

The ESPA, which works with various stakeholders to advocate for rail transportation in New York, and the WNYRHS, whose goal is to preserve railroad heritage and history in the western part of the state, led the fundraising effort to create the new fiberglass statue and have it installed in front of the Buffalo-Depew station. Together, they raised approximately $3,500 dollars over seven months. Amtrak and the NYSDOT contributed to the project by pouring the concrete pad for the statue. Like its cousins, this bison stands ready to welcome a new generation of rail passengers.