On the Level

If you find yourself driving out towards the 400, or on a sight seeing trip through scenic South Buffalo, you might notice off to the side of the highway a large structure across from the First Niagara building. This was Buffalo Malting and, according to a ten year old website I found, it’s been unused since about 1986.

This is one of those sites that is well preserved despite being left open and that’s (I think) largely because of it’s location behind a highway bridge and because of the extremely narrow entrances that are still left open.

Our first stop on this tour of the malt factory was the basement which wasn’t terribly interesting, or, probably even the basement. See, the floor we were walking on was hollow and you could see it went down a ways even if there were no stairs going down further. Stepping lightly, and carefully, around these unstable floors we found, well, not much at all. The interesting parts would come later.

Going back up we discovered a narrow hallway filled with junk that had large horizontal slits cut out of the concrete walls.  We crawled through one of the narrow spaces and on the other side we couldn’t really see anything. Crawling back out we noticed we were next to a bathroom which had, surprise, had all of its fixtures busted. Oh, kids.

This is probably right above where we were crawling.

Now, a lot of this place was hard to photograph with what equipment I had at the time and some of I didn’t bother recording it because back then I never figured I’d be trying to narrate my little adventures so you’ll have to bear with me while I go on about things you can’t see. Also, at some point, I lost a number of photos from one of my trips through so there’s that too.

There is a hole here.

The two main towers of the building were about nine stories high and were all one complicated machine to sift and sort things. In the base of one tower were rows of large, bladed, mixers which had above them a number of large sifters. This room was pitch black and difficult to navigate even with our dorky headlamps and large flashlights. After briefly considering how dangerous it would be to walk around these while they were in use, we headed back to stairs we had spotted by our entrance.

As we trekked upward my friend pointed out a strange looking device he called a man lift. It’s kind of like an elevator but the person using it would stand on two pegs and have to fit through a very tiny hole to go up this thing. It looked like using it might make you re-experience birth trauma every time you didn’t feel like using the stairs.

Safety standards of the 1920s were a bit more lax I guess.

Up a bit higher the stairs went from concrete and attached to the walls to metal and suspended from a very high ceiling. They were sturdy but it was certainly unnerving to be walking around this maze of metal and cables that no one had inspected in a few decades.

At the top of the tower there was some remnants of machinery left, whatever was too heavy or worthless to carry down I guess.  You could see down some large holes all the way back to the sorters we were looking up at earlier so we made a point of being careful around them. It was a long way down.

Up here there were more stairs leading to the roof and the glass tube structures that many a Buffalo urbexer has been left wondering over. We didn’t figure it out either.

If this were a story, this image would be foreshadowing.

On the other side of the roof was an outdoor walkway that led to the other tower’s top and from this walkway you could easily see (and be seen from) the highway. Although we were slightly below the Skyway when at the Connecting Terminal, we were pretty much level with it here.

“Buffalo’s finest at work” or “I didn’t know we were in Kaisertown.”

You may (or may not) notice a watermark on these images. I don’t like doing this, because, it annoys me. I’m still doing it though, because of something I stumbled on recently and without going into it I wasn’t happy with. Also I don’t really think I mentioned my name on here before, so, nice to meet you.

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This entry was published on October 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm. It’s filed under Behind the Concrete Curtain and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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