Many of the buildings in this photo are still standing and, in fact, have only in the last several years seen new life with businesses such as Raclettes Parisian Bistro moving in. But long gone are the bright signs that helped make this part of Main Street “Buffalo’s great white way,” considered the greatest display of dazzling and flashing marquees and signs between New York and Chicago.
In 1950, there were more than 80 fur dealers in Buffalo, with a good handful of them inside the department stores on the block shown here.
The sign advertising furs, however, is not for a downtown furrier. The illuminated sign for Sidney Mursten Furs advertises the fur coat showroom he operated for more than 40 years at 41 Richmond Ave.
Mursten was also a thoroughbred owner at Fort Erie Racetrack. At the start of the 1958 racing season, Mursten told Courier-Express sports legend Phil Ranallo that his eight horses “all have gleaming coats.”
Howard Kredit Jewelers’ sign is clearly visible, as is the end of Kay Jewelers big sign all the way to the left. Jacobi Brothers men's furnishings was in the middle of the block. Jaconi Brothers was among the first of the downtown stores to branch out into the suburbs in places like Thruway Plaza and South Shore Plaza.
WBNY Radio, a small low-power station at 1400am, was on the fifth and sixth floors of the Nellany Building. Despite its tiny signal, WBNY had a big impact on the history of Buffalo radio. The station was the dial spot where Buffalonians first heard broadcasting legends such as Dan Neaverth and John Otto. It was also the first radio station in Western New York to try a full-time Top 40 rock 'n' roll format.
At the time of the change, News Critic J. Don Schlaerth moaned, “Station WBNY, described as ‘the friendly voice of Buffalo,’ seems to have given in to the noisy bounce of rock 'n' roll and Elvis Presley to ‘keep up with 1957 musical tastes.’ "
Off in the distance are seen the illuminated signs of the Marine Trust Company and Gold Medal Flour. The Marine Trust headquarters building was near Main and Seneca, at a site currently covered by the former Marine Midland/now One Seneca Tower. The Gold Medal Flour sign was even further down Main Street atop one of the now-long-gone buildings closer to Memorial Auditorium.
Story topics: torn-down tuesday