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'Gigantic loss': Preservationists end their fight to save historic Great Northern Elevator

Preservationists have stopped their appeal process to halt the demolition of the Great Northern Elevator. Demolition of 126-year-old grain elevator will continue.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The fight to save the historic Great Northern Elevator has ended. 

Tim Tielman from the Campaign for Greater Buffalo told 2 On Your Side that there simply wasn't enough time to put together another appeal before the rest of the Great Northern was torn down. 

"We looked at the resources on hand, and the fact that a judge on the appeals court that through three separate refusals to give us a restraining order has demonstrated what his thoughts on the building are," Tielman said. "So the probability of being able to save part of the building is pretty slim."

ADM, owner of the elevator, began demolition in September after a judge lifted a restraining order preventing the company from taking it down. 

Tielman says the demise of the Great Northern Elevator is another example of a distressing trend in local preservation as of late. 

"What we're seeing whether whether it's the Great Northern, whether it's buildings in the Cobblestone historic district, whether it's now Voelker's Lanes, there really has been on the city side of failure to support the preservation board in its work," Tielman said. 

Gwen Howard, chair of the Buffalo preservation board, expressed her disappointment about the outcome of the Great Northern situation. 

"We are disappointed that ADM did not respect the value of the Great Northern to the community," Howard said. "It is the very impetus for who we are and the growth of Buffalo to the powerhouse it was at the turn of the century.

"Its loss ranks up there with the demolition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Administration Building and will forever be remembered in a dark light. Buffalo has afforded ADM much opportunity for corporate success. It is a shame that they couldn’t return the favor."

Tielman expressed concerns that there were artifacts still in the building when demolition began. 

2 On Your Side reached out to ADM to ask if anything had been preserved before demolition started. 

A spokesperson for ADM said:

"We have developed a list of artifacts that can potentially be preserved safely and are in the process of looking for the right partners for the individual assets. We are reaching out directly to potential partners and have a formal application process in place to evaluate interested local parties."

ADM also said they donated a locomotive to the Railraod Museum of the Niagara Frontier. 

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