Buffalo in the 50s: Postcards from Hamburg

By Steve Cichon

While it was certainly just happenstance of when the photographer showed up to snap the images, the tropical turquoise paint of the ’57 Chevy parked on Buffalo Street on the “lusterchrome” full color postcards immediately sets you in a specific place and time.

Buffalo Street looking north, postcard from the Buffalo Stories collection.

During this era, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce brought together 27 downtown Hamburg stores to remain open late on Thursday and Friday nights to make shopping in the village easier and more attractive.

Many of the names with bring back memories as sharply as the classic color of that classic car. Many of the 27 stores open late are visible on the in the images.

They were A&P, Nu-Way, Ben Franklin Store, Carol-Ann Shop, Castiglia’s Jewelry and Music Center, Clockwise Cleaners, Emerling’s Shoe Store, Garrow’s Wallpaper & Paints, Growing Up Shop, Hamburg Appliance Co., Harold’s Men’s & Boys’ Wear, Herold’s Meat Market, Kenmore Boot Shop,: Kronenberg’s, Inc., Lattimer’s Shoe Store, Latson’s Outdoor Store, Lindholm’s Jewelry, The Little Shop, McConnells Jewelers, Sattler’s Appliance Branch, Moore’s Men’s Wear, The Sherwin-Williams Co., The Stork Shop, The Atlas, Western Auto, Zahm’s. D-C Shop, Hamburg Sports and Floor Covering, and Singer Sewing Center.

Main Street looking west, postcard from the Buffalo Stories collection.

These two views of Hamburg during the “Happy Days” era of the late 1950s were created by Tichnor Brothers, one of America’s leading producers of postcards. They were sold exclusively at Zahm’s 5¢ to $1 Store at 37 Main St.

The name Zahm’s has a long history in Hamburg business.

Zahm’s Variety was founded by Phillip Zahm in the early 1900s. His son Fred then ran the store until his retirement in 1967. A third generation of Zahms was also involved in retail in Hamburg- Phillip’s grandson Fred owned Moore’s Menswear for 18 years through the ‘70s and ‘80s.

In the 1930s and ‘40s, a cousin, Carl Zahm, ran Zahm’s bar and grill on Pierce Avenue.

Zahm’s Bar & Grill

Steve Cichon writes about Hamburg’s history for The Hamburg Sun, and about all of Western New York’s heritage and history at BuffaloStories.com. E-mail Steve at steve@buffalostories.com.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.