Sites we remember from downtown shopping’s glory days through the years

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

For most of Buffalo’s history, the easiest place to shop was Main Street downtown. Until the 1980s, the largest and best-stocked dry goods and department stores had names like AM&A’s, Hengerer’s and Hens & Kelly.

AM&A’s around 1910. This original AM&A’s location was torn down to make way for the Main Place Mall in the early 1960s.

Today we look back at the blocks that would eventually become those stores that any Buffalonian over the age of 40 or 50 will fondly remember – especially this time of year.

Hengerer’s:

The building that was constructed for Hengerer’s opened in 1904 but was a famous Buffalo address long before that.

In 1880, is was the location of one of Buffalo’s leading hotels, the Tifft House.

The Tifft House replaced the Phoenix Hotel, which was built in 1835 on the east side of Main between Court and Mohawk.

AM&A’s:

For more than 90 years, AM&A’s was across Main Street from the spot we now remember. Adam, Meldrum and Anderson took over the more familiar spot from JN Adam & Co. starting in 1959, and lasting until the store closed in 1996.

The JN Adam & Co. store building was purchased by AM&A’s in the late 1950s.

JN Adam built his store on the spot where the Arcade stood, until it burned in 1893. When built, the Arcade was Buffalo’s largest office building.

The light-colored building is the Arcade, which burned down. That block of buildings was replaced by storefronts for Kleinhans, Woolworth’s and, eventually, AM&A’s. The ornate building across Lafayette Square is the German Insurance Co. building, and was replaced by the Tishman Building, now home of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Hens & Kelly:

Hens & Kelly’s downtown flagship store was built on “The Old Miller Block” at Main and Mohawk.

The store was opened in 1892, and closed 90 years later.

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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.