The heart of Allentown: Delaware & Allen through the years

By Steve Cichon

This is the corner of Delaware and Allen as it appeared, looking north, in 1884.

It was the home of James Sawyer in 1880. He was an early businessman along the Central Wharf in Buffalo, eventually becoming a bank president and philanthropist. He worshiped at Westminster Presbyterian Church — the steeple of which is visible in the distance.

Also visible, in the foreground, are the streetcar tracks for the horse-drawn trolleys that plied Allen Street in the 1880s.

Sawyer died in 1881, and his daughter lived in the home until she sold it to a physician in 1908. The house played host to doctor’s offices, was the original home of the Mabel Danahy dress shop, and eventually became a Knights of Columbus hall.


Upstairs, a long line of artists living and worked in what was described as “one of the most cosmopolitan studio apartments in town” by the Courier-Express in 1947.

In 1962, the structure fell victim to a building boom along Delaware Avenue.

“Delaware Ave. is rapidly becoming the Park Ave. of Buffalo,” read a report in the Courier-Express.

“There is more construction now underway on the section of Delaware, between Gates Circle and downtown, than there has been at any other time in the last three decades.”

“The rapidly changing face of what is generally known as Buffalo’s most beautiful Avenue is a miracle of private redevelopment.”

The building is now home to Gurney, Becker and Bourne Realty and the McGuire Group.

What it Looked Like Wednesday: The changing look of Delaware Avenue

By Steve Cichon

Continuing our weeklong look at Delaware Avenue, today we look at several photos that show Buffalo’s traditionally most-aristocratic street resplendent in the trappings of eras gone by.

The still-standing home of Edward Butler, publisher of The Buffalo Evening News, at Delaware and North. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The northwest corner of Delaware at Allen. The building that is now the headquarters for Gurney, Becker, and Bourne was built in 1961.

Some scenes don’t look too much different, save the make and model of the vehicles more than a century later. Others are completely of another time.

A Sunday morning at Gates Circle, around 1900.

This is a turn of the century look at Temple Beth Zion and the 20th Century Club. The temple burned in 1961, the 20th Century Club remains strong and active.

Delaware and Virginia looking north, the second house in on the left belonged to Mark Twain.

Photography of the first decade of the 1900s was not prepared for the great speeds of the automobile—which often reached up to 15 to 10 miles an hour on city streets.

At the northeast corner of Delaware and Barker, a nine-story $500,000 luxury apartment building was going up next to the Bishop Fallon faculty house in 1962.