No fooling: Explore Buffalo’s April tours feature the best of Buffalo

Just like the weather, Explore Buffalo’s tour season is heating up! Walking tours are being added to the schedule on a frequent basis, so check out explorebuffalo.org for more information!

BEST OF BUFFALO
April 6, 10 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, at the corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour metered parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

The buildings included on this overview tour help to tell the story of Buffalo’s rapid rise to prominence, from the opening of the Erie Canal to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Buildings seen on this tour were designed by both nationally and locally significant architects, including Louis Sullivan, Richard Upjohn, Louise Bethune and EB Green.

Perfect for both visitors and residents alike, this tour is an excellent introduction to Buffalo’s architectural heritage. This is an exterior-only tour; for building interiors, please see our in-depth downtown tours – American Masters, Turn of the Century Treasures and Downtown Deco.

AMERICAN MASTERS
April 7, 14, 21, 28 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, at the corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General 15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

At the turn of the 20th century, Buffalo had grown to become the eighth largest city in America. The wealth generated by commerce and industry enabled the city’s businesses, organizations and citizens to hire some of the nation’s most prominent architects and use the finest materials available.

On this downtown walking tour, see signature works by some of America’s greatest architects, including the Guaranty Building by Louis Sullivan & Dankmar Adler, the Ellicott Square Building by Daniel Burnham & Co., and St. Paul’s Cathedral by Richard Upjohn. Learn about the prominence of Buffalo on a national scale at the turn of the 20th century while visiting buildings such as the Old Post Office, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and Old County Hall.

TURN OF THE CENTURY TREASURES
April 7, 14, 21, 28 • 11 a.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, at the corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

This tour showcases Buffalo’s commercial architecture at the turn of the 20th century, when the city was the eighth largest in America and hosted the Pan-American Exposition. Many were designed by prominent local architectural firms, including Green & Wicks and Esenwein & Johnson, and exemplify the Beaux Arts architectural style popular at that time.

Popular around the turn of the 20th century, Beaux Arts, which translates as “Beautiful Arts” and began in Paris, is characterized by elaborate detail and ornamentation, with many classical influences. Many of the buildings on this tour have been meticulously restored in recent years to meet current needs, including the Electric Tower and Curtiss Hotel.

CITY OF LIGHT BUS TOUR
April 7, 21 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Buffalo Seminary at 205 Bidwell Parkway. Ample street parking for this tour is available along both sides of Bidwell Parkway.
Cost: General admission $40, Explorer Pass $35

At the end of the 19th century, Buffalo was a major American city in the forefront of technological progress. It was a busy inland port and a railroad hub with heavy industry and state-of-the-art electricity – all of which brought great wealth to the city. These economic and technological developments culminated in 1901 when Buffalo hosted a spectacular world’s fair: the Pan-American Exposition.

Experience Buffalo through the eyes of the narrator of Lauren Belfer’s historical novel, City of Light, which is set in Buffalo at the dawn of the 20th century.

FACT OR FICTION TOUR – ALLENTOWN EDITION
April 7 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Colter Bay at 561 Delaware Ave., at the corner of Allen Street.
Cost: General admission $30; Explorer Pass $25. Included with admission is one beer and light appetizers at Colter Bay while your scorecards are reviewed at the end of the tour (full menu and cash bar are also available).

Our popular April Fool’s tour is headed to Allentown for 2018! How well do you think you know Buffalo’s history? Join us for this April Fool’s tradition for the only time you will hear Explore Buffalo docents give a tour that is only half true!

As we walk through Allentown on this tour, we will keep you guessing with some stories that are true but unbelievable, mixed with some tall tales of our own creation. Keep track on your scorecard along the way, and if your ability to sniff out lies is the best of the bunch, you’ll win a prize!

LINCOLN PARKWAY
April 8, 14, 21, 29 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Statue of Abraham Lincoln in front of the Rose Garden in Delaware Park. Abundant free street parking on Lincoln Parkway is available.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to be the principal approach to the jewel of his Buffalo park system, Delaware Park, Lincoln Parkway is one of the most beautiful streets in Buffalo. The homes along Lincoln Parkway, constructed in the early part of the 20th century by some of Buffalo’s wealthiest families, represent a wide variety of architectural styles. This tour will be a “walk in the park” as we explore the neighborhood and the stories of the families who have lived there!

INSIDE ST. MARY’S SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
April 12 • 6 p.m.
Meet: This tour meets at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf at 2253 Main St., Buffalo. Enter the driveway from Main Street to use the parking lot which is behind the buildings; the main entrance faces the parking lot and is up a flight of stairs to the right of the bridge that the driveway goes underneath.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass $10

St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, established in Buffalo in 1853 as the first academic school for the deaf in the country, was relocated from Edward Street to its current location on Main Street in 1898. This two-hour walking tour highlights the beautiful architecture of this historic building and offers fascinating information about the history and culture of deaf people in the Buffalo area. The tour also offers a glimpse into the current world of educating deaf and hard of hearing students in the 21st century.

Highlights of the tour include original woodwork from 1898, stained glass windows in the former chapel, the school’s cherished museum which houses a wealth of artifacts and photographs from throughout the decades at St. Mary’s, and a brief meet-and-greet with a few of the school’s residential students, which comprise approximately 30 percent of the current school population. Join us for a one-of-a-kind tour in one of Buffalo’s iconic buildings!

The tour is indoors (in good weather, a small amount of the tour may be outside) and is approximately two miles of indoor walking within the building. Stairs are typically used, but elevators are available if needed. Tour admission fees are shared with the school to support their museum and archives.

LOOKING UP: DOWNTOWN CEILINGS & SKYLIGHTS
April 13, 27 • 1 p.m.
Meet: Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington St., Buffalo, at the corner of Washington and Mohawk streets. Two-hour parking is available on surrounding streets, and the Mohawk Parking Ramp is on the opposite corner. The Lafayette Square Station of the Metro Rail is around the corner on Main Street.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Come ready to look up on this downtown walking tour! This tour will reveal the ornate ceilings and skylights found in many buildings throughout downtown Buffalo. While many people walk underneath them on a daily basis, the ceilings of many of Buffalo’s buildings are often their least-noticed feature. Join us on this tour to discover these beautiful works of art, many of which are hiding in plain sight!

EXPLORERS STORY HOUR
April 14 • 10 a.m.
Meet: Explore Buffalo Learning Center inside First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo at One Symphony Circle, Buffalo. Parking is available in the church parking lot accessible from Pennsylvania Street.
Cost: Adults $5, Children Free, Explorer Pass Free

Bring your little ones and join us for a fun-packed Explorers Story Hour! We’ll read a book about architecture, engineering or local history, followed by a STEAM-based craft activity (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Youngsters are encouraged (but not required) to bring their favorite explorer pal along with them, whether it’s an American Girl doll, a stuffed animal, or an action figure. This program is intended for children ages 4 to 8. Parents are required to stay with their children for this program.

EXPLORE BUFFALO 2018 SEASON KICKOFF PARTY
April 19 • 6 p.m.
Meet: First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo, One Symphony Circle, Buffalo.
Cost: Presale General Admission $25, Presale Explorer Pass Admission $20, All Tickets at the Door $30

We’re kicking off our 2018 tour season with a party! Join us at our home base at First Presbyterian Church on Symphony Circle on Thursday, April 19, to see what Explore Buffalo has planned for 2018. See what new tours and events are coming this summer, plus there will be chances to win tickets!

At the Season Kickoff Party you’ll have the opportunity to tour historic First Presbyterian Church, designed by the well-known local firm of Green & Wicks and featuring exceptional Tiffany stained glass. You can also check out Explore Buffalo’s learning center and office space. The Serendipity Thrift Shoppe inside First Presbyterian will also be open during the evening for after-hours shopping. Food and drinks provided by Current Catering. Ticket includes appetizers, open bar (beer and wine) and event activities.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S FONTANA BOATHOUSE
April 19, 26 • 1 p.m.; April 28 • 11 a.m.
Meet: 1 Rotary Row, Buffalo. Take Porter Avenue west, and immediately after crossing the I-190 expressway, turn right at the Fontana Boathouse sign. Follow the driveway back to the Boathouse, where there is ample on-site parking.
Cost: General $10, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join us for a tour of the only rowing boathouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright! Originally designed by Wright in 1905 for the University of Wisconsin, the Boathouse was never built until its construction in 2007 in Buffalo along the shore of the Black Rock Channel. This was one of Wright’s favorite designs, as evidenced by his inclusion of the Boathouse in his now-famous Wasmuth Portfolio.

Today the boathouse is being used for its original purpose as an active rowing facility, providing a unique opportunity to see one of Wright’s designs being used as originally intended. On the tour, you’ll learn about why it was never constructed in Wisconsin, and how it came to be built in Buffalo.

The tour includes both the exterior and interior of the Boathouse, providing an in-depth look at a masterpiece of Prairie-style design. While on the tour, enjoy the spectacular views of Lake Erie, the Niagara River and the Canadian shore from the Boathouse. Be sure to bring your camera!

APRIL SPOTLIGHT TOUR – NORTH PARK THEATRE
April 25 • 6:15 p.m.
Meet: North Park Theatre. 1428 Hertel Ave., Buffalo
Cost: General $25, Explorer Pass $20

Legendary theater owner Michael Shea built an empire of neighborhood movie theaters throughout Western New York in the early 1900s. In 1920, Shea opened his North Park Theater on Hertel Avenue, which the Buffalo Evening Times declared “Buffalo’s Finest Neighborhood Theater.” With a neoclassical foyer and auditorium designed by Buffalo architect Henry Spann and murals by Pan-American Exposition painter Raphael Beck, the North Park Theater accomplished Shea’s vision of a theater setting that would lift the common man out of his daily routine as he watched his dreams come to life on screen.

Over the course of the 20th century, plaster began to crumble and the theater underwent several modernization efforts that unfortunately hid many of the theater’s beautiful details, including the stained-glass window above the marquee. In 2013, local attorney and businessman Tom Eoannou purchased the theater with the goal of bringing this neighborhood jewel back to life. The theater reopened in 2014 with long-hidden details such as the stained-glass window revealed for the first time in many years. On this Spotlight tour, you will see up close the stunning results of this restoration that have made the North Park Theater once again a destination for movies that lifts the spirits of all who enter its doors.

Space on this tour is limited, and reservations are required. Please arrive approximately 10 minutes early to check in so the tour can begin promptly at 6:15 p.m. This tour will be approximately 90 minutes in length. Interior photography is allowed.

INSIDE TRI-MAIN
April 27 • 2 p.m.
Meet: Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., Buffalo. Please note the main entrance to the building lobby is on Halbert Street, adjacent to the building’s parking lots.
Cost: General $15, Student $5, Explorer Pass Free

Join us for a tour inside one of Buffalo’s most historic industrial buildings! The Tri-Main Center’s history encompasses four different eras, beginning with Ford in 1915, and continuing through Bell Aircraft and Trico to the present day as a mixed-use facility housing over 100 different companies over six floors and 575,000 square feet. This tour will highlight the past, present and future of this massive building. As we wind our way through the Tri-Main Center, you’ll learn about the building’s history and see some of the current tenants. The tour will end at the Buffalo Arts Studio, which you are welcome to explore on your own at the end of the tour as part of their free Fourth Friday event.

Reservations for walking tours are encouraged but not required. All credit card payments must be made in advance. Advance reservations with a credit card can be made online until the tour starting time. Cash or checks are accepted at the start of the tour. If you make an advance reservation, please print your confirmation email, or be prepared to show it on your phone. Most tours are between 90 minutes and two hours in length. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather!

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