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Buffalo NY- Concrete Central Grain Silos - a climb to the top

23770 Views 25 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  TheoryDaGoat
few pics from my weekend, and a long read if u want the story

on a whim, me and 4 friends decided to do some urban exploring, the target was
a local grain tower called "concrete central", the objective was to explore, and to possibly reach the top

of the 5 of us, 2 of us decided to make the climb to the top, the path up was the "joe cart"
seen below. 100+ feet worth of old rusty steel.

Concrete Central closed its doors in the 60's, and in 1976 2 girls fell to their death
here while "playing" inside. The response by the city was to cut the steps
off of the
stairs to keep people from accessing the tops of the grain towers

almost all the stairs were removed from the stairwell inside the building, and the
first 30 feet of stairs was removed in each of the 3 Joe carts

our path up was one of the joe carts. we climbed the exterior of the cart till we
reached a level that still had the tread risers and railings from the staircase, we then
switched to climbing up by using the railings and risers as our path,

we shied away from using the stair treads themselves, as the clips on the risers
were very well rusted , in some cases the tread risers were perforated with rust
around the steps, putting weigh on those steps would have surely resulted in a
40+ foot fall down the center of these industrial dinosaurs

When we reached the low roof, we shimmied across some i beams till we were
able to jump the gap and land on the roof

after a quick exploration of the 1st floor of the roof top shanty, we proceeded
up the stairs in this section of the building to the very top floor, where i snapped
the pics of the surrounding area. quite a view, even if its just buffalo NY

we returned to the first floor of the shanty and poked around some more. we
soon realized
that the concrete "floor" wasn't really a floor at all, just a meager
of concrete over some plywood layed across the tops of the silos. the only reinforcements
were NOT a lattice of rebar, but just some steel "T's spaced
2 feet
apart. the "floor" was literally shifting beneath our feet.

While carefully walking across the floor, i watched as one of the sections shifted
down about a 1/4 inch as it let out a few small snaps and pops.

great, concrete so weak a mere 170 pounds is all it takes to move a 1000 pound
section of concrete

we decided to use the remains of the inside staircase to make our descent. as it
was slightly better shielded from the weather all these years. The decision was rather
tough, as the first 4 levels down were clearly visible, and there were only 2 or 3 steps
left attached anymore, everything else having been torched out long ago.

we slowly started to work our way down, holding the railings and walking down the
tread risers on the sides. $ levels down we reach a problem ... theres only ONE floppy
railing, one tread riser, and nothing to brace off of on the other side. :eek:

i said a quick prayer to the car gods, grabbed the railing, put both feet on the one
riser, and let my feet slide down the riser. a hot step around the railing where its
attached the riser 1/2 way down and keep on sliding. the one though running through my
mind is how and WHERE im going to bail to if this railing gives ... turns out there weren't
many options, as i realize that if i land hard on the next landing the concrete will most
likely fail. and so will the railing just past it ... ugh

some skill, some luck, all adrenalin, and some cool pictures to boot:)

view from the parking area

view from the path

the joe carts, used for moving the grain to and from ships

view from the low roof, 100+ feet up, reached by climbing up stairs w/ rusted treads

far end roof, opposite from downtown buffalo

view down the backside of the building from near the top of the joe cart

more complete view looking at the building from the parking area

top of the joe cart, looking at downtown

and heres the top of the silos, this is the floor below the top "shanty section" and runs the full length of the building

as you can see, the floor isnt doing to well, and its realy hard to judge if your standing
on top of one of the small steel beams in the floor, if your on top of one of the silo
walls, or if your standing over thin air

so we walked on the conveyor belts, hoping if the concrete gave the conveyor
belt would save us ... but in all honesty it was pretty dry rotted ... we were just hoping
any bad floor had strong conveyor belt over it, lol

the top of the "shanty" looking down all 4 floors of it, along with some of the
holes in
the floor down there.

if yuo look to the upper right youll see "CJM" spraypainted on the beam,
behind that
over the machinery back there is where the roof access holes
are, right
over that slopped section of the machinery ... failure while climbing
onto the
top roff would resulting in falling the entire length of this pic (50 feet is the best i can figure)

the other 3 chilling at the botom of the joe cart, sorry for the blur

roof on the backside by the joecarts .. one way then the other

very top floor, some of the equipment

out the front (parking lot side)

remains of one of the electric motors on the top floor

top of the silos

top of the silos opposite from downtown - notice the curve to the floor, got sag anyone ?

Pat getting ready to jump down from one landing to the next on the return-to-earth

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Wowza. Lucky you weren't killed.
Now send me your address so I can report you to the authorities. :lol:

Nice views.
te only things that seam unstabl in the place are the joecart stairs, a couple random railings, and the concrete floor.

i do steelwork for a living, so im rather firmiliar with how much a 6x2 "C" channel like they use for the tread risers should wobble, so while my buddy pat was periodicly like "this is shaking to much" i was instead looking for WHERE the flex was ...

just like anything else, gotta know what your doing, weather your surfing, skydiving or scaling a cliff. ignorance kills faster then bad luck
wow you guys are nuts!
thanks for the pics!
Definitely pioneering a new perspective. You ought to arrange a shoot with BuffCity. Just don't get him killed! :D
bump: because im eager to make this trip again and add to my picture collecton
beautiful I would love to climb that !! I am a crazy acrobatic monkey type of guy who loves that shit
good job !!
If you have some good zoom it would be an excellent spot to shoot the skyline.

Hint hint.
12x optical on a 4mp camera. just sort of have to put my camera back together ... it looks like roadkill at the moment ...

next time im bringing a backpack w/ supplies, our only supplies for that trip were the clothes on our back, a pair of gloves and our cameras. who needs rope ? lol

i plan on setting up a tripod and doing a much much better panoramic of the skyline, especially now that i have a computer that can handle running the stitch program w/ full res pics

just wish i could find someplace to upload the full versions of the above pics w/o having to pay for web space
more from the same trip:

walking across the active train bridge to get there

couple of the building

wrecked and burnt jeep grand cherokee in the train loading / unloading section, which is front and center of the building

some machinery on the ground floor

buffalo skyline

better shot of my budies from the top of the joe cart

more skyline, off to the right of the above skyline pic. this time you can see central terminal off in the distance (above the white building, see the office / clock tower?)

the lat / long marker on the concrete wall outside the building. installed 1948. $250 fine! oh snap ... but of course at the time you could get a Ford V8 super deluxe sportsman (2 door woodie convertable) for about 2 grand

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This skyline shot comes a close second to the Ralph Wilson shot:

Awesome shot! It makes the skyline look more balanced and dense.
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trying to find local interest for a winter climb to the top :)
you guys up in buffalo are actually sitting on a pot on gold with this grain elevator. here in baltimore, we have a place that was a former grain elevator that was converted into condos. you guys could do the same with this one and it would actually work out better for y'all. this is a much bigger building than the one we have. take a look.... point baltimore&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
^^ Not doubting that's possible, but the thing to consider is I think "your" elevator appears to be in a much more prime, or should I say, accessible area. But maybe I'm wrong. The area where Buffalo's elevators still exist is generally difficult to access and has no nearby surrounding residential/commercial type infrastructure that you would need in order to get a project of that type off the ground - and it's not even as much an issue of urban blight - nobody has ever really lived in that area. After the ball has gotten rolling with those sorts of infrastructural/investment improvements, then yeah it could easily be argued that we have several gold mines.

In the meantime, about all they're good for is urban exploration and for creating a bizarre skyline when entering the city from along the lakeshore.
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ugh, so itching to go back, but i havent even fixed my camera yet ...

boo for me, i know
AMAZING pics, if u do go back let me know... I'm actually looking into going soon. I'm trying to see if I get some footage for a film I'm making ^^

good luck with the cam, what type is it and what happened? lol

(I'm a photographer, at least I used to be)
whos down for a trip to the top ?

this saturday :)
Your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing!
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