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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon, communications professional, pop culture historian, and publisher of BuffaloStories.com, tells the stories of Buffalo's past through The News' BN Chronicles. He is a local radio and TV veteran, historian and author of five books.


History

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 Y…

History

Watching TV rarely gets you on the front page of the paper, but it seems appropriate that it did for the staff at Jenss Twin-Ton Department store 50 years ago next week. That man would step foot on the moon is an unimaginable, superlative, epoch-defining feat in human history. But that more than half a billion would watch it happen live on their television sets made it …

History

If you’ve turned on a television in Buffalo lately, you’ve probably formed an opinion of George Costello. He’s the man who seems to find time in every commercial break to tell you, in his own very distinct style, that he sells mattresses for less — a lot less. His hard sell on soft bedding reminds many of another mattress store owner/TV pitchman who filled Buffalo’s…

History

After more than 50 years in business first on Buffalo’s East Side and then in West Seneca, Scharf’s served its last potato pancake last week. Tucked away on a side street behind Schiller Park, most Buffalonians hadn’t heard about Scharf’s German cuisine until Janice Okun wrote about it in 1979, about a dozen years after it opened. She only gave it two stars, but des…

History

It was big and loud. According to the Buffalo Courier, Independence Day 1915 was ushered in with “the loudest and most unanimous noise in the history of Buffalo.” Church bells, street car gongs, and factory whistles erupted at dawn along with locomotive and steamboat whistles. At 9 a.m., there was a 48-gun salute at Fort Porter — the current site of the Peace Bridge,…

History

It still happens today, but not nearly as much as it used to: Buffalonians pointing out the irony in celebrating America’s birthday by heading to Canada for the July Fourth holiday. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of the last summer of Crystal Beach amusement park. For more than 100 years, one of the big draws bringing Western New Yorkers to nearby Canada all …

History

John H. Montgomery was Buffalo’s best-known and best-equipped ship chandler for more than 40 years. For most of those years, his business was based on the Marine Block on a part of Ohio Street that no longer exists as a street – just past the fire house adjacent to the mooring spot of the Edward M. Cotter under the Michigan Avenue bridge. Boys from all over the city …

History

In 1976, WBEN-TV was at the cutting edge of video technology when it built a satellite ground station. Few other television stations around the country invested so heavily in a transmission medium they saw as a threat to traditional terrestrial television, but Les Arries, Channel 4's president and general manager, was a visionary and a pioneer. For some time, the Buffal…

History

Until the fall of 1884, if you had heard the word cocaine, you would have known it as a patent medicine manufactured from coconuts meant to help prevent baldness. But readers of the Buffalo Commercial in November 1884 became the first Western New Yorkers to know about a brand-new anesthetic medicine created in Germany and brought into this country only weeks earlier. …

History

There’s plenty going on in this color snapshot in time. The futuristic Skyway is being built to help carry the 2 million people who will be living in Greater Buffalo over the next 15 years. The St. Lawrence Seaway is under construction, but so long as we “Boost Buffalo,” we should be OK. Upon close inspection, there are at least 15 lake freighters shown, filled with …

History

Through work on "Star Trek" and "Boston Legal" with a little "T.J. Hooker" and a few Priceline commercials thrown in, William Shatner and his cheeky personality have grown into an elite level of stardom and entertainment royalty as he approaches 90 years old. Back up 40 or 50 years ago, and the situation is slightly different. Although the show was still popular in …

History

Plenty of inquires come to the Torn-Down Tuesday desk, usually starting with the phrase, "Do you remember?" The emails come to me after Google searches, social media queries and maybe even sleepless nights of wonder. A handful of times over the last several years, there have been inquires about "the plane on top of the building" somewhere near the Kenmore border. Tha…

History

On this National Donut Day, we whip out the Yellow Pages of yore to look at where we might have gone for a dozen way back when. There were 16 entries under the heading "Doughnuts" in the 1969-70 Buffalo telephone directory, including some longtime favorites such as Mayflower Doughnut Shop on Main Street downtown and Jet Doughnuts on Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda. T…

History

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. This week, county parks crews announced that goats are being employed to maintain brush in Como Lake Park in Lancaster – an effort for which there is historical precedent. …

History

Technically, the Richmond Avenue Raceway was never torn down. As the age of horse and sleigh gave way to the automobile, racing just faded away on Richmond Avenue. “The Avenue” was a newly developed part of the city in 1879 when former Buffalo mayors Solomon Scheu and George Clinton petitioned the city to rename the street in honor of Dean Richmond. He was a Buffalo bus…