Buffalo in the 50s: South Buffalo’s Republic Steel aims for nearly a million tons

By Steve Cichon

A DEC photo from 1967: Historic photo of the Buffalo River. The former Republic Steel plant is to the left of the river and the former Buffalo Color plant is to the right.

Bethlehem Steel’s Lackawanna plant was at one time the largest in the world and employed 20,000 workers in the manufacture of steel.

It was the same sort of work happening a few miles away on South Park Avenue along the Buffalo River at Republic Steel. Thousands worked at that plant as well, and the hope was that, with changes announced 65 years ago this week, the plant would be able to churn out 900,000 tons of steel each year.

The plant was closed and demolished in the mid 1980s and is currently the site for the state-funded RiverBend project, set to be home to SolarCity.

Buffalo Evening News, August 3, 1950

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.