Buffalo Memories III: The Early Years and the 1950s
William Street, circa 1895.
A turbo-supercharged engine, capable of ratings up to 5,000 horsepower, under production at Worthington's Buffalo works for a Western power plant, October 1955.
Bethlehem Steel employees cast their ballots to decide whether to be represented by the C.I.O. Steel Workers Organizing Committee, May 1941. The election was conducted under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board.
During World War II, women helped to solve the workforce shortage in the production of aircraft engines. In this photo, circa 1943, a woman removes excess stock with a burring tool at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines. The engines were produced in volume by Chevrolet for bombers and cargo planes.
Workers of the Bloedel Manufacturing Company at 1271 East Ferry St. turn their skill from making aircraft parts during World War II, to making tricycles after the war, June 1946.
An aerial view of Dante Place Housing Project - now the Marine Drive Apartments - under construction, 1950s.
Canisius College ROTC took part in the United Irish-American Association St. Patrick's Day Parade along Main Street, March 1953. Approximately 50,000 spectators watched the 25,000 marchers during the annual parade.
Niagara Frontier Transit operators Earl H. Griffin, Albert J. Thompson, Henry E. Prentice and Francis W. Sturm inspect a newly purchased bus, October 1953. It was purchased at a cost of $22,000 and included conventional leaf springs replaced by eight air bellows made of nylon tire fabric, supplemented by aircraft-type shock absorbers.
Tosca Biscaro demonstrates use of the low-level steps on one of the newly purchased buses by Niagara Frontier Transit Company, December 1958.
Detective John W. Ogorzaly of the Vice and Liquor Squad, left, and Detective Kenneth P. Kenney, right holding a confiscated pistol, question Monroe Doss, charged with illegal possession of the weapon and operation of a 50-gallon still at 240 Cedar St., November 1955.
The Concession Stand on the Buffalo Zoo grounds, July 1951.
A typical scene at WBEN-TV studios every Sunday evening at 6:30 pm, when Buffalo actors Kay Jones and Art Hunt enacted the game of charades before cameras and competing teams, April 1950. Observing are Gertrude R. Lorenz, Marjorie M. Baker, Lorraine Wilson Pankow, Nathaniel A. Barrell, Emcee Julian N. Trivers, Homer J. Savage and John H. Little. Barrell and Pankow were permanent members of the panel.
Thousands crowd Lafayette Square to see film star Irene Dunne who visited Buffalo to help sell war bonds, September 1942.
The front of the newly completed Apollo Theater, April 1941. It was first opened as a movie theater by the Basil Brothers and for many years the 900-seat theater was a hub of activity on the Jefferson Avenue commercial strip. The theater stopped showing movies when a fire caused extensive damage in 1966. It was subsequently used for community gatherings and other activities until it was abandoned in the late 1980s and taken over by the city in a tax foreclosure proceeding. In recent years, the Apollo was converted into a telecommunications facility to provide state-of-the-art facilities for public, educational and governmental Access.
Robert Robertson, a member of the 65 Club on the Towpath, tosses out a favorite rocking chair in preparation for having to move to make way for the for the Niagara Thruway (I-190), April 1, 1957. Meanwhile, other members below prepared to move their boat to a different spot on the Niagara River.
Installing a traffic light as part of the newly installed sychronized system were Eugene R. Corrigan, left, and John J. Hanehan, March 1954.
Emergency workers clear snow and ice to free tracks into Buffalo from the icy grip of one of the city's worst blizzards, December 1945.
On March 17, 1936, more than 19 inches of snow fell and the following day another 10 inches. 'The Great Blizzard of '36' ranks high on the list of weather events in Buffalo. The snow was so deep and heavy that by mid-afternoon, streetcar service had ceased. Help removing the snow came from the 106th Field Artillery. Col. Douglas P. Walker stands next to the tractor. Leon Schultz and Cortez Peacock sit atop the tractor.
Steelworkers make themselves comfortable on the picket line during the long strike in October 1959 with food, drinks and a canvas shelter. On World Series days, a television was set up using company power. Picketing Bethlehem Steel's Lackawanna plant are United Steelworkers of America Local 2601.
Dr. Herman E. Hilleboe, left, and Gov. Thomas Dewey look over the smoking machine used in research looking into the coorelation between smoking and cancer, using mice in glass tubes with burning cigarettes attached, at the Roswell Park Institute dedication, Oct. 14, 1954.
Buffalo Police department gets a centralized complaint setup in 1948. The heartbeat of the police department's new system for dispatching and recording complaints is centralized at this table. Each of the six stations has two phones and lights replace bells. Desk lieutenants, clockwise, are Gregg F. Eberman, John C. Rapp, Royal E. Schrack, Glenn H. Bogardus, J. Stanley Bratt and Norman J. Koch.
Buffalo Police Department's new $5,645 prison van on display in 1950. The department sold the 1940 van for $1,081. At left is Patrolman Edward Forlich. Behind the wheel is Patrolman John C. Wienand.
Some of Buffalo's finest in 1930. In uniform, second from left is Buffalo Police Commissioner Austin J. Roche and at right is Arthur D. Britt, then an auto squad lieutenant and later longtime Erie County Sheriff. They are showing off newly-acquired guns that fire gas shells and illuminating star shells with parachutes.
Five patrolmen join the motorcycle squad, March 1958. From left: Francis J. Deacon, Francis L. Conroy, Louis N. Pelonero, Raymond P. Berni, Frederick A. Shumacher.
City officials inspect a new radar device for checking on speeders speeders, June 25, 1953. "This radar scope will tell the police how fast a car is speeding," Wade Stevenson, chairman of the Board of Safety, left, tells Mayor Joseph Mruk, center, and Police Commissioner Michael Noeppel.
Richard Miller, age 10, heads the line as children of St. Mary of Sorrow School's first four grades line up to receive their first vaccinations against polio from Dr. W.C. Byrnes, May 18, 1955, the first year immunizations were available.
Health Commissioner Edward B. Bukowski loads his car with the shipment of Salk polio vaccine flown into Buffalo by American Airlines, July 1955. The vaccine was given to children in the first four grades of Buffalo schools.
Keys to the sleek new Sister Kenny Ambulance for polio victims was a gift from the Buffalo Federation of Labor, December 1953. AFL Leader Clayton F. Stephenson, at the wheel, presents keys to Alan K. Sawyer, local Sister Kenny Foundation president; while BFL President Charles W. Halloran and Foundation Managing Director James A. Gilbert, right, look on. Sister Elizabeth Kenny was an Australian nurse who as early as 1910 had reported treating polio cases in the bush back "to normalcy." She came to the United States to Minneapolis (Medical School of the University of Minnesota) in 1940. While many were skeptical of her ideas, she was met with immediate support at the Medical School of the University of Minnesota. In 1952, shortly after her death, the Sister Kenny Foundation was formed by supporters.
The three-wheel mailster was introduced into the Buffalo Post Office in 1959. This vehicle could carry 500 pounds of mail while the mail carrier on foot was limited to 35 pounds of mail.
Two Erie Railroad trains collided head-on midway between the Tifft Street overpass and the Ridge Road Bridge in South Buffalo, September 1956. Nine crewmen were injured and taken to Emergency Hospital.
Junior Captain Joseph A. Pilarz, right, directs operations of the new Seagraves hook and ladder truck which had just arrived in Buffalo, August 1955.
Neglected leaves clog a receiver leading to a flood at Niagara Street and West Delavan Avenue which caused several car accidents, October 1950.
The Buffalo River, once one of the world's busiest industrial waterways, slipped in rank because it was too small to accommodate large lake freighters, October 1948.
The Fire Department took over the Engine 20 building, home base of the city fireboat Edward M. Cotter, June 1956.
Freighter Penobscot burns in Buffalo Harbor after a collision with barge Morania loaded with 3.5 million gallons of gasoline, October 1951.
The Right Rev. Monsignor Roman J. Nuwer helps the children of the German Roman Catholic Orphanage aboard a bus after the orphanage burned in a fire, January 1956.
Mrs. Frank J. Ott, owner of this store at DeWitt Street and Helen Place, who for 13 months had been trying to make a go of it, with her husband confined to bed with a serious illness, finally had to quit and close the store in August of 1955. She was forced out of business by a young group of "hoodlums" the police were apparently unable to stop.
These youths were arrested when police stopped their car and relieved them of an arsenal of clubs, knives, and razors, June 1, 1956. Police stopped their car for a routine check after being alerted for trouble at the Lakeview Housing Project.
Members of the Buffalo Fire Department were climbing and jumping quite a bit in October of 1946 as they prepared for the Fire Thrill Show in Civic Stadium. This new-style $22,300 truck of Hook & Ladder 2 of 43 South Division Street was one of the apparatus included in the show. From the top down are Junior Capt. Louis P. Kron; and firemen Francis J. McMahon, Stanley E. Panek, Emmett T. O'Leary, Michael J. Shea, and Joseph J. Long. Capt. James Forehead directs from the ground.
Attacking at several points, firefighters bring under control a blaze that heavily damaged St. John Kanty's Church shortly after it broke out, Jan. 13, 1955. The fire started in the altar on the right side of the main sanctuary. Heat burst 10 stained-glass windows.
Firefighters aboard the Cotter pour water on a large concrete storage bin at General Mills Inc., 54 Michigan Avenue, in an effort to prevent flames from spreading to adjacent bins as they battle a stubborn wheat fire in August 1958.
Firemen search the ruins of the Cleveland Hill Elementary School Annex in Cheektowaga where 10 pupils died and 28 were injured in a tragic fire on March 31, 1954.
A December 1946 "mob scene" in Mohican Market, following an advertisement in the Buffalo News, of butter selling for 53 cents, while others charged 64 cents, apparently caused by Mohican's confusion over an Office of Price Administration ruling. The OPA was abolished effective May 29, 1947.
A device attached to the automobile of John E. Bock was used to study Buffalo street lighting, April 1944. At the wheel is Bock, GE illuminating engineer, who describes what a motorist sees or doesn't see as he drives. The panel in front is a model of street pavement with a pedestrian (arrow) crossing. Across the top of the windshield is a miniature windshield. With the aid of photometry, the engineers can tell just how much a motorist can or cannot see at any given location in the city. At left is Gordon R. Bryant, lighting specialist; right, Traffic Adviser Henry W. Osborne, of the Safety Board.
A view of traffic in Niagara Square from City Hall, July 1955.
Construction continues on the Peace Bridge, October 1926.
A 'water taxi' was pressed into service in Buffalo Harbor for the benefit of crews aboard lake ships idled by the steel strike and tied up at the breakwall, June 1952. A whistle or searching signal calls the sea-going taxi any time of the day or night. Elmer Claire and Edward Trombley of Frontier Marine Supple operated this 'taxi.'
A Coast Guard cutter assists in fighting a blaze at the foot of Michigan Street, Sept. 21, 1953.
Night view of Main Street between Chippewa and Tupper, looking south, June 1950.
Shelton Square wasn't beautiful, but it was utilitarian, as seen in this July 1950 photo. It was a crossroads for private cars and bus traffic. The thousands who traveled through it every day glanced at the traffic safety sign to see whether the city was running ahead or behind the traffic death totals of the prior year.
Downtown Buffalo in the early 1950s.
Street cleaners Joseph Capalano and Thomas Dianno sweep away the debris of winter at Main and Exchange Streets, February 1951.
President Harry S. Truman and his daughter stop in Buffalo to campaign for Anthony Tauriello and Chester Gorski, Democrats, running for Congress, Oct. 9, 1952. The rally was held at Memorial Hall.
Patients at Millard Fillmore Hospital in the 1950s got music four times a day to help speed recovery. Nurse Ruth M. Long, right, checks with a patient before switching the music on, while nurse Rosalie M. Pingitore examines one of the long-playing records in the automatic player.
The New York Central's new Aerotrain, an experimental, light-weight 'dream train' built by General Motors made an appearance in Buffalo in 1956.
Buffalo Skyway nears completion, November 1954.
During World War II the Curtiss-Wright plant in Buffalo was one of the nation's biggest suppliers of P40 fighter planes.
Famous female aviator, Amelia Earhart, visiting Buffalo Airport on March 3, 1929.
The workers with the finest view of Buffalo in October 1957 were these men who were doing the $400,000 job of repairing the 398-foot tower roof on City Hall. From left are George F. Hess, Edward J. Peters, Harold W. Seifert and August Aumer.
An aerial view of downtown Buffalo in 1957.
Emergency Hospital, a haven of care for the city's sick and injured for 75 years, announced it was closing its doors in 1959. The announcement blamed the financial squeeze and a shortage of nursing and technical personnel.
Rising steel continued to change the complexion of lower Main Street in October 1958. This view includes the old Michigan Avenue bridge in the foreground and was taken from the top of the Fairmont Creamery Building.
The Buffalo Skyway, the city's new high-level bridge, came under scrutiny as state and city officials made an inspection trip over the new structure, Oct. 4, 1955. Standing on the east side of the bridge, overlooking Main Street, are, from left: George F. Collins, acting city traffic adviser; Walter M. Maday, Board of Safety member; Charles T. Love, city engineer; Mayor Steven Pankow. The Skyway opened to traffic later in the month.
With the Great Lakes navigation season closing, ships are anchored 'bumper to bumper' at some of Buffalo's winter berthing docks as seen in this December 1951 photograph of freighters in the City Ship Canal.
Mass at Civic Stadium during Eucharistic Congress, Sept. 24, 1947.
Helicopters being produced at Bell Aircraft, December 1950. These helicopters were designed to handle five stretchers, or eight fully-armed men or 10 unarmed men.
Crystal Beach, July 1959.
The biggest single job tackled by the American Ship Building Company, Inc., was the modernization of this freighter, the E.A.S. Clarke, December 1952.
Ted Dyl stands at far left of the Core Room of the North Buffalo Foundry on Hertel Avenue, circa 1924.
Young & Swartz Company, Inc., a brush retail shopfront with brush makers' residence above at 39 Cherry St., circa 1889.
Tower 48 and the New York Central Terminal in the distance, circa 1930.
Mr. Lieber in front of his blacksmith shop at Best and Ellicott Streets, circa 1899.
George Eberle in his grocery store at Forest Avenue and Tremont Street, circa 1945.
Joel Ziolo's first barber shop, northeast corner of Transit Road and Terrace Boulevard, circa 1934.
The first storefront location of Brownrout's Fish Market shortly after it opened at 1052 Elmwood Ave. at the corner of Bird Avenue, 1931. Standing, from left: Al Brownrout, his brother Louis and employee Dave Jenchil. Brownrout Seafood originated in 1928 when the brothers began operations in the back of Hoffman's Meat Market at 934 Elmwood. In 1942, they moved their business to its final location at 451 Elmwood and remained there until 1983 when the business was sold to Schneider Fish & Seafood Company. In the 1960s, Brownrout Seafood was reported to have been the largest seafood distributor outside coastal port areas.
Rev. and Mrs. Nash along with Thelma Anderson, Sandra Anderson, James Anderson Jr., and Diane Anderson, recipients of the Jesse Ketchum medal, early 1940s. The Jesse Ketchum medal was awarded to students in the Buffalo School system. Ketchum was a philanthropist who gave away much of his wealth to Buffalo Schools. Thelma Anderson and her children all received the medal. Rev. Nash was their minister.
James and Ora Anderson, their sons, Arthur and David, dressed up for a celebration, circa 1939. Ora was a Buffalo Club woman and a member of one of the oldest African American families in Buffalo. She was also Regional President of the Empire State Federation of Women's Clubs.
Chef Felix pizza truck at the Erie County Fair, August 1958. Established in 1957, Chef Felix Pizzeria on Wheels was the first food truck in Western New York. Feliz P. Coniglio came up with the idea when he was a baker on the USS Boston during World War II. He made pizza for his shipmates and they loved it. He then said to himself, "how can I make pizza and bring it to customers freshly baked when I get out of the Navy?" That's when it came to him, a mobile unit, a truck.
Frances Pfeiffer near the ticket booth at Crystal Beach, 1919.
The captain of the steamer "Greater Buffalo" (standing right) welcomes passengers transported from the Hotel Buffalo at Swan and Washington Streets, circa 1943. The Studebaker-built Tallyho coach the passengers arrived in was the hotel's unique workaround and promotion used to observe war time rationing of gasoline and rubber tires.
E. Webster, Son & Company delivers ice to the store of Harry J. Meng on Seneca Street in the early 1900s.
Daniel S. Grandillo, Sr. standing outside his store with his dog Trixie at 208 Main St., circa 1952.
Yvonne Runfola on the sidewalk in front of a Costanzo's Bread truck on Porter Avenue in the early 1950s.
Lou Horwitz, president of Playboy Motor Car Corp., proudly shows off the 1947 Playboy at the Hotel Statler in February of 1947. This was the premier showing of the new car built in Buffalo. The car featured a rear engine and was a soft-top convertible.
Paul R. Shulz brought his Harley Davidson to be blessed at the annual motorcycle blessing at St. Christopher's Church in 1955. At left is his sister, Arlene M. Shulz.
A delivery truck hauling King sewing machines, circa 1918.
Saglibene's grocery store at York and 14th Streets, circa 1938. Salvatore Saglibene is at right and his sister-in-law, Sadie Giambra, is at left.
Joe Kahen at Crystal Beach just before leaving for World War I. Almost everyone from Buffalo has, at one or more times, spent an afternoon swimming in the waters of Lake Erie at "CB."
Early suffrage parade in Buffalo, circa 1910.
Joseph A. Eger Jr.'s candy and cigar store at 426 Broadway in the late 1880s. Proprietor Joseph A. Eger Jr. is in the dark suit, and his son is to his left.
Sylvia Galas Przybyl on her wedding day at Transfiguration Roman Catholic Church in 1932.
Civil War Veterans 31st GAR Encampment, Church Street, 1897. Josiah Wyatt Willis, great-grandfather of the donor, is tenth from left.
Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was known in the 1800s, at Lafayette Square, 1880.
Playboy cars being hand-built in the company's first factory at 988 Ellicott St., circa 1948. Lou Horwitz was the president of the company which built 97 cars in Buffalo from 1947 through 1949.
Societa' Serradifalco flag christening ceremony on Busti Avenue, June 8, 1930. The group is made up of immigrants from the same town in Sicily.
Fifth-grade class at Buffalo Public School No. 62 in 1955.
Martin Slon, left, tending bar at Slon's Tavern, 508 Peckham St., circa 1940. Ideally located across from the Central Terminal during the heyday of trains, Slon's was a place to have a beef on weck and a beverage for many who worked at the terminal and for people who lived in the neighborhood. A trap door at the end of the bar led to a basement where homemade beer was stored during Prohibition.
The Drescher family, circa 1910. Albert Drescher is at far right, and his children are on the steps. Florence Drescher is the third girl on the right in the first row of girls.
Dry cleaning and tailor shop at 229 Franklin St., circa 1927. The store was owned by William and Pauline Braun. William Braun is on the left.
Pan American Exposition, 1901, as seen from the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Amherst Street.
Jerry M. Malloy
Francis Malachowski with her Victory Garden on the back shed roof of the White Front Restaurant, 262 Ohio St. in 1943. She owned the restaurant and the garden provided fresh food for the restaurant.
Explore some of the hundreds of photos — some from Buffalo News archives, others from the Buffalo History Museum, the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library or News readers — that are featured in our third historical pictorial book.