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From 1880 to Today: the Broadway Arsenal

Chronicles continues a weekly look back at an illustrated map of Buffalo from 1880 and examines how the features on that map have — or haven't — changed over 138 years. Click here to explore the map in all its glory.

It has been known for more than 70 years as the giant old building where the City of Buffalo keeps its snow removal equipment, but the history of what we now call the Broadway Barns goes back to the Civil War era.

Built in 1858, the Broadway Arsenal was home to two local regiments during the Civil War. After the war, the building was turned over to the state as a National Guard armory.

The building was decommissioned as an armory in 1910, and with a new addition on the front, it became the Broadway Auditorium.

Boxing, hockey, bicycle races, basketball, wrestling, circuses, indoor baseball — all were regular events at the Broadway Aud for 30 years.

With the opening of Memorial Auditorium in 1940, the Broadway Auditorium’s usefulness as an entertainment venue mostly came to an end. In 1947, after $670,000 in renovations, the city first made plans to store heavy equipment inside the Broadway Auditorium.

Construction at the Broadway Barns, 1948.

A fire from a mishandled flare destroyed most of the original building in 1948, but the building remains the home of most of Buffalo’s big trucks, including the snow removal fleet.

The Broadway Barns near Michigan, where the city keeps snowplows, dump trucks and other snow removal equipment, at 197 Broadway. (John Hickey/News file photo)

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