The History of Buffalo: A Chronology
Buffalo, New York

1971-1985

1664
1679
1689

1721

1722
1759
1774
1775
1780
1785
1786
1788
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1800
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1945
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1930
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1932
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1934
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1941
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1946
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1950
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1958
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1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966 1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000

2001
2002

INDEX

SOURCES


1971

Buffalo's Shirley M. Suber is the first African American woman to be hired as a pilot at United Airlines



The worst prison riot in U. S. history takes place in WNY. On September 9th, inmates at Attica Correctional Facility capture a section of the prison setting the stage for a four-day stalemate. On September 13th, under orders from Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the National Guard recapture the prison in a hail of gunfire. When the shooting stops, 43 persons - inmates and hostages alike - are dead.



The Buffalo Common Council awards a 15 year contract for cable television service in the city to the Courier Cable Company.



On March 20, a section of a parapet surrounding the landmark Ellicott Square Building crashes to the sidewalk. The stone falls ten stories and damages a sign, but fortunately no is hit.


Cathedral Park, adjoining St. Paul's Cathedral, is dedicated in October.


Half of the 18,000-man work force at Bethlehem Steel is permanently laid off. Lewis Foy, Bethlehem's president, will blame "oppressive taxes," unrealistic environmental laws," and most of all, "an uncooperative labor force."
1972 Buffalo State Office building, 65 Court St., Niagara Square, is renamed Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building. Mahoney was a member of New York State Senate, 1937-1964

Architects:
Edward B. Green and Son with Albert Hart Hopkins. Style: Art Deco.


Buffalo's last brewery, the Iroquois, closes.

1973 Frank Sedita, the longest serving mayor in Buffalo's history, from 1958-1973, leaves office due to health problems.


The Buffalo Bills move into Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, a football-only stadium demanded by owner Ralph Wilson. O.J. Simpson becomes the first professional football player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in one season; he receives Pro Bowl Outstanding Player Award

1974 City Court Building erected.
50 Delaware Avenue,
Niagara Square. Architects: Pfohl, Roberts and Biggie. Style: Brutalism.
The windowless walls, which present an impenetrable facade to Niagara square, are designed to protect the courtrooms and judges' chambers from outside distraction, as well as to accommodate sculpture and define space.

81-year-old Buffalo actress Catherine Cornell dies in June.


The Erie Basin Marina is constructed.

Buildings erected:


1975 The Buffalo Sabres make the Stanley Cup Finals but lose to the Philadelphia Flyers. In game 3, in Buffalo, a fog rises from the ice, and later a bat flies from the rafters and disrupts play.

During the season, the "French Connection" line of Gilbert Perrault, Richard Martin and Rene Robert score a club-record 113 goals during the regular season.


1976 Shea's Buffalo Theater is refurbished and opened to the public. This begins the revitalization of the Theater District in downtown Buffalo.

The Buffalo Board of Education begin Phase I of its voluntary plan to integrate the public schools. Part of the plan is to incorporate "magnet" schools into the educational system. These schools provide education tailored to the ability and desires of Buffalo's children



Buffalo Braves owner Paul Snyder sells half his interest to Kentucky businessman John Y. Brown.



1977 Buffalo makes national news as a result of "The Blizzard of '7T' that buries the city in snow and closes schools and businesses for a week. The blizzard is responsible for 28 deaths. By spring of the following year, a record of 199 inches snow will have fallen.


Construction to create the Buffalo Naval and Servicemen's Park (later named the Buffalo Naval and Military Park) is begun. It is completed and opened to the public on July 4, 1979. The guided missile cruiser U.S.S. Little Rock and the destroyer U.S.S. The Sullivans are on permanent display in the park's harbor. The submarine U.S.S. Croaker will be acquired in 1988 and will be refitted in 1989.


John Y. Brown, owner of the Buffalo Braves, moves the team to San Diego.
1978 State Senator James D. Griffin begins his term as mayor. Only mayor to serve four terms (1978-1994). Living his entire life in the First Ward, Griffin worked as a grain miller and as a railroad engineer before turning politician.

In August news reports first appear that an abandoned, filled-in waterway known as "Love Canal" in Niagara falls contains deadly chemicals that are seeping into the basements of homes built on the site. The chemicals had been dumped into the old canal in the 40s and 50s by the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp.



Three Buffalo police officers and four other men are charged with the June 1977 beating death of Richard Long of Buffalo. 4 men, including one of the officers are acquitted. Later a Supreme Court finds the three others guilty of criminally negligent homicide.



The Buffalo Convention Center is opened.


1979 Near the Erie Basin Marina, the Naval and Servicemen's Park is opened featuring a W.W.II destroyer and cruiser as it s principal attraction.



The late 1970s and early 1980s see even more ambitious plans for the revitalization of downtown, including the construction of government-subsidized hotels and office buildings and a new rapid transit system.

Construction of the new Light Rail Rapid Transit system is begun. The system, featuring new stations decorated with public art, is completed at the end of 1984. The first segment is in operation in 1985.

The heavy-handed and slow pace of building the six-mile-long system causes more financial hardship and losses to downtown businesses than anybody had ever imagined.



Professional baseball return with the Double "A' Eastern League team, the Buffalo Bisons.



The Stallions, in the Major Indoor Soccer League, plays its first game in Memorial Auditorium.


1980 Buffalo's black community is terrorized in September by a gunman who came to be known as the ".22-Caliber Killer" kills 6 blacks between September and January In April of 1981, Joseph Christopher, a 26-year old white army private, is charged. About a year later, he is found guilty.


1981 Buffalonian Charlie "The Tuna" Chapman becomes the first black Americana to swim the English Channel.


The first IBM-PC invented.



Standard Milling, a Kansas City-based company, closes its Buffalo mill, the largest in the city. Still, Buffalo, with its daily capacity of ten million bushels, remains the leading flour production center in the United States.

1982

Buffalo celebrates its 150th birthday (sesquicentennial) as a city. .



New bridge spanning Chautauqua Lake opens between Bemus Point and Stowe.



The Courier Express, Buffalo's morning newspaper which dated back to 1834, ceases publication leaving Buffalo with only one daily newspaper, The Buffalo News.



The economic decline was relentless throughout the late seventies and early eighties. For now added to the problems of steel were those of the automobile industry. Mismanagement had brought the American automobile industry to the brink of ruin, crippling its ability to compete with its rivals in Europe and Japan. Now, faced with
dwindling sales, the auto companies joined Bethlehem Steel in drastically slashing even the more senior members of their labor force. Thousands were laid off and by early 1982 barely skeleton work crews maintained General Motors, Ford, and Bethlehem.

There can be no question but that the decline of Buffalo's economy is related to the decline that is affecting all of industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

1983

Goldome is formed by Buffalo Savings Bank, and soon becomes the largest thrift in the nation in consumer and commercial finance, and the 11th largest mortgage banking company.

Bethlehem Steel Company closes its Lackawanna steel making facility. The coke ovens and byproducts division, coal strip mill, 13" and 12" bar mills, and the galvanizing department still remain.

Bethlehem's Lackawanna plant employment had declined from almost 20,000 in 1965 to 8,500 in 1977 before further declining to a skeleton crew in 1982. The loss of these jobs results in a major fiscal crisis for the City of Lackawanna and a crisis for Buffalo and towns in Erie County. The effect on the local economy is significant.


1984 Republic Steel Corporation Buffalo plant closes.

Bethlehem's 12"bar mill closes.

1985

May 18, the first segment of the Buffalo Light Rail Rapid Transit System opens. Construction took six years, disrupted business along Main street, and made driving downtown a motorist's hell on wheels



Buffalonian Herbert Hauptman awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for devising mathematical methods to determine crystal structures - an advance that promises to pinpoint the causes of many genetic illnesses.

See also:



Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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