Buffalo History - Buildings

Preservation Ready Survey of Buildings Downtown, Northland and Fougeron / Urban Survey Areas
City of Buffalo, Erie County, New York
December 2013
Section 3, pp. 16-26

(See also: History Overview and Historical Context from the same survey)

Municipal Buildings.  Section 3, p. 16

The last decades of the nineteenth century were marked by a boom of construction. Extending into the early twentieth century, new building included the Erie County Savings Bank,
the Prudential Building,
the Ellicott Square Building,
the Chamber of Commerce Building,
the Brisbane Building,
the German Insurance Company,
the Library Building,
the D.C. Morgan Building,
the Mutual Life Building,
the Statler Hotel,
the Iroquois Hotel,
the Buffalo Savings Bank,
the Buffalo Evening News Building,
the Fidelity Building,
the 65th Regimental Armory,
the New York Telephone Company Building
on Pearl Street, and
the Electric Company at Genesee Street and Washington Square.

Part of this post-Civil War construction activity, Franklin Square was chosen as one of the building sites for the construction of city and county offices. In 1875 the City and County Office Building was finished at a cost of $2 million. Completed in 1875 on Franklin Square, Old Erie County Hall once served as municipal offices for both the City of Buffalo and Erie County. City government vacated building for the present-day City Hall in 1928. A new county office building was completed on the west side of old county hall in 1965.
Niagara Square.  Section 3, p. 17

The home of city government in the twentieth century, the buildings along Niagara Square are located near federal and state governmental offices, and are just west along Court Street from Lafayette Square and Main Street and their important businesses and structures (i.e., Ellicott Square Building, Liberty Building, Rand Building, Lafayette Hotel, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library). This general area is effectively marked as the city’s civic center.

Joseph Ellicott’s design for New Amsterdam featured several areas where streets radiated from a central point. Ellicott had served with his brother Andrew as part of the surveying team preparing the federal city of Washington under the plan developed by Pierre L’Enfant, which featured similar arrangements of streets. Niagara Square, which is really a circle (as is Lafayette Square), featured eight streets radiating from it: Delaware Street (later Avenue), Schimmilpennick Avenue (Niagara Street), Busti Avenue (Genesee Street), and Cazenovia Avenue (Court Street); the street initially retained their names entering and leaving the square..

Twentieth- century construction (e.g., the erection of City Hall along the west side of the Square at the start of the Great Depression) disrupted Ellicott’s radial plan at numerous locations, Niagara Square being one of them. Jerge Street and Perkins Street were added after Court and Genesee streets were interrupted. During the early nineteenth century this area was a residential area for leading Buffalonians, and included Samuel Wilkeson’s residence, the recently demolished Barker/Chandler House, and later Millard Fillmore house. During the late nineteenth century, larger hotels and institutional structures were arrayed around its streets and included the Fillmore Hotel, several educational institutions, and the Women’s Christian Association Building. Beginning in 1907 with the erection of the McKinley monument, the area began to acquire a more civic focus and included the construction of Buffalo City Hall, the Statler Hotel, the Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, the Buffalo Athletic Club, and the 1936 Federal Courthouse Building (later a post office), among others.
Main Street. Section 3, pp. 18-20

Main Street was extended over Big Buffalo Creek to Lake Erie ca. 1835 and macadamized during the last years of the 1830s.

Buffalo developer Benjamin Rathbun erected the Webster Block on the east side of Main Street at the southern end of the Downtown survey area in 1835, among his numerous construction projects in the city. During the period 1835-1836, Rathbun erected 99 buildings, including 52 stores, 32 dwellings and a theater. Constructed for Joy & Webster, the Webster Block of four-story brick buildings comprised seventeen stores, wholesale and retail houses dealing in groceries, dry goods, and other commodities. In addition to the stores, moderately priced hotels for immigrants and sailors were constructed in the area and included Huff’s Hotel and Traveler’s Home at the corner of Main and Scott streets.

Located near the present Erie County Convention Center, the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Buffalo was founded along Main Street in April 26, 1852. This facility was only the third in North America and the second in the United States (Montreal and Boston were the first and second sites, respectively.)

Contributing to this growth was the creation of several horse-drawn, steam, and later electric railways that ran through the City of Buffalo. A line operated along Main Street to Ferry Street between 1847 and 1860. The Niagara Streetcar Company laid iron rails for its cars beginning in 1860, although it is not known whether the company had the use of Main Street. The Buffalo Street Railway Company operated a horse-drawn service along Main Street between Genesee Street and the docks at Buffalo Creek beginning in July 1860. The line was extended to Delaware Park by 1879. By 1884 more than 40 miles of track were in use for streetcars, employing 350 men and 730 horses to operate 120 cars. The International Railway Company, a local street railway, was the first electric railway in the city in November 1896. The advent of the electric streetcar and the laying of miles of track helped not only the ability of people to circulate through the city, but provided an impetus to centralize the business/retail, entertainment and other commercial interests of Buffalo along Main Street near these lines.

By 1868 commercial interests dominated the Main Street streetscape and included a variety of establishments: milliners, grocers, a cutlery store, hardware stores, banks, a plumber, haberdasheries, dry goods stores, a confectioner, a furniture store, a tobacconist, a liquor store, a botanical drug store, and a purveyor of chinaware. Most of these commercial interests were located in brick or brick and frame buildings ranging from three to four stories. Areas a block or two from Main Street also housed a variety of enterprises, including commercial and industrial ventures, mixed with residences. East of Main Street, for example, a birdcage factory was documented at 510 Washington Street and Washington Savings Bank was recorded at 437-439 Washington Street. A coffin factory, bakery, a boot shop and a book binder were located on the same block. The Hersee Furniture Factory was first recorded on the 1868 map at the foot of East Mohawk Street, on the east side of Ellicott Street at Hersee Alley. A brewery also was identified at 20 Broadway and a saloon was located next door. The Machine Shop and Brass Works was first recorded in 1868 at 46-48 Broadway and a dyers shop was located at 50 Broadway. The cast-iron front German Insurance Building was erected on Lafayette Square and Main Street in 1875.

After the Civil War, the establishments along lower Main Street as well as those in proximity were a mix of small stores on the first floors with factories, warehouses and apartments on the upper stories. In 1866, George Moore & Son operated a dairy store at 65 Main Street; Bush & Howard ran a leather dealership at 91 Main Street; Johnson & Klein had a dealership of general produce at 93 Main Street; the Union Stove Works, under the proprietorship of George B. Bull & Co., operated a warehouse of home furnishings at 95 Main Street. In addition, F.S. Pease sold paint and oil from his establishment at 61-63 Main Street; F. Colligon ran the Eagle Brass Foundry from the corner of Perry and Washington streets; and John T. Noye operated the Buffalo Mill Furnishing at the corner of Scott and Washington streets.

Beginning in the late nineteenth century, homes in the city’s central business district were replaced by buildings housing commercial, banking, and insurance operations as well as light industrial buildings. At the time, Main Street in the 500- to 700-block area (north of Lafayette Square) was densely populated with both commercial buildings and residences. In the 1880s, the Brunswicke-Balke-Collender Company manufactured billiard tables at its 597 Main Street factory.

In 1893, Seymour H. Knox opened a store at 519 Main Street after his original store at 409 Main Street was destroyed by fire. Less than two years later, Knox relocated his five-and- dime to 395 Main Street. Later, he later merged his store with that of his cousin, who owned Woolworth’s.

This expanse of Main Street is treated as the Theater District Historic Preservation District. The Theatre Historic District is centered on the 600 and 700 blocks of Main Street between Goodell and Chippewa streets and represents the height of Buffalo’s commercial and entertainment pre-eminence between the 1880s and 1940s, and includes The Courier Express Building, the former Greyhound bus terminal, Shea’s Buffalo Theater, and Market Arcade. The area was primarily residential until the middle of the nineteenth century, and became increasingly commercial during the century as commercial and manufacturing operations relocated from those areas in proximity to the waterfront and residential areas moved farther to the north and east. During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century this area was home to a prominent jewelry store in the Dickinson Building, the Wurlitzer store in a former carriage factory, a patent medicine factory and convalescent hospital (The Pierce Building at 651-661 Main Street), and the former Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company showroom (in the Vernor Building), as well as numerous theaters, such as Shea’s Buffalo Theater, a former movie house.

As the downtown area drew business and retail enterprises, a boom in the construction of office buildings ensued, transforming the character of Main Street from a frame-and-brick, commercial-residential mix to large, steel-and-stone, corporate offices and businesses. Two structures erected in 1896 mark the beginning of the transition: The Guaranty Building (a National Historic Landmark), one of the first modern skyscrapers designed by Louis Sullivan, located on Church Street in Buffalo; and the Ellicott Square Building, at the time the world’s largest office building covering a block comprising Main, Swan, Washington and South Division streets (designed by Daniel Burnham). In 1904 Frank Lloyd Wright completed the Larkin Administrative Building, the headquarters for the Larkin Soap Company on Seneca Street.  The Market Arcade building, designed by E.B. Green and William Wicks, was erected in 1892 and the Brisbane Building on Main Street had been completed in 1895.

The 500-block of Main Street and the three-story commercial buildings on East Genesee Street represent the small-scale vernacular commercial buildings that once comprised much of the city’s central business district. This gradual transformation was replicated for properties along Washington, Ellicott and Oak streets, and land use shifted from scattered, small-scale commercial buildings and residences to a compressed area of large, auxiliary commercial loft buildings and light industrial buildings. Additions to the city-scape included the Buffalo Savings Bank at 545 Main Street in 1901; the Lafayette Hotel on Lafayette Square in 1904; the Hippodrome Theatre on Main and Huron streets in 1904; the Statler Hotel across from the Ellicott Square Building in 1906; the Sidway Building at 775 Main Street in 1907; and the General Electric Tower (formerly the Niagara Mohawk Building) on Washington Street in 1912.  In the early twentieth century, warehouses were constructed along Washington Street to support the retail industry, whereas light industrial enterprises emerged on Ellicott Street.

During the mid-to late nineteenth century, the area west of Main Street shared a similar building stock of mix of vernacular commercial buildings and dwellings with that on the east side. However, buildings constructed on this side in the early twentieth century were distinguished from those of the east by their location and use. This section of the city became the retail shopping district as a result of its proximity to the offices of the financial and government districts of the city. Large department stores, such as Hens and Kelly, L.L. Berger, Edward’s, and Woolworth’s replaced smaller commercial buildings on the west side of Main Street. These multi-storied retail houses extended their operations with either additional frontage or ancillary storage warehouses on Pearl Street. During the first half of the twentieth century, businesses associated with several of Buffalo’s major industries occupied lots between Broadway and Genesee Street east of Main Street.

In the early twentieth century, while parts of Main Street attracted corporate skycrapers and business and banking construction, lower Main Street area saw increased development as part of the growing influence of the railroad. The Lehigh Valley Railroad constructed a railroad yard and a station north of the Erie Canal east of Main Street.

Twentieth Century. Section 3, pp. 20-23

At the beginning of the twentieth century, areas south of Exchange Street and the Terrace were solidly in rails as both the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the New York Central Railroad controlled extensive yards with freight and passenger operations. In 1917, the Lehigh Valley Railroad opened its passenger terminal on what is now the Donovan Block. Industries within the Cobblestone District included Case & Son Radiator Factory, at the site of the former Jewett molding shop at Elk and Mississippi streets; Wegner Machine Company at Perry and Liberty streets; the DL&W Railroad freight house between Liberty and Columbia streets; Schoellkopf & Company tannery north of Perry Street between Mississippi and Liberty streets.

The DL&W had laid tracks along the river from Main Street to its coal yards north of Erie Street and the New York Central had a shipping facility near the Coit Slip. During this period, the freight-carrying capacity of Buffalo’s various railroads had eclipsed that of the Erie Canal, and areas along the canal and waterfront declined and became a warren of decrepit buildings, and towering grain elevators.

In addition to the growth of the railroads, the improvements in grain-elevator construction methods, the advent of electric power, and the relocation of Lackawanna Steel to the Lake Erie shore, south of the Buffalo city limits in what is now the City of Lackawanna, propelled Buffalo to increased industrial growth and manufacturing expansion after World War I.

By this time, the commercial areas along the canal had been transformed into residential areas, with tenements built to house Italians and other immigrants. In 1926, the Commercial Slip, the connection between Lake Erie and the Erie Canal and the linchpin of Buffalo’s nineteenth-century economic success, was filled. In addition, between 1927 and 1937 the Erie Canal was gradually filled, usually with garbage and debris, although parts of it were still open north of Porter Avenue in the 1950s.

Although flour had been milled in Buffalo since 1826, flour milling expanded dramatically during the first decades of the twentieth century, rising from a few thousand barrels at the beginning of the century to more than 12 million barrels of flour and 480,000 tons of wheat in 1930 (1 barrel of flour equals 4.7 bushels of wheat). In 1923, 270 million bushels of grain passed through the waterfront area.

By the end of the 1920s, 39 variously sized grain elevators were situated along the Buffalo River and around the harbor, including those operated by Washburn-Crosby (now General Mills), Pillsbury, George Urban Milling Co., and Hecker-Jones-Jewell Milling Co., among others. In addition to milling operations, cereal companies were also located in the city, including Hecker H-O Company, the Mapl-Flake Company, and the Shredded Wheat Company. Near South Park Avenue (formerly Elk Street), east of Michigan Avenue, the H-O Oats mill complex opened in 1893, with the main mill in operation by 1907. The facility expanded with buildings erected in 1912, 1928, and 1931, but was demolished in 2006 for the proposed Seneca Buffalo Creek casino project (which was recently completed).

In addition to grain, in 1928, more than 750,000 tons of anthracite coal from Pennsylvania arrived in Buffalo by rail for transshipment westward on emptied grain ships, which also carried iron and steel products and automobiles. The opening of a deeper and wider Welland Ship Canal in 1932 began to erode Buffalo’s leadership in the shipment of grain.

In the 1920s in general, Buffalo’s vibrant industrial economy attracted other manufacturing concerns, such as the Curtiss-Wright Aeroplane Company (which employed more than 2,000 people in the 1920s), the burgeoning automotive industry employed more than 15,000 workers, various machine shops and foundries employed 13,000, meat-packing industries employed 3,000 workers as did the soap-making industries, but many of these operations were not located downtown near the waterfront.

The city had a population of 506,775 in 1920. During the 1920s, prominent buildings constructed along Main street included the Liberty Bank Building in 1925; the NRHP- listed Shea’s Buffalo Center for the Performing Arts in 1926; the Rand Building in 1929; and the Courier-Express Building at 785 Main Street in 1930.

At the beginning of 1930s, the waterfront area on both sides of Main Street south of Exchange Street was considered a slum, especially after the New York Central Railroad relocated its passenger terminal farther east. With the station closed, businesses catering to the station’s clientele fell on hard times. The War Memorial Auditorium was erected along the west side of Main Street at the former confluence on the Erie Canal and the Commercial Slip between 1938 and 1940.

The economic expansion during the early twentieth century was felt all along Main Street and in the northern portion of the Downtown survey area. For example, M. Wile & Company, retailer of ready-made, mass-produced men’s clothing, erected a building on the southeast corner of Ellicott and Goodell streets in 1924. The four-story structure was designed by Buffalo architectural firm Esenwein & Johnson and “introduced state-of-the-art industrial architecture into a traditionally German-immigrant community where it proudly manifested the rise to success of its German-born owner”.  The factory was erected on the former site of the College Creche, which was the second child day-care center in Buffalo, and occupied the home of Solomon Scheu, a prominent Buffalo jurist of German descent. “At the time of its construction by a prominent member of this community [Buffalo’s German-American] (which made up forty percent of the city’s population), the M. Wile & Company Factory building ranked as a landmark of the German section of Buffalo”. By 1920, the firm employed more than 250 workers. It remained in operation until 1999.

In addition, Trico (Tri-Continental Products, later Trico Products Corp.) constructed a manufacturing plant along Ellicott and Goodell streets over a period of about thirty years, with modifications continuing through their occupancy. Trico was founded by John Oishei in 1917. Oishei and inventor John Jepson developed and manufactured the first automotive windshield- wiper blades, and ca. 1920 moved their factory into the former Weyand brewery building on Ellicott Street. The advent of Prohibition in 1920 did irrevocably damage to the success of Buffalo’s brewing industry. Christian Weyand, a brewer since 1868, had expanded onto Ellicott Street from Main Street about 1890; the brewery closed in 1920. The Trico plant on Ellicott Street was an accretion of buildings, which by 1937 occupied the entire block bordered by Goodell Street, Ellicott Street, Burton Place, and Washington Street. The company originally employed 35 workers and it continued success enabled it to employ more than 4,600 by 1950 (Ross and Kowsky 2000b). The plant remained in operation until 1998.

While the Belt Line and the interurbans liberated many workers from residing near their places of employment and provided for the geographical expansion of businesses within the city, Main Street still served to divide the East Side from the West Side. So much so that by the end of the nineteenth century, the area east of Main Street was perceived as “foreign, exotic, mysterious, and dangerous”; the place where immigrants and foreigners—Poles, Germans, Irish and Italians—as well as black and Eastern European Jews lived. Later, as German and Polish workers followed industry and relocated from the East Side to Black Rock, among other places, “William [Street] was lined with Jewish businesses: bakeries, butcher shops, barber shops, bicycle shops, dry goods stores, clothing stores, tailors, and shoe repair shops (until forced out by Italian competition, shoe-making was quite a Jewish business). Almost a dozen synagogues stood in the area by 1920”.  Buffalo’s small black community remained clustered around the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church and the AME Church and school on Vine Alley. During World War I, however, black immigration to Buffalo would grow sharply.

From 1880 to 1920 Buffalo’s population increased from 155,134 to 506,775. During this period, its black population rose from 857 to 4,511, and to approximately 9,000 in 1925.  Much like European immigrants who had settled in areas where others who shared their heritage and language lived, black immigrants created a distinct “Negro” district on the East Side after 1900. “The core of this area was the established black community in the lower East Side which by the early twentieth century included William Street, South Division, Michigan Avenue, and Broadway”. Paralleling the German East Side during the late nineteenth century, a plethora of black-owned businesses, including hotels, nightclubs, funeral parlors, cleaners, drug stores, restaurants, candy stores, saloons, and a theater, developed to cater to the area’s residents.

During the twentieth century, the residential situation became increasingly segregated. In 1915, blacks lived in 21 of Buffalo’s 27 wards, although they were more concentrated in Wards 6 and 7, near downtown. By the end of the 1930s “African Americans increasingly were restricted to two areas of settlement within the city, the Ellicott and Masten Park districts, both of which had been recently abandoned by various immigrant groups”. The city’s black population continued to increase during the 1940s, drawn to employment opportunities at Buffalo’s numerous industrial operations, rising from 18,000 to 24,000 between 1940 and 1945, and to more than 37,000 in 1950. Most of this population increase was located east of Main Street.

Post-World War II Period.  Section 3, pp. 23-26

During this period, the grain/flour-products and chemical industries remained ensconced along the western oxbows of the Buffalo River, while the steel and chemical industries were located farther to the east (notably the Republic Steel conglomeration) and the south in Lackawanna. Despite a seemingly vibrant economy in the 1940s, a long economic decline for the city had been underway since before World War II. Near the waterfront, the DL&W coal yard, the J.W. Clement Co. printing plant, and the U.S. Coast Guard base were located at the entrance to Buffalo Harbor, while the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. occupied the former DL&W freight house along the river west of Main Street.

This decline witnessed the gradual relocation of important companies to neighboring states or outright closure (such as Bethlehem Steel in the 1980s), a decrease of the city’s population from 580,132 in 1950 to 532,132 in 1960, and an increasing suburbanization of Erie County (the county’s population exceeded one million in 1960).  During the decade of the 1950s more than 80,000 white residents of Buffalo moved out of the city, while at the same time the number of black residents increased 36,645 in 1950 to more than 70,000 in 1960.

The area near Erie Street and the Evans Ship Canal saw the construction of the Dante Place public housing (at one time called Fairhaven Village, but renamed Marine Drive apartments) between 1950 and 1952. By 1955, most of the former Canal District structures had been razed, except for the former DL&W freight house and a scattering of structures along Dante Place. By 1981, all aboveground vestiges of Buffalo’s historic Canal District had disappeared.  Perry Boulevard was constructed over the former Erie Canal right-of-way.

While the economy slowly declined, a general boom in large-scale, public construction projects changed living patterns in the city and region beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. These included the Small Boat Harbor in 1952, the Skyway (the elevated portion of New York State Route 5), which was completed in the mid-1950s (opening in 1955), the extension of the New York State Thruway into the Southtowns and the construction of the Niagara Extension of the Thruway (I- 190). As cars replaced trains as the primary mode of travel, the Lehigh Valley Railroad ceased services in Buffalo by the late 1950s. Its huge Main Street station had closed 1952 and was razed in the late 1950s for construction of a new state office building—the Donovan State Office Building was completed in 1962. It was named for Buffalo-born Major General William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan (1883-1959). By the early 1960s, many structures within the formal Canal District and along Main Street had been razed, leaving large open lots. Structures within the Webster Block were razed by 1970 as part of a waterfront revitalization project.

During the early 1960s, construction of the Kensington Expressway was initiated to connect downtown Buffalo to the airport along Genesee Street in the Town of Cheektowaga. The first portion was constructed between Best Street and Michigan Avenue and the remainder was completed by ca. 1965. The road was then renamed New York Route 33. During the late 1970s, one-way ramps (on and off) connected the Kensington Expressway with Oak and Elm streets. Despite these efforts, economic decline persisted throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, large, important industrial conglomerations continued to relocate to neighboring states or close outright (such as Bethlehem Steel, Hanna Furnace, Republic/LTV Steel, and Shenango, Inc. in the 1980s), leaving behind the underutilized grain elevators to stand watch over extensive brownfields north of the Tifft Nature Preserve.

By 1965, increasing residential segregation after World War II had upset the racial balance in Buffalo’s public schools, and a class-action lawsuit was filed by a group of parents seeking to correct the situation. It was reported at that time that Buffalo had the fourth most segregated school system in the North. Federal Judge John Curtin ruled that the school system had to reintegrate. A confluence of misery—poor housing, overcrowding (Buffalo’s black population had risen to more than 100,000 by 1967), a lack of economic opportunity, and segregated housing and schools—was undermining the city, and Buffalo’s black community exploded at the end of June 1967. Riots roiled the East Side from June 26 through July 1, shutting the city down. Cars were overturned and burned, store windows smashed, stores looted, and people shot, although no one was killed. Also during the period, the grain, steel, chemical, and automobile industries closed factories and plants throughout the city and water-borne commerce sank.

At present, Michigan Avenue is largely a commercial/industrial corridor, lined with vacant lots and abandoned storefronts. The southern end of Michigan Avenue has been designated Harriet Tubman Way. The nearby Ellicott Street is largely a commercial/residential corridor, lined with vacant/parking lots and structures associated with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). The area adjacent to Michigan Avenue and Ellicott Street, north of the Kensington Expressway is known as Hospital Hill and contains three primary medical centers: Buffalo General Hospital (which has been at this site since 1855); The Roswell Park Cancer Institute (founded in 1898 as a cancer research laboratory in the University of Buffalo [UB] School of Medicine); and the Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute on High Street. The 100- acre BNMC also contains elements of Kaleida Health, UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and Roswell Park’s Center for Genetics and Pharmacology (which opened in June 2006), as well as 15 public and private life sciences and biotech companies.  North of Osmose at Ellicott and Edna streets (980 Ellicott), the one-time site of malt houses of the German American Brewing Company, Ellicott Street becomes residential.

Located along the waterfront, the NHL Edward M. Cotter Fireboat is located under the Michigan Avenue bridge at 155 Ohio Street. Designated as Buffalo Engine 20, the fireboat is named in honor of a former firefighters’ union president. Constructed and launched in 1900 as the William S. Grattan from Elizabeth, New Jersey, the fireboat “is the only firefighting apparatus that can reach much of Buffalo’s waterfront”.  She also serves as an ice breaker on the river. It is the oldest fireboat operating on the Great Lakes, and the oldest left in service in the US.

Despite the departure of several prominent private-sector employers, construction of prominent buildings continues in the Downtown survey area during the 1970s and 1980s. Buffalo’s waterfront and areas along Main Street witnessed the construction several large development projects, including The Buffalo News building at Washington and Scott streets (1973), the Erie Basin Marina (1974), the Erie County Convention Center (1978), the Naval and Serviceman’s Park and Museum (1979), the light rail rapid transit system along Main Street (completed in 1985; which eliminated vehicular traffic from Main Street), the downtown baseball stadium (1980s; currently named Coca Cola Field), the HSBC Atrium (1990), and what is now the First Niagara Center at the foot of Main Street (1996) .

In the first decades of the twenty-first century, development efforts to revitalize the waterfront have continued and extended beyond the historic Canal District to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. These initiatives have led to the creation of the current Canalside area, which includes the relocated Naval & Military Park and museum, the rewatered Commercial Slip, and the creation of a wharf extending from the Commercial Slip to near Main Street (the location of the nineteenth-century Central Wharf). Further, 2009 witnessed the razing of the Memorial Auditorium for a proposed retail development, and new development continues at present with the reconstruction of the Donovan Building and the construction of the Seneca Buffalo Creek casino near Michigan Avenue and the HarborCenter project across from the First Niagara Center.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2016
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