Reconsidering the Skyway
by Buck Quigley - posted 2:18 pm, September 4, 2008
Bring up the Skyway in any conversation where Buffalo’s armchair urban planners are discussing anything from grain silos to livery stables, and watch the sparks fly. But before you join the mob chanting for its removal—a massive demolition that we’re told will restore the city to its former greatness—you’d be well advised to read “Ribbon of Steel and Concrete”: A cultural Biography of the Buffalo Skyway , which was recently published in the academic journal American Studies.
Author William Graebner, Professor of History Emeritus at SUNY, Fredonia, puts the historic bridge in the context of its time, and in so doing lets us see the “eyesore” in a new light. Rich in detail, and full of interesting photos, Graebner avoids the easy route of treating the Skyway like a political football. He draws no final conclusions, but at the same time presents an interesting dilemma for preservationists and developers alike to consider.
We offer it with the kind permission of American Studies editor David Katzman, the Mid-America American Studies Association and the University of Kansas.
*Please note: Although the essay is in the spring, 2007 issue of American Studies, that issue was published only recently, in May 2008.