Steve Cichon

Author

As an eighth-generation Buffalonian, Steve Cichon is as thoroughly a proud Buffalonian as you'll find. The former radio news man, historian and author of five books has turned his passion for Buffalo's pop culture history into a career. Aside from running startup Buffalo Stories LLC, Steve's an adjunct professor at Medaille College and a producer at WNED-TV (PBS), and he has recently celebrated 25 years as a bow tie wearer.

In 1892, Buffalo’s skyline was filled with church steeples and old city hall — the building we now call old County Hall on Franklin Street. Those structures weren’t yet competing with office towers and apartment buildings for airspace above the city. Having been in Buffalo for about five years, M.F. Wright, manager for the Union Central Life Insurance Company,…

What a difference a year makes. Buffalo spent years getting ready for 1901’s Pan American Exposition, but after a presidential assassination and financial ruin, there was little thought of trying to preserve what was promised to be a temporary wonderland built mostly on property owned by the Rumsey family. [Gallery: The Pan-Am Exposition: Then and Now] The v…

Between the world wars, there was no greater unifier of Buffalo’s growing black population than the Michigan Avenue YMCA. As late as 1920, unique circumstances made gathering as a community in a single space difficult. Overt racism made many civic gathering places, and most private ones, off limits. In other marginalized and immigrant communities within Buffalo, a pla…

Lines at the Peace Bridge are nothing new, but the scenery has changed through the years. Even when the toll was a quarter and the most evasive question you’d be asked was “Where do you live?,” the backups still felt like forever after a weekend of fun at the cottage or on the Comet. While the cars were queued up in the 1950s, they were bathed in the g…

Reconstruction of the Elmwood Avenue bridge over Route 198 is nearing completion after several years of work. Elmwood Avenue looked a bit different in 1895 when the bridge was first built over Scajaquada Creek. The Buffalo State campus was farmland behind the “State Insane Asylum,” and none of the museums surrounding the bridge had been built yet. This vi…

Time and circumstance has nearly eliminated knowledge and memory of one of the city’s great institutions. In 1904, the Elk Street Market was “the largest fruit and garden truck market in the United States.” The traffic in commodities sold rivaled any similar market on the continent. The market’s size and success was attributed to so many of Buffalo’…

The 1965 American Football League All-Star game was scheduled for 52 years ago this week in New Orleans, but it never happened. Dave Dixon, who had been trying to bring the AFL to New Orleans, organized the game with promises that there wouldn't be any problems in the still-segregated city. Players were promised testimonial dinners and golf tournaments, and even told to…

BN Chronicles takes postcards of several parts of Main Street from the past and compares them with current street views. Two views of Shelton Square, Main at Niagara.   Main no longer intersects with Niagara Street. That portion of Niagara Street was gobbled up by the Main Place complex.   Main at Court The corner once famous as…

There’s $1 million in state money on the table to study the feasibility of a new train station for Buffalo and answer some key questions—chief among them, where it should go. Since problems at the Exchange Street Amtrak station last year helped ignite talk of the need for a new train station in the city, two potential locations received the most buzz: Canalside at B…

In 1923, there were 181,300 people of Polish extraction living “out Broadway”— the shorthand for what many in Buffalo proper also called “the Polish Colony,” metaphorically centered by St. Stanislaus Church and the Broadway/Fillmore intersection. For the rest of the half-million plus people who lived in Buffalo, the Polish were at best a very foreign group who…

In 1959, the Niagara Frontier Bottling Association took out an ad to remind Western New York’s children to bug their parents about returning soft drink bottles promptly. The Niagara Frontier Bottling Association had 21 members, including the giant names of Coca-Cola, Pepsi and 7-Up, but also much smaller local operations like Visniak, Queen-O and Oscar’s. Just as b…

While the whole world hears Buffalo and thinks of chicken wings, the much older and somehow more dignified beef on weck has been holding its own in our hearts and our palates in the shadow of hot sauce and blue cheese for decades. Aside from both being Buffalo dishes, people from outside Western New York often don't get it quite right when referring to chicken wings or …

It’s not the most eloquent title, but you knew exactly what I was talking about, didn’t you? People have been asking “what is that thing?” since before the Peace Bridge was built. Since the current water intake building opened in 1913, the old one now next to the Peace Bridge has slowly deteriorated, to the point where it’s little more than a concrete s…

With Memorial Auditorium opening in 1940 and the last streetcar clanking through the streets of Buffalo in 1950, the date of this image is set firmly in the 1940s. Clearing snow from Buffalo’s street car tracks was the job of a haphazard collection of beat-up, patched-up old streetcars created through the ingenuity of the International Railway Company maintenance staf…