The Buffalo Memorial Auditorium is for many a holy shrine of NHL history. The arena was built originally for the Buffalo Bisons, an American Hockey League franchise in 1940. Eventually the NHL moved into town and the Buffalo Sabres took over as the main users of the arena.
Being an explorer in Buffalo, I had always wondered about the Aud. However it always looked so very locked up, that I didn't even bother trying. Knowing how much of a cultural icon the place was, I figured it was impossible to get inside. But it wasn't until someone challenged myself and my friend to get inside, that we actually put some effort into it. That effort involved taking a stroll around the Aud, pulling on door handles and being observant.
Of course all the doors were locked. But then we stumbled upon a hatch in the sidewalk which led down into a flooded area. The hatch was unlocked and could be opened rather easily. It was early spring, and luckily the water below was frozen still. My friend and I waded through about 6 inches of very cold water, which covered the frozen ice and found that this underground transformer vault led straight into the building. We had found a way in!
Of course we were not the first. Local taggers and vandals (likely one in the same) HERT and ATAK had gotten in before us, and did a good job at messing up some parts of the building with stupid tags.
Eventually after a few trips we were able to photograph and visit every room in the building. We even found the rumored Bomb Robot and some other police equipment which seems to have been stored there in a makeshift treasure trove of goodies. We even found gun parts and holsters, however it looks as though vandals had taken all of the guns. The rumor states that back in the late 90's Buffalo shut down its special crimes division. A rogue sergeant took the keys to the equipment locker and stole a lot of equipment, to hide it in the Aud. Rumor has it that money and drugs from the evidence room was also taken and stored in the Aud as well. My theory was that the money and drugs may have been hidden in the water tanks of the Fire Trucks which were down there.
How the bomb robot was never found? I have no clue. I am sure it has been found and removed now that the demolition had started. I really did want to take it home and play with it, being that I am good at electronics, I could of probably made it work again. But, that goes against my ethics, and I am sure being in possession of stolen police equipment would of been quite serious.
When it came time for OPEX to happen, we had planned the Aud to be one of the main attractions. Sadly however, the grate was discovered and was welded up. Determined to keep it as an attraction, we have a elite team of Explorers scale the walls up to a window on the 3rd floor. The team inside then found a way to get everyone else in, and we were able to get about 30 people into the building. Of course when you get that many explorers together, people get silly. And one member decided to ride down a ramp on a hospital gurney. He fell and split his arm opened. Luckily we had paramedic in the team and we were able to rush him to the hospital without any issues. That was the last time I was in the Aud.
There was something special about being in this giant building and hearing absolutely nothing. You could hear a pin from at center ice if you were sitting in the stands. There was something magical about that.
I want to make it clear that I am posting these photos for the enjoyment of the fans who love and miss the building. I believe that they deserve the right to see what it was before work started there.
I am sad that some people did steal stuff, and are even selling items on eBay. I think that the items should of been given away to fans, not sold, but that is just my strange logic.
Below I have posted a number of photos I have taken inside the Aud on various dates. I have entered comments below each photo.
This was the view from the Owners Box. It was my favorite place to sit, aside from the Drywall dust and the graffiti. The chairs were still very comfy and it was a nice place to sit and relax. I spent hours just sitting there in the silence. It was amazing.
This was the Owners Box. The Dust is from the 'structural inspection' which was done when Bass Pro Shops was considering purchasing the Building. They ripped holes in many of the walls to look at the structure.
This hallway leads to the Aud Club.
And this is the Aud Club. Because of the dark furnishings in here, it was difficult to get a good shot.
This hallway was at ice level. The Zamboni would enter the arena through the ramp on the left.
Nets for the Basketball games.
I guess finding a copy of DOS kind of dates this building :)
Various menu boards.
The famous ticket booths.
The BBQ Pit. I suppose this was the poor mans Aud Club?
This was the main dressing room.
Medical waste from the last game.
Score board equipment.
The gatekeepers office.
A nice little information booth.
Ice Cream anyone?
Random Hallway. I believe this is level 2.
The Odd Sections.
Too bad there were none left...
The main entrance.
This is a storage room in the basement. This is actually the storage room that houses the Bomb Robot.
Old cash registers littered one of the storage rooms in the upper levels of the Aud.
This is a catwalk above the Aud Club. It was not very stable.
This is a counter weight for one of the Zambonis.
Parts of the Aud have been water damaged due to pipes bursting.
This was the players shower room. The wall was solid marble I believe. It was very nice.
Joe L's Locker in the basement. He must of been one of the facility staff workers. Joe... I hope you enjoy the photo :)
We eventually found the Original Main Street Facade of the Building. This siding was originally outside, however when they did the renovations to add more seats, they covered over this facade with that crappy brown paneling.
These were the Pearl Street doors.
Sport Service bar. Someone (likely one of the taggers who got in before us) had gone around and removed every single bar tap handle in the entire place.
These stalls in the basement were in a long forgotten locker / dressing room. Likely used by the AHL team.
This appears to be a unisex urinal.
I tried to clean the place up a little... But there was too much for one person.
And lastly. This awesome bit of architecture. This is what modern buildings are missing!
Well I hope you enjoyed the photos. The Aud was likely my last big exploration, I have seen a lot of places, and I think I have grown up to a point and have no real desires to go into any other places. Some may say it is the risk factor, I do not want to have an accident and hurt or kill myself in one of these places. Another possible reason is the fact that I do live in Buffalo, and I see hundreds of abandonments a day. It is hard to be excited about abandonments when you see so many of them. Instead it just further depresses me.
The Aud was a good building, but it was time for it to move on. We can only hope that whatever new building replace it, will have similar historical value.
Our society has changed so much in the last 50 years. When once we would preserve old buildings and it was cheaper to repair them and keep them in active use, it is now cheaper to demolish and rebuild. Imagine if this had been the case back in the Roman times...
Anyhow. I hope you enjoyed those. I do have larger better quality images of every photo here, and I am able to make prints of them per request.