Hens & Kelly, AM&A’s in the midst of the battle of how to brew your coffee

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

If you eschew the k-cup– you are a soldier in the generations-long war over how coffee should be brewed in your home.

In 2014, Keurig sold 9 billion k-cups. That’s enough little white pods to circle the Earth more than 10 times.

While millions of Americans have given in to the convenience of the Keurig coffee maker, millions of others steadfastly refuse to entertain the notion of having the device in their homes.

Notwithstanding any recent political strife, “The coffee doesn’t taste as good” and “the little cups are just too expensive” are among the common arguments against the Keurig. These folks, it’s understood, are happy with the good ol’ automatic drip machine they’ve had for generations.

Even with Joe DiMaggio selling Mr. Coffee coffee makers, the modern devices were just too much for many old line perc brewers. (Buffalo Stories archives)
The debate raged between stovetop and electric percolators, like this Corningware model– “a perfect gift for young moderns,” in a Hens & Kelly ad, 1963. (Buffalo Stories archives)

It’s a same-as-it-ever-was argument that seems to happen once a generation lately.

It was only 40 years ago when old line caffeine addicts were fighting the original home automatic machine, Mr. Coffee.

“Coffee tastes better in a percolator,” you’d hear people say, who’d also complain about the cost of the machine, as well as the extras, like filters.

But even among the fans of percolated coffee, there were those who couldn’t imagine the extravagance of an electric percolator in their kitchen. Their stove top model worked just fine, thank you.

This 1975 AM&A’s ad says “a good cup of coffee begins with Mr. Coffee.” Not everyone was buying that idea. (Buffalo Stories archives)

These days, a good Keurig machine can be had for about $100. In this 1975 AM&A’s ad, the Mr. Coffee brewer is on sale for $29.99. The regular price of $39.99 is about $177 in 2017 dollars, according to a federal government inflation calculator.

Over the last 40 years, what was luxurious has become common place.

 

The soft-edged memories of AM&A’s Christmas Windows

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Like so many of our great cultural traditions in Buffalo, trying to pin down the concise history of our collective amber-hued fuzzy memories of Downtown Christmas shopping is difficult and can even get combative.

AM&As Christmas windows, 1980s. (Buffalo Stories archives)

For many of us, all those warm recollections seem to get lumped into a generic category of “AM&A’s Christmas windows,” and to imply anything else is often met with side eye looks, and sometimes with outright hostility.

Looking south from Lafayette Square on Main Street in the 1950s. All the stores to the right in this photo were torn down to make way for the Main Place Mall in the mid-60s. To the right is the home of JN Adam & Co, which would become the home of AM&A’s in 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Through the decades, some stores moved, some changed names, all eventually closed. Taking the fuzz off memories and bringing them into focus with the actual names and dates can be dangerous business, but that’s the dangerous business we’re in. So here we go.

AM&As on a snowy day in the late 1960s. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The tradition of decorating downtown stores for Christmas dates back before anyone reading this can remember. Downtown’s department stores were fully decorated, for example,  for Christmas 1910.

Click this 1910 image of AM&A’s at Christmas time to see about a dozen 1910 department stores decorated for Christmas… along with what those places along Main Street downtown look like today. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Since those stores—some with familiar names—decorated their windows more than a century ago, plenty has changed along Buffalo’s Main Street, especially in the areas where generations did their Christmas shopping.

The most tumultuous change came between 1965 and 1985, the time when most of our memories were forged and influenced. The buildings we shopped in for decades came down, new buildings were put in their place, and traffic was shut down with a train installed in place of the cars.

The Wm. Hengerer Co., 1960s Christmas time (Buffalo Stories archives)

The one constant through all of that, our collective memory tells us, is those wonderful AM&A’s windows.

AM&A’s is one of the few traditional Buffalo retail giants which survived into the Metro Rail age on Main Street. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Adam, Meldrum, and Anderson was a Buffalo institution between 1869 and 1994, when the Adam family sold the chain to Bon-Ton. That being the case, for as long as anyone can remember, people off all ages would line up along the east side of Main Street, looking in those big AM&A’s windows, before going inside and taking the escalators up to AM&A’s Toyland starring Santa himself.

Well, here’s where the hostility sometimes comes in.

If you remember looking at windows in that spot before 1960—you weren’t looking at AM&A’s windows, you were looking at the windows of JN Adam & Co.

What, what?

For more than 90 years, AM&A’s was located directly across Main Street from the location where the store’s flagship downtown location was for the final 34 years of the chain’s existence.

The home of AM&A’s for 90 years was directly across Main Street from the AM&A’s store we remember from 1960-1994. This original AM&A’s home was torn down as a part of the Main Place Mall project. (Buffalo Stories archives)

JN’s closed up in 1959, so AM&A’s moved into the larger, newer building. Soon thereafter, the original AM&A’s was torn down to make way for the Main Place Mall.

JN Adam’s in the late 1950s, with Woolworth’s to the left, and Bond Menswear , Thom McAn, and the Palace Burlesk to the south (on the right.) From Bond south were torn down to make room for the M&T Headquarters and green space. AM&A’s made this JN Adam store its flagship store in 1960. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Adding to confusion is the similar name of the two stores. JN Adam and Robert Adam—the Adam of Adam, Meldrum & Anderson—were Scottish-born brothers who founded department stores which would eventually compete with each other across Main Street from each other.

 

Both stores also took their window decorating—especially Christmas window decorating seriously. But so did all the Main Street Department stores. On the same block as JN’s and AM&A’s, Kobacher’s, which had a location in a spot now occupied by the Main Place Mall, had a memorable giant animated, talking Santa in its window. Hengerer’s, a bit further north, always had well decorated windows.

“Kobacher’s each Christmas propped a huge, stuffed Santa Claus in its front window. This Santa rocked and bellowed a half-witted laugh that throbbed up Main Street. The puppet’s eyes rolled, and shoppers smiled grimly because the general effect was a little spooky,” wrote the late Buffalo storyteller and pop culture historian George Kunz in 1991.

Still, AM&A’s and JN’s made the spot just south of Lafayette Square the epicenter of Christmas décor in Buffalo. As early as 1949, JN Adam was promoting “animated Christmas windows.”

JN Adam, 1949 ad. (Buffalo Stories archives)

AM&A’s decorating team, eventually headed by Joseph Nelson, started adding animated displays as well, although it wasn’t until the 1960s—after AM&A’s moved into JN Adam’s old space—that AM&A’s made the presence of the windows a part of their Christmas advertising.

AM&A’s animatronic window displays were a beloved part of Buffalo Christmases for generations. Click to read more about AM&A’s 1970 holiday display. (Buffalo Stories archives)

It’s tough to tell even if the “AM&A’s window displays” which have popped up around Western New York over the last couple of decades were originally created for and by AM&A’s. AM&A’s took over not only JN’s building, but also many of its traditions, and quite possibility the actual displays and accoutrements of those traditions.

Another JN Adam yuletide tradition which also became an AM&A’s tradition after the move was the full-floor Toyland.

Click to read the toys available at JN’s Toyland in 1945. (Buffalo Stories archives)
AM&A’s was advertising the Toyland idea in 1967. Click to see the toys being advertised. (Buffalo Stories archive)

All this is to say, if you walked down Main Street in mid-December 1955, the magic and wonder you were filled with was only partially Adam, Meldrum, and Anderson-inspired.

In this 1954 ad, these AM&A’s shoppers were NOT heading to the exact place you remember as AM&A’s. Buffalo Stories archives)

But AM&A’s was the survivor—which is why we remember.  But just keep in mind– it’s very likely that 1955 window you remember was a JN Adam’s window.

Buffalo Stories archives

But no matter which store displayed these windows when, they have always been a universally beloved Buffalo institution, right?

a 1930’s Kleinhans Mens Shop Christmas window. Kleinhans was around the corner from JN Adam/AM&A’s, facing Lafayette Square. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Well, once again… not exactly. As traditional Main Street retailing was gasping its last breaths in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Christmas windows were often derided as a part of the larger problem—rehashing the same ideas instead of trying to appeal to a new generation. The dated, tired animatronic scenes seemed out of place and woefully out of date in the Nintendo age.

There were fewer kids and more nostalgic adults looking at the windows in the 80s and 90s. (Buffalo Stories archives)

When this snarky review of AM&A’s holiday decorating efforts appeared in The Buffalo News in 1993, the writer probably didn’t realize he was looking at the penultimate effort of a nearly-dead Buffalo institution.

In the AM & A’s window downtown, the same (manger scene) figures are placed in front of a set of free-standing Baroque pillars, all marbleized in green and gold. Lofty, that. If Gianlorenzo Bernini were around today, that’s what he’d be doing for a living: AM & A’s window displays…

A mid-80s AM&A’s manger scene. (Buffalo Stories archives)

(And) at AM & A’s downtown, the other holiday windows display a charming mixture of images, though if any community actually tried to build like this, folks would be petitioning for a design review board before the developers knew what hit them: New England covered bridge here, rough-hewn alpine furnishings there. One window features a frilly pink Victorian cottage that looks as if it could have been plucked off a side street in Allentown.

Since AM&A’s flagship downtown store was closed shortly after selling to Bon-Ton in 1995, the legend of the window displays—and the actual displays themselves—have spread far and wide.

AM&A’s was sold to Bon-Ton following the death of Robert Adam, the grandson of the store’s founder, in 1993. Adam was the President or CEO of the department store which bore his name for 44 years. (Buffalo Stories archives)

In the mid-90s, Buffalo Place refurbished and displayed the most-recently-used scenes along Main Street. Some of those, along with older scenes as well, have appeared around Western New York in holiday displays in the Village of Lancaster and in Niagara Falls, as well as around Rotary Rink near Main and Chippewa.

The actual displays are interesting, but seeing them out of context—or even worse, trying to pry an iPad out of the hand of a toddler so she can appreciate them—seems to miss a bit of the point.

Mesmerized by AM&A’s windows in 1967. (Buffalo Stories archives)

A Victorian man carving a turkey or a big white bear handing another bear a present isn’t what make those memories so wonderful—it’s the way the memory swells your heart.

Here’s to whatever makes your heart swell this Christmas season.

Christmas Shopping in Buffalo 1910

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

These photos appeared in the Buffalo Courier Sunday Magazine, New Year’s Day 1911.  The quality of the images isn’t good enough to see what is in those window displays, but they still represent a great look at the retail scene on Main Street downtown more than 100 years ago.

Where possible, the 1910 images are presented with Google images of the current look of the same space.

AM&A’s original location was directly across Main Street from it’s best-remembered 1960-94 location. The building in the photo was demolished to make way for the Main Place Mall. (Buffalo Stories archives)


JN Adam & Co. 391 Main Street. JN’s was at this location until 1960, when the store closed and AM&A’s took over the space. (Buffalo Stories archives)


“Hanan Shoe Company, 464-466 Main Street, opposite Tifft House.” Just north of Court Street on the west side Main. (Buffalo Stories archives)


Walbridge & Co, 392-394 Main Street, now in the footprint of the Main Place Mall. (Buffalo Stories archives)


Flint & Kent, 560 Main Street. The storefront became downtown’s location of The Sample before making way for The Key Towers. (Buffalo Stories archives)


The Wm Hengerer Co- 465 Main Street. (Buffalo Stories archives)


The Wilson Company, 563-565 Main Street. Now in the footprint of the M&T Center, just south of Chippewa. (Buffalo Stories archives)


Weed & Co, 292-298 Main Street, across from the Ellicott Square Building. (Buffalo Stories archives)


The Sweeney Co, 268 Main Street. The building still stands, and is now known as The Sweeney Building. (Buffalo Stories archives)


H.A. Meldrum Company, 460-470 Main Street. Herbert Meldrum was the son of AM&A’s co-founder Alexander Meldrum. (Buffalo Stories archives)


JM Brecker & Company, Genesee & High Sts, burned down on Christmas Day 1910. (Buffalo Stories archives)

AM&A’s Christmas windows, 47 years ago today

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

From the pages of the Courier-Express, holiday shopping on Main Street downtown 47 years ago today… AM&A’s windows and sidewalks jammed with shoppers.

Downtown Is Jammed by Shoppers In Traditional Post-Holiday Spree

By RAY DEARLOVE

The traditional heavy shopping downtown the day after Thanksgiving held true again Friday as pedestrians jammed stores and sidewalks and cars filled downtown streets bumper-to-bumper most of the day.

Most store officials contacted said they were pleased with what appeared to be near-record crowds and all the stores were jammed right after opening.
Total sales volume for the day wouldn’t have been known until today.

Displays Popular

Robert B. Adam, president of Adam, Meldrum & Anderson Co., said A. M. & A.’s traditional downtown store Christmas window display was viewed by the largest amount of people in the eight years the displays have been offered. He said this
year’s window display is on the history of Christmas carols.

Hens & Kelly Inc.’s downtown store also was reported jammed and Harry Blum, senior vice president, said business was very good right from the store’s opening. He said it was usually “noon before the store got that crowded.”

Lawrence R. Rose, executive director of Main Place and vice president and secretary of the Main Place Merchants Assn., described the shopping crowds as
“fantastic.” He said the day is normally a big day, but that Friday’s crowds were exceptionally heavy in all 53 stores in Main Place.
Best Day Seen

Similar observations were made by Daniel Ransom, president of the Wm. Hengerer Co., who said Friday was the best day-after-Thanksgiving in the
three years I have been here.”

Parking facilities in the downtown area were reported full most of the day.
Gerald R. Tunkey, general manager of Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps Inc. which operates five city ramps in the downtown area, said all the ramps were
full by 11 a.m. William J. Cochrane, assistant manager of the
Genesee Motor Ramp at 312 Pearl St., said business was “much heavier than normal, with almost all 300 spaces full much of the day.”

The shopping hordes meant the usual headaches for traffic police. Capt. Albert F. Saxer, head of traffic point control and radar units of the Buffalo Police
Dept., said extra patrolmen were planned both day and evening to handle the traffic.

Parking Scarce

“There are not enough parking facilities to handle the volume of vehicles that were downtown Friday,” said Saxer. “Parking facilities would have to
double to alleviate the situation.”

Saxer said traffic was slow but moving. There must have been room for sleighs, since several Santa Claus’ were spotted
downtown Friday.

WEBR’s “Today with Amanda” with tips from AM&A’s, 1951

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

WEBR’s “Amanda” interviews an AM&A’s buyer on her midday shopping and fashion tips show at the WEBR-970 studios, 23 North Street, in 1951.
 
Buffalo Stories archives
“Amanda” was actually Dorothy Shank, president of the local chapter of American Women in Radio & Television. She later worked in marketing for AM&A’s, had a show on Channel 4, and was a host on WJJL in Niagara Falls through the 1980s. She was 81 when she died in 1989.
 
But my favorite part of this photo: in the middle, just to the left of the phone, Buffalo’s 1950’s equivalent of a Tim Horton’s cup– a glass “to go” coffee cup/milk bottle from Buffalo’s ubiquitous Deco Restaurants (there were more than 50 Deco locations around WNY when they were most popular.)

Buffalo in the ’80s: (Ugly) Christmas sweaters at AM&A’s

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Now that Halloween is over, retailers see nothing but daylight between now and the big day — Christmas. That sense of timing has been true for decades, but the way certain items are marketed have changed with the times.

This AM&A’s ad for holiday sweaters appeared in The News’ Buffalo Magazine in November 1988.

img_6899
Buffalo Stories archives

If Adam, Meldrum, and Anderson was still in business, they might still be offering the same array of sweaters, but instead of calling them “festive holiday tops,” and noting their “designer look,” there’s a fair chance that they’d have joined other retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Walmart, each of which have large selections of “ugly Christmas sweaters” on their websites.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at AM&A’s Downtown store in 1990. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Buffalo in the ’60s: Beatlemania in the Queen City

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The concept of the American Teenager as we know it today is a relatively new one.

(Buffalo Stories archives)

In the simplest of terms, after decades of economic depression and war, young people of the late 1940s had less responsibility, more economic freedom and a growing segment of pop culture being cultivated to employ and take advantage of that free time and free cash.

For 70 years, more mature generations have been panning the choices of teenage girls and especially the fervor with which they make those choices. The names change, but from Frank Sinatra to Justin Bieber, rigid-minded adults can’t understand all the swooning over (some singer) with (some bizarre haircut, bizarre dance, etc.).

Frank Sinatra sang with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and his popularity exploded when he became a singing front man himself. His young fans, bobbysoxers, were the first teenagers to swoon in force at the voice of a matinee idol and singing sensation. In Buffalo, radio programs and downtown shoe sales were targeted directly to bobbysoxers just after the war.
Frank Sinatra sang with Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and his popularity exploded when he became a singing front man himself. His young fans, bobbysoxers, were the first teenagers to swoon in force at the voice of a matinee idol and singing sensation. In Buffalo, radio programs and downtown shoe sales were targeted directly to bobbysoxers just after the war. (Buffalo Stories archives)

By 1964, American fuddy-duddies had withstood the waves of bobbysoxers and Elvis’ wagging hips — but the arrival of a moppy-headed quartet of singers from England took the genre up another notch.

If there’s a start date for Beatlemania, you might choose Feb. 9, 1964 — the date of the band’s first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” About 60 percent of American televisions were tuned to the performance of the nation’s No. 1 top single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Immediately, adults started to try to make sense of the mania.

Buffalo Evening News headline, 1964. Buffalo Stories archives
Buffalo Evening News headline, 1964. (Buffalo Stories archives)

In a matrix that has repeated itself time and time again as American Pop Culture has evolved, the aversion to the Beatles was just as strong as the fanaticism of their young followers.

Buffalo Evening News, 1964. Buffalo Stories archives
Buffalo Evening News, 1964. (Buffalo Stories archives)

What was it about the Beatles? everyone seemed to want to know. Was it the haircuts, asked the Courier-Express’ “Enquiring Reporter” of Western New York high school students?

One boy from Cardinal O’Hara High School was convinced that it was “The Beatles’ weird looks more than their musical ability” that made them popular. Many others agreed, but said it was the combination of talent and different looks that made the Beatles “just far out.”

Buffalo Courier-Express, Buffalo Stories archives
Buffalo Courier-Express. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Whether you loved the Beatles or hated them, they were clearly a growing economic force to be reckoned with.

02-sep-1964-beatlemania-at

It wasn’t just with the expected idea of record sales at places like Twin Fair, more staid institutions such as AM&A’s were offering “The Beatle Bob” in their downtown and branch store beauty salons. Hengerer’s was selling Beatles records and wigs.

untitled-1

beatles-in-courier-1964-6

A month after the group’s first appearance on Ed Sullivan, a couple of doors down from Shea’s Buffalo, the Paramount Theatre sold out a weekend’s worth of closed-circuit showings of a Beatles concert.

beatles-paramount-1964-21

Girls scream for The Beatles on the big screen at the Paramount Theatre, March, 1964. Buffalo Stories archives
Girls scream for The Beatles on the big screen at the Paramount Theatre, March, 1964. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Eighteen uniformed Buffalo Police officers were hired to help keep the peace among the more than 2,500 teens who showed up to watch the show at the Paramount, which was hosted by WKBW disc jockey Joey Reynolds. The only slight hint of misbehavior on the part of Beatles fans came when the infamous rabble-rouser Reynolds declared on the stage, “I hate the Beatles!” and he was pelted with jellybeans.

Beatlemania continued at a fever pitch through all of 1964 and 1965.

The Mods from Buffalo Teen News magazine. Buffalo Stories archives.
The Mods, formerly “The Buffalo Beetles” from Buffalo Teen News magazine. (Buffalo Stories archives.)

Local bands like the Buffalo Beetles, later renamed the Mods, enjoyed popularity and even their own records on the radio. After the July, 1964 release of The Beatles’ first film “A Hard Day’s Night,” the summer of 1965 saw the release of the Beatles’ second movie, “Help!,” which opened at Shea’s before moving onto the smaller theaters and the drive-ins.

06-sep-1965-beales-help-ast

The Beatles also played a concert at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in August 1965. There were at least a couple of dozen Buffalonians in attendance courtesy of the WKBW/Orange Crush Beatles caravan, hosted by Danny Neaverth.

Buffalo Stories archives

Buffalo Stories archives

Sixteen-year-old Jay Burch of Orchard Park High School described Beatlemania from the midst of it in 1964 this way: “The Beatles’ singing is OK, but it’s the haircuts and dress that make them standouts. … The Beatles are different. They got a good gimmick and made it work.”

Many of Buffalo’s Beatles dreams finally came true on Oct. 22, 2015, when Paul McCartney made his first appearance in Buffalo, singing songs that many in the audience had first heard 51 ½ years earlier for the first time on a Sunday evening with Ed Sullivan.

Paul McCartney during his 2015 show at First Niagara Center. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)
Paul McCartney during his 2015 show at First Niagara Center. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Torn-down Tuesday: Shelton Square in 1964

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Until the lifeless and drab Main Place Mall and Tower replaced its character-filled old buildings, billboards and neon signs, Shelton Square was more or less Buffalo’s version of Times Square.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

It was the city’s crossroads; it was bright and vibrant. It was the place where people transferred streetcars and buses — just about every line in the city came through. Standing in Shelton Square, you were a few blocks from the Crystal Beach Boat in one direction, a few blocks from the Town Casino the other way. It was the middle of the action that was Buffalo.

If you remember it, it was a special place.

It was filled with character and characters. There was Domenic Battaglia, who ran the newsstand shown at Niagara and Main starting in 1929 “with his oversized cap, news apron and halfchewed cigar.” His News obituary called him “a goodnatured curmudgeon who was out daily in all kinds of weather to sell newspapers and magazines. He never wore gloves even on the coldest days and often heckled his customers who did.”

buildingss039-11

Battaglia’s newsstand is in front of the Harvey & Carey Drug store at Main and Niagara.

He moved to Main and Church when the entire Niagara Street was eliminated from the map, now underneath the Main Place Tower.

In the very foreground of the photo is the top of the Palace Burlesk sign. George Kunz, whose beautifully crafted memories of days gone by used to appear in The News, wrote “the Palace exuded life. Pedestrians passing during showtime heard raucous, robust sounds of extravagant fun. The orchestra blared, drums rumbled and laughter, a rollicking outrageous laughter, tumbled out the doors onto Main Street.”

“Such was the theater’s fame that for years the Palace was used as a focus for any downtown geographical instructions,” wrote Kunz in 1993. “’You know where the Palace is . . . well, you turn right there.’ Everybody remembered the lively marquee with the dancing girl figures kicking endlessly to the rhythm of blinking lights.”

Right next door to the Palace, disc jockey Tom Clay — known as “Guy King” on WWOL Radio – ushered in the rock ‘n’ roll era in Buffalo on July 3, 1955, when he climbed out of the station’s window and onto the giant WWOL billboard.

There, he urged the teens in his audience to drive to Shelton Square and honk their horns if they wanted to hear Bill Haley and The Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock.” They did in huge numbers, and he kept playing “Rock Around the Clock” until the fire department showed up with a ladder truck to help police get him off the billboard. After climbing back in the station window, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for the stunt.

On the pages of The News, Janice Okun wrote about Hughes Restaurant, “the dingy old coffee shop on Shelton Square where you sat on high stools at even higher marble tables and injected fat into yourself in the form of Snappy Cheese Sandwiches, while drinking coffee from a clunky mug carefully. Because if you dropped the mug, it would break a toe.”

Minnie Feiner’s had high tables, too. And there was Minnie Messina’s cafeteria through the ’50s and ’60s.

In 1965, most of the buildings in this photo started to come down. In December, it was announced the new $20 million complex being built in its place was given a name “big enough for such a big project — Main Place.”

This part of Niagara Street is now covered by the Main Place Tower.

This block of Niagara Street, between Main and Pearl, is now covered by the Main Place Tower. City Hall (upper left) and the McKinley Monument were visible from Main Street at Shelton Square until 1968.

At the time, editorial page writers panned the name, saying it wasn’t distinctive and was “anything but appealing.”

One writer said, “It’s a terrible name. It grates on one’s ears. … It certainly wasn’t given too much thought.”

In hindsight, though, it’s probably better that the name many wanted to keep — Shelton Square — was retired. It makes it easier to give a name to the memories.

A 1980's view of Main Street, with the Main Place Mall and Tower on the right, and Woolworth's and AM&A's on the left.

A 1980s view of Main Street, with the Main Place Mall and Tower on the right and Woolworth’s and AM&A’s on the left.

Buffalo in the ’80s: Peller & Mure, one of downtown’s great men’s stores

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Roy Peller and Paul Mure worked at Kleinhans Men’s Store when they decided to open their own haberdashery a few blocks away on Court Street in 1948.

Peller & Mure became one of downtown’s great men’s stores, outfitting mayors from Frank Sedita to Jimmy Griffin. Their offerings expanded to include a women’s business line in 1981.

Over five decades, P & M’s retail space was in several locations through the years, including two on Court Street, as well as Delaware Avenue and Pearl Street.

Investors took over the upscale clothier in 1995 and gave a fight, but after 51 years, Peller & Mure closed its doors in early 2000.

AM&A’s was right around the corner on Main Street, until it moved across Main in 1960.

 

Buffalo in the ’80s: Hizzoner leads the parade

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Love him or not, there is no disputing the fact that James D. Griffin relished his time as Buffalo’s mayor, and there were few events where Mayor Griffin was more joyful than he was each year at Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day parades.

Buffalo News archives

“This is my 16th parade as mayor, but my 32nd all-around,” recalled Griffin at his last parade as mayor in 1993, as he had a beer outside DuBois Restaurant on Niagara Street. Unperturbed by the 14-degree windchill, he told News reporter Lauri Githens, “This is a great day. Every day is a blessed one for the Irish.”

The parade has been on Delaware Avenue now for decades, but before the building of the MetroRail in the early ’80s, Buffalo’s Irish and Irish-at-heart would parade up Main Street from Memorial Auditorium to North Street.

Bagpipers pipe past AM&A’s at Main and Court in 1972. (Buffalo News archives)

Since 1994, Buffalo’s second St. Patrick’s Day parade, the “Old First Ward Parade,” has brought grassroots marching and wearing of the green back to where it all started.

This 1937 photo shows the start of that year’s parade at Elk (now South Park Avenue) and Louisiana Street.

Buffalo News archives

News reporter Anne Neville wrote a comprehensive history of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2014. You can read that story here.