© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Preservation efforts focus on Colonel Ward Station

It's a preservation effort that looks to restore some of Buffalo's industrial heritage. The Colonel Ward Steam Engine Society wants to save two giant pumps and get one back in service. 

In the days of steam locomotives, the five 60-foot high Holly pumps were the height of technology, giant steam-driven pumps pulling water out of the Niagara River and sending that water through days of filtration and ultimately out to the homes and industries of a rapidly growing city. It's been decades since the pumps were used but the costs of dismantling the pumps is so high they have survived until a movement has arisen to not only save them but get one or two working again.

"We can rehab two of these pumps on site and have a working exhibit," said retired plant Chief Engineer Herb Hogue.

"We want to promote tourism and we also want to promote education through the knowledge of having the age of the industrial age that was promoted in the time of our ancestors and our parents."

Preservation has become a ubiquitous theme around the city of Buffalo. Still, the enthusiasm over century-old pumps may have caught organizers by surprise. 

"Look at the people here today on a Father's Day and this probably isn't our largest crowd," said Industrial Heritage President Lorraine Pierro of Sunday's crowd.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.