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In the early morning of Feb. 7, 1957, Irma Gill was enjoying a comfortable night’s rest in the small third-floor apartment she shared with her 19-year-old daughter in Buffalo’s Commodore Perry housing complex. Around 1 a.m., she was awakened by the unmistakable sound of screaming.   Jumping from her bed, Gill moved quickly to the nearest window and peered down at t…

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, it marked the first time in our nation’s history that an event of such magnitude was broadcast across our television screens. A stunned nation watched a visibly shaken Walter Cronkite announce the death of the president. The images that followed are forever etched in our collective memory: a solemn Lyndon B. John…

Last month, I asked our readers which demolished building they wished were still standing today — the Erie County Savings Bank or the Larkin Administration Building. Readers cast their votes on a Chronicles’ tweet. I expected polling to be close, but I may as well have asked readers if they preferred blue cheese or ranch with their chicken wings. The results were, q…

On the early evening of Saturday, Aug. 21, 1948, 38-year-old Helen Lindeman – clad in a pink sleeveless housedress to combat the late summer heat – ventured out into her Kenmore neighborhood to run a few errands and to purchase a quart of milk. Lindeman was last spotted on Delaware Avenue at around 6 p.m. that night, walking just a few hundred feet from her h…

In 1825, around the same time Gov. DeWitt Clinton was celebrating the wedding of the waters with the opening of the Erie Canal, Mordecai Noah was devising a plan to transform 2,000 acres of wilderness on Grand Island into a refuge for Jewish settlers. It was to be called “Ararat,” after the resting place of Noah’s Ark, and would have been situated near the intersec…

Standing at the empty, wedge-shaped parcel of land where Ohio and Chicago streets meet, it is hard to imagine what the Old First Ward neighborhood looked like over 60 years ago. Any remnants of the homes and businesses that lined these streets have long been demolished, save the long-vacant E. & B. Holmes Machinery Co. Building. Six decades ago, these same streets bust…

When it was announced in June 2013 that Dipson Theatres would not renew its lease with North Park Theatre, many wondered if the curtain had finally fallen on the historic neighborhood theater. The passage of time, previous owners’ indifference to the building, and the exorbitant cost of digital projection were all capable villains for this poor damsel in distress. Fo…

From the deck of the S.S. Canadiana – the boat used to ferry passengers from Buffalo to Crystal Beach Amusement Park – the silhouette of the Comet roller coaster could be seen along the horizon as the boat inched closer and closer to Fort Erie, Ont. The Comet was, in fact, the first ride that greeted visitors as they disembarked from the Crystal Beach Boat docked …

After 93 years, the animals in the park-style carousel coming to Canalside in 2018 are back in North Tonawanda, a few blocks from where they were built. On Thursday, a dozen volunteers for Buffalo Heritage Carousel were at work restoring three of the 31 Spillman Engineering Co. animals that until recently had been stowed away in storage since 1956. "They will leave t…

On the afternoon of Jan. 20, 1963, 38-year-old bar owner Howard Collins was at his home on Wallace Drive on Grand Island preparing for work when he got into a very heated argument with his 13-year-old son, James. The topic of their fight was something the pair had butted heads over many times before: James’ romance with their 16-year-old neighbor, Grace Muetel. Alban…

Imagine, just for a moment, Buffalo’s Outer Harbor teeming with activity – houses lining the shores of Lake Erie and excited beachgoers playing in its waters. It’s a scenario that’s been described again and again by many of the city’s civic leaders, seemingly for decades, as they bemoan the death of industry along the waterfront, leaving nothing but reminders …

Let’s get ready to crumble! It’s likely famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer has never stood before the wrecking ball and uttered such words, but how many demolitions during the height of Buffalo’s urban renewal were met with such fanfare? Beginning in the 1950s, Buffalo – like many cities throughout the country – witnessed the demolition of its stock of 19th…

The recent improvements on Ohio Street happened without any action involving a dilapidated complex on the corner of Chicago Street. That's about to change. Ellicott Development, which owns several properties in and around the former E.&B. Holmes Machine Company building, has reached an agreement to buy the brick structure and put in apartments, along with some re…

Shortly after 1:30 a.m. on the morning of March 11, 1939, Buffalo firefighters responded to a call at 635 Plymouth Ave. on the city’s West Side. When they arrived, the back of the one-and-a-half-story residence already was consumed by flames that “burned through the roof and shot skyward,” The Buffalo Evening News reported later that day. Firefighters managed…

Some buildings are deeply associated with a city. The beloved Fellheimer & Wagner-designed Central Terminal, which rises 17 stories above the East Side, is one such place for Buffalo. Families said goodbye there to loved ones departing for military service during World War II, and later the Korean and Vietnam wars. Many immigrants who settled in Buffalo steppe…