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Torn-Down Tuesday: Nu-Way meets Niagara Falls Boulevard

Niagara Falls Boulevard from Sheridan Drive to Ridge Lea, 1951.

When the brand-new Nu-Way supermarket opened in Niagara Falls Boulevard in 1955, the part of the “The Boulevard” just north of Sheridan Drive was still mostly farmland.

The map that accompanied the Nu-Way ad announcing the grand opening isn’t to scale, but it shows the landmarks on the rural stretch between Sheridan Drive and Ellicott Creek Road. The only highlights they could come up with were the drive-in and a radio tower.

The Niagara Drive-In, which is visible on the 1951 overhead photo, was torn down to make way for Kmart, which was in turn torn down to make way for the strip mall featuring Old Navy and the Christmas Tree Store.

The WXRA radio tower was closer to the plaza with Burlington Coat Factory, JoAnn Fabrics and Outback Steakhouse. The small station was licensed to Kenmore and is probably best remembered as the place where Tommy Shannon’s Buffalo radio career began.

If we were trying to describe the plaza where Nu-Way opened today, we might say across from the Boulevard Mall – but then, the mall wasn’t opened for another seven years. OK, then, you might say, “The Boulevard between Sheridan and Maple,” but Maple wasn’t extended from Sweet Home Road to Niagara Falls Boulevard until the early ’60s.

The Youngmann Expressway didn’t cross over then, work wouldn’t even start on the I-290 until the mall opened. New York State’s first McDonald’s, now near Maple, wasn’t opened until 1959. Same with the Henry’s Hamburgers at Sheridan Drive. The Swiss Chalet opened in 1965.

Nu-Way was the futuristic brand name for the 1950s-style supermarkets operated by longtime Buffalo grocer Danahy-Faxon.

Among the features at the new store were register receipts that listed your exact change and the “new convenient food-o-mat,” which was called “the latest in shopping convenience” as shelves restocked themselves as ladies shopped.

The Nu-Way brand name was eventually absorbed into Acme Markets, and in the mid ’70s, local Acme stores were bought out by Bells.

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