What it looked like Wednesday: The Edward M. Daly police boat

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Called “the guardian of the waterfront,” the Edward M. Daly was Buffalo’s police boat from 1921 to 1936.

The craft was named after a Buffalo patrolman who enlisted in the Navy during World War I. He was lost at sea when German U-boats torpedoed the transport ship USS President Lincoln off the Irish coast in 1918.

Daly-1918

More than 2,000 spectators were on hand, and Daly’s parents were guests of honor as the 60-horsepower motorboat was christened in August 1921 as a replacement for the old police steamboat “Grover Cleveland.”

The Daly was stationed at various times at the foot of Ferry Street or the foot of Amherst Street, and one of its primary tasks was watching the international border for motorboats trying to smuggle rum and ale into the United States during Prohibition.

 In 1930, Patrolmen Timothy J. Meegan, James McCarthy, Thomas J. Thompson, and John Galvin were among the ten officers assigned to the Daly.

In 1930, Patrolmen Timothy J. Meegan, James McCarthy, Thomas J. Thompson and John Galvin were among the 10 officers assigned to the Daly.

With a gasoline engine and wooden construction, the Daly’s top speed of 11 miles an hour made it obsolete by 1936 when Commissioner James Higgins sold it for $415, with the proceeds going toward the purchase of a newer, faster boat — to be used only when needed, not on regular patrol.

Buffalo in the ’30s: Buffalo Police Lt. George Uhl slain in gun battle

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The morning after he was slain by two bandits, his Buffum Street neighbors described Buffalo Police Lt. George Uhl as a quiet, home-loving type. Uhl was killed in a gun battle with members of the Bruno Salek gang in 1934.

Lt. George Uhl led the detail which captured members of an East Side gang in 1933. (Buffalo News archives)

Lt. George Uhl led the detail which captured members of an East Side gang in 1933. (Buffalo News archives)

Uhl was the second officer on the scene when a patrolman pulled over a car on Dodge Street thought to be connected to a rash of robberies across the city. Uhl was pulling up just as one of the car’s occupants pulled a gun on the other officer and threatened to “blow his guts out.”  A hail of gun fire ensued, and Lt. Uhl was left mortally wounded.

Buffalo News archives

(Buffalo News archives)

Bruno Salek and Stanley Pluzdrak each had three guns on them, “loaded and ready for immediate action.” The mothers of the teenaged offenders pleaded for mercy, with Pluzdrak’s mother pointing out her son was a Boy Scout. They were both convicted in the slaying and died in the electric chair at Sing Sing.

The young patrolman whose life was likely saved by Uhl’s arrival celebrated the birth of his first child two days before the execution.

“Certainly, knowing George Uhl, knowing the fineness of him, his great heart, his great humanity, I can’t feel otherwise than that the petition of Boy Scouts in favor of Salek and Pluzdrak is distinctly out of order,” Patrolman Harold Milhauser told The News.

Honor guard escort for Lt. George Uhl. (Buffalo news archives)

Honor guard escort for Lt. George Uhl. (Buffalo News archives)

Born in 1884, Uhl came to Buffalo as a young boy with his family from Meadville, Pa. He attended School 33 and Central High School. After several years as a yard conductor for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, he was appointed to the police force in 1909, and made a lieutenant in 1925.

Uhl’s widow was awarded a pension of $50 a month.

What it looked like Wednesday: Fire at Western Auto on Main Street

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Western Auto began as a catalog concern in 1909 — selling to the niche “horseless carriage” market. As cars became more popular, so did Western Auto, which began operating storefronts as well as the catalog.

Buffalo News archives

The 1940 fire at Buffalo’s Western Auto caused $65,000 in damage, but allowed the store to be modernized in a rebuild. When opened at Main and Tupper in 1928, it was one of 46 Western Auto stores.

Buffalo Stories archives

But as the Number 9 Parkside Zoo Peter Witt street car ambled along the tracks of Main Street heading for the DL&W Terminal at the foot of Main Street, the store was one of 250. By the 1950s, car parts were taking a back seat to an array of items meant to capture the imaginations of men and boys, as Western Auto was carrying a wide range of products beyond car parts and accessories.

This isn’t the first time this intersection has been featured in the BN Chronicles. In 1981, the Ansonia Building at Main and Tupper was being considered for a $500,000 facelift with the thought that locations along the coming MetroRail route would be increasing in value.

Buffalo News archives

 

Buffalo in the ’70s: Go-Go Girls (just another Friday on Chippewa)

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Cops on the Chippewa beat today are looking for rowdy young people and underage drinking. It was a different world on Chippewa Street in 1977, when Franklin Station officers David Schweitzer and Larry Rammuno were walking the prostitute-filled streets of what was then Buffalo’s red-light district.

Buffalo News archives

The officers are standing in front of what was then — and is now — the Calumet Building. Today, Go Go Girls and the Chippewa Army & Navy Store have been replaced by Bacchus Wine Bar and Mighty Taco. Behind the officers, just out of frame, was the infamous Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant — now the site of Soho.

Across the street, other infamous gin mills and dance joints like House O’ Quinn and Cosy Bar are visible. These were rough places for real characters — a far cry from the sanitary Michelob Ultra atmosphere of Chippewa today.

Buffalo in the ’30s: New in the BPD arsenal — tear gas

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

From April 21, 1938:

Buffalo News archives

Huge projectiles from stubby shotguns created formidable tear gas barrages in Centennial Park today as new equipment was demonstrated to police. Commissioner Glenn H. McClellan, Patrolman Walter Jabcuga and Lt. Alfred Sendker of the mounted squad examined equipment.

The Peace Bridge is visible in the background.

Buffalo in the ’80s: Commissioner and sheriff are bicycle cops for a day

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

I

t’s the kind of photo op we don’t see as much anymore.

To promote a statewide bicycle safety campaign, Buffalo’s two top cops — City Police Commissioner James Cunningham (white belt) and Erie County Sheriff Kenneth Braun — hopped on a customized bike built for two and rode around Niagara Square.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo in the ’80s: MetroRail ‘unpaves the way’ to downtown revitalization

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In 1981, the Ansonia Building at Main and Tupper was being considered for a $500,000 facelift with the thought that locations along the coming MetroRail route would be increasing in value.

Buffalo News archives

When this photo was snapped, the officer parking his Dodge Coronet police car would have to hike a block or so south on Main Street to get to the Third Precinct house in the old Greyhound bus terminal. An officer parking there today would only have to walk to the opposite corner of Main and Tupper to the new B District headquarters building.

Traffic returned to the block several years ago, after decades of being an auto-free zone.