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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

Bishop Fallon High School was one of a handful of Catholic high schools opening in Buffalo during the immediate postwar years. Formed in a merger between a diocesan program and Holy Angels Collegiate, the all-boys school opened with 272 students in 1950. The Main Street campus had been home to St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute for decades before St. Joe’s moved to K…

History

Typically, when Buffalo Bob Smith enthusiastically shouted the question, “Say kids, what time is it?” the answer enthusiastically shouted back was, “It's Howdy Doody Time!” That wasn’t the case in this series of Bells Markets TV ads from the early 1970s. “It’s Bells Supermarket Time,” the peanut gallery shouted from the vegetable aisle at Bells. https://www.youtub…

History

Today, Church Street between Franklin and Pearl streets is an urban canyon, with the Prudential/Guaranty Building and the New York Telephone building to the south, and the Rath Building and Main Place Towers to the north. The view in 1880 was about to change drastically, but for the moment looked a lot like it had for more than 50 years – back to a time when Buffalo…

History

The original Lafayette Square Theatre, on the northeast corner of Lafayette Square at Washington and Broadway, was built in 1901. It held 1,600 people in balcony seats – there was no gallery. It was devoted “entirely to the burlesque” when it was opened, although by 1916, it was hosting baseball fans when the Bisons were out of town. A “paragon playograph” was set u…

History

Even removing any social justice or political overtones, as a community, Buffalo has a tortured relationship with national chains, especially chain restaurants. On one hand, we are proud of our superlative and eclectic local dining scene, and we are very encouraging and protective of our Western New York neighbors trying to make it in the slim-margin restaurant world. …

History

With an influx of people speaking languages other than English in Buffalo during the 1910s and '20s, civil service positions were created in Buffalo to provide city services to those who spoke Polish or Italian as their primary tongue. Civil service tests were offered specifically to Polish and Italian speakers to become police officers, especially in neighborhoods wher…

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. For most of Buffalo’s history, the easiest place to shop was Main Street downtown. Until the 1980s, the largest and best-stocked dry goods and department stores had names l…

History

The area shown in this Stuyvesant Plaza photo has changed much over the last 32 years. No longer standing are the Safeway locksmith and Fotomat kiosks, and the Mister Donut store was a Bakerman Donuts location in the '90s, and has been a Just Pizza location since then. The Your Host sign still stands, but for 20 years or so has advertised Chinese Kitchen instead. …

History

The people of Western New York have been fighting tolls on roads for about as long as there have been roads. In 1797, early Western New York pioneers began hacking through the wilderness along an ancient Native American trail to create what we now call Main Street, starting at Buffalo Harbor and running to Batavia. Its early importance as a travel route was underscor…

History

When Michael Shea decided to build a movie house in a neighborhood, it generally meant that the great theater owner saw some promise and some means to make some money there. Many followed him to invest in those areas. Fast forward a century later, and the story is the same for neighborhoods where the once-opulent Shea theaters have been renovated. In 1975, Shea’s Buf…

History

Twin Fair Department stores, owned and operated in Buffalo, first opened at Walden Avenue and Dick Road in Cheektowaga in 1956. By the time the '60s rolled around, there were four local locations. Over the next 10 years, Twin Fair continued to open stores and grow outside of Western New York by buying other discount retailers in Ohio and Connecticut. There were 375 Twin…

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 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 …

History

“Green Book” opened in movie theaters across the country over the weekend. It’s the story of a world-class black pianist on tour in the racially segregated South in the early '60s. The film’s title refers to a mid-20th century annual travel guide, compiled by Victor Green, that  acted as a GPS and Yelp for African-American motorists who might have difficulty finding ame…

History

With about a dozen or so locations over the decade-and-a-half the national chain was represented in Western New York, Red Barn was one of Buffalo’s more popular fast-food joints in the 1970s. When the store opened across Main Street from the UB South Campus (in a building that is now a Subway restaurant), an ad invited readers to “discover what’s new in delicious to…

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 in all its glory. Taken from the Watson Elevator of one of its neighbors out in the Buffalo Harbor, this image offers a photographic view from the same year the hand-drawn 1…