From the Archives: Sounds of St. John Kanty in 1967

By Steve Cichon

Buffalo, NY – The Rev. Henry Orszulak grew up in the St. John Kanty parish on Buffalo’s Polish East Side in the 1960’s and was excited to get his hands on three reel-to-reel tapes from the church’s 75th anniversary year in 1967.

The sounds of St. John Kanty celebrating 75 years being digitized. Recorded by a parishioner 47 years ago on reel-to-reel tape, a Mass and Christmas concert are copied for future generations (Buffalo Stories Photo)

Despite being nearly half-a-century old, two of the three St. John Kanty tapes sounded great. The recordings of Mass and the Christmas carols actually sound as good as they did in 1967. The concert, however, didn’t fare as well. Despite trying to play the tape back on several professional and consumer model reel-to-reel machines, significant bleedthrough and ghosting have permanently ruined the tape. It makes audio that remains difficult to listen to– although I did post a portion of it here anyway. It’s still beautiful to listen to if you can fight through the backwards organ music and singing over significant parts of it.

These descriptions  were taped inside of the boxes. 


April 24, 1999: Is Central Terminal worth saving?

By Steve Cichon

Despite a lack of help and encouragement from government and private developers, community minded folks continued, undaunted, in their efforts to save and revitalize East Buffalo’s New York Central Terminal:

April 24, 1999: Terminal’s clocks get repairs

“Jeff Ingersoll swung in the raw wind outside the broken face of one of the New York Central Terminal clocks Friday, marking the start of a $15,000 project to restore time to the old landmark.

“Ten stories below, his admirers on the ground — a half-dozen preservationists and East Side activists — pointed to Ingersoll’s volunteer assistance on the clock restoration project as another example of the loyalty many people have for the building.”

Buffalo in the ’60s: Will high speed trains soon be barreling through Central Terminal?

By Steve Cichon

Forty-five years after a comfortable high speed rail trip from the Central Terminal, some folks are now wondering if the high-speed rail discussion has once again left the station:

April 21, 1969: TurboTrain shows how nice rail trip can be

“United Aircraft’s TurboTrain … is a vehicle right out of the jet age. It has achieved test speeds up to 170 miles an hour but was held on this trip to 79, the upstate limit set by the Interstate Commerce Commission.”

Remembering Aunt May, and the Coyles of Jermyn, PA and Mayfield, PA

       By Steve Cichon

Aunt May was Grandpa Coyle’s aunt, making her my great-great aunt. (I don;t subscribe to this “grand aunt” nonsense the genealogy industry tries to sell.)

Aunt May on the steps of the Coyle’s home at 424 Wilson Street on Buffalo’s East Side. The home no longer stands, and the site is now home of The Wilson Street Farm, an urban farm.

The Coyles moved from PA coal country to Buffalo’s East Side in the 1910s.

Aunt May’s baptismal certificate. She was born Mary Coyle in 1899 in Jermyn, PA. My grandpa’s brother, my great-uncle Pat Coyle, gave me piles of information about the Coyle, Kilker, Slattery and Norton families from whom we descend.

Sadly, I don’t really remember Aunt May. But her legacy lives on… in of all things, her furniture.

These are my Grandpa Coyle’s aunts. Aunt May and Aunt Clare at May’s baptism in Pennsylvania in 1899. The family moved to Buffalo in the 1910s. My great-great grandfather went from working in a coal mine in PA to working at Bethlehem (then Lackawanna) Steel, before eventually working as an engineer at Maritime Milling on Hopkins Street.

Aunt May’s hinged, drop-leaf dining room table is in our dining room and has become a place where we gather for big family meals, where we work when we “work from home,” and where I’ve written at least one book.

There’s a Coyle Street in Mayfield, PA, named after my mom’s family. Mayfield is the next borough over from Jermyn. Both places grew around the mining industry.