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From 1880 to Today: Christian Pinkel and the Broezel House

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.

Christian Pinkel came to Buffalo from Germany as a boy and became one of the first commercial dyers in Buffalo. He spent nearly 50 years in business, many of those years at 128 E. Seneca St., as shown in the image to the right.

You are driving over the spot where this storefront stood when you get off the northbound I-190 at the ballpark. The buildings that remain on the block, however, are of the same era as the Pinkel building.

When this photo was taken in 1870, directly across the street was the Broezel House hotel, at the corner of Seneca and Wells.

That building, and the Jewett Stove Co. factory across Wells Street were burned in what The News called in 1889 Buffalo’s biggest-ever fire. A firefighter was killed in the blaze that was first called in on firebox 29 – called the “Hoodoo Box” by superstitious fire brigadiers, who noted a long list of deadly, hard-to-fight conflagrations where the first alarm came on box 29.

The Broezel was rebuilt immediately, and the brick and brownstone hotel remained popular given its proximity to the New York Central Rail Terminal on Exchange Street. When the Central Terminal moved to the East Side, the Broezel lost its steady stream of guests. It closed in 1935. That same Elm Street off ramp goes through the lot once occupied by the hotel.

A postcard of Hotel Broezel from 1905.

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