At the height of World War II, thousands of Western New Yorkers reported to the Bell Air plant on Elmwood Avenue to help in the production of hundreds of P-39 Aircobra aircraft, all headed straight for the two fronts of the war. Starting in 1916, Glenn Curtiss Air built Jenny bi-planes in the plant once considered the world’s largest airplane factory.
By the 1980s, the site had gone through several hands and had been the home of several different businesses, including a Bells supermarket.
Twenty years ago today, steam shovels were plowing under the building with a rich history to make way for the Home Depot store, which continues to operate at the site today.
A portion of the plant, which had been the home of M. Wile, remains standing but mostly unused.
This article is a part of News editor and reporter Mike Vogel’s decades-long efforts to bring the history of Buffalo to the pages of The News, especially stories remembering and honoring the sacrifices of the World War II generation.
"A 10-acre section of the former 66-acre Bell Aircraft assembly plant at 2050 Elmwood Ave., where thousands of home-front workers labored during World War II to produce fighter planes, is being demolished to make way for a home-improvement store."