By the time this photo was taken in 1978, vast tracts of one of Buffalo’s oldest working-class neighborhoods were long gone.
The decades’ old shanties of the First Ward and surrounding neighborhoods had long been a target of urban renewal. The Niagara Extension of the Thruway took over railroad right-of-ways, but it cut some streets and neighborhoods in half in the process. The Commodore Perry public housing project replaced block after block of rich, old-time neighborhoods with soulless government-owned tenements.
The Irish families that lived and worked there for generations left as the harbor and grain jobs did.
Thirty-seven years after this photo was snapped, parts of the First Ward are seeing new life. Within blocks on Fulton and Marvin, there are the Elk Terminal Lofts and the mixed use Fairmont Creamery Building. There’s all the development of the Buffalo River Works, Canalside and HarborCenter areas a short walk away.
And while the lot where this storefront/tavern/home once stood is now empty, it stands directly across the street from the Seneca Creek Casino.