The Bethlehem Steel North Administration Building, whose controversial demolition was temporarily delayed this week, is a stop on Saturday’s already-planned Buffalo by Bike tour of the waterfront held by Preservation Buffalo Niagara’s Buffalo Tours program.
The tour, which starts at 10am at the Erie Canal Harbor, is a three hour ride highlighting Buffalo’s waterfront heritage. Beginning at the recently rewatered Commercial Slip, the terminus of the 1825 Erie Canal, the bike tour also travels to grain elevators, Times Beach, and the 1833 Lighthouse only recently made accessible to the public by the Coast Guard.
However, this may be the last time the tour is given in its current form. Owners of the Bethlehem Steel building remain dedicated to demolishing the structure. Last year, part of the former GLF grain elevator on Ganson Street fell in the Buffalo River when owners attempted a partial demolition. Both complexes date back over a century.
“Put simply, tourists want to see unique things they can’t find at home,” said Fred Schrock, Education Coordinator. “If an iconic structure disappears, it’s gone forever, and so are the tourists. Even urban explorers will pay to see an abandoned building but no one travels to an empty lot. When it’s not done right, the actions of demolitionists can permanently reduce the value of their community.”
The bike tour has sold out, and Buffalo Tours’ Inside the Grain Elevators tours are fully booked for the rest of 2012. Buffalo Tours has organized summer Hard Hat bus tours of sites such as Bethlehem Steel and grain elevator-themed Whole Grain Tour dates to meet demand. For more information about preservation efforts in Lackawanna or the Buffalo Tours program, visitwww.P-B-N.org.