Friends of the Buffalo Maritime Center:
After more than twenty years of programming as part of Buffalo State College, the Buffalo State College Maritime Center evolved into an independent 501(c)(3) organization called the Buffalo Maritime Center (BMC), chartered April 19, 2010. The mission of the Maritime Center is to
collect, preserve and interpret the maritime heritage and material culture of western New York and the Erie basin. Our programs seek to celebrate the rich maritime heritage of the Niagara Frontier and to encourage and promote public awareness of, and access to, this area's historic waterfront and waterways through boat building and maritime skills education. We offer hands on boatbuilding and other skills preservation classes to the general public, regional schools, and community groups. We do restorations of classic boats and build replicas of historic boats important to the Niagara frontier. We also preserve an important collection of over 80 regional and historic watercraft.
Buffalo Maritime Center has occupied five temporary facilities over the past twenty years. In November a non-renewable lease of dead storage space at 901 Fuhrmann Blvd is up and another move of boats, materials and equipment stored there is upon us. We've also come to the realization that a rented shop at 1250 Niagara St. limits our ability to meet expanding demands on the space as a classroom/boatshop facility where income generating projects can be completed. We need those kinds of projects to reach the goal of becoming self sustaining. To fulfill our financial, educational and preservation objectives we have to find a new home with more space. For obvious reasons, with moves six and seven on the horizon, we've made the decision that the time is now to move to a permanent home.
The good news is that, thanks to the generosity of M&T Bank and other donors, the Buffalo Maritime Center has ended its 20-year search for a permanent home with the recent acquisition of a historic former industrial building at 90 Arthur Street in the Black Rock section of Buffalo. The two-story building was built in 1913 by American Bronze Co. and was enlarged in 1922 and 1930 by the Buffalo Bronze Die Cast Company. The building was operated as a brass foundry until about 1960 after which it was used by Sono-Therm Insulation and then occupied until recently by the American Diamond Tool Company.
The Maritime Center plans to move its workshop and classroom facilities from its current temporary quarters at 1250 Niagara Street to the new building before the end of the year. Additionally, the watercraft collection, currently housed in the rental space at 901 Fuhrmann Blvd. and other locations, will be moved to the new building.
The Maritime Center faces a considerable challenge in getting the building up and running quickly. Volunteers have been working on demolition and clean up and much has been accomplished already. Plans to reconnect electric, gas and water are underway. A building fund has been established and, thanks to donations from members and friends of the Center, enough funds are on hand to complete the immediately needed repairs. Grants to fund additional improvements and repairs to the roof, replacement of doors and windows, etc., are being sought from local foundations.
This building will provide the Buffalo Maritime Center with the facilities to fulfill its important missions and the tools to become a truly self-sustaining community asset. As the Maritime Center's role in the waterfront and inner harbor increases, 90 Arthur Street will remain our permanent base for year round educational programs, some historic restorations, and boat building and repair. We couldn't ask for a better opportunity to secure a permanent base of operations for a solid operation with a twenty-four year track record. Your volunteer and financial support will enable us to reach this manageable objective.
Please contact us at Roger.Allen@buffalomaritimecenter.org or call director Roger Allen at 716-544-5658. Thanks!
Buffalo Maritime Center
1250 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14213