I found one of my holy grails today, although I didn’t immediately recognize it.
As soon as I saw it, I liked this photo immediately– lots of interesting things going on there– Old ambulances, old license plate, great old tavern sign, a church bingo sign, a grain elevator… When I flipped it over to read the caption on the back, my heart skipped a beat as it sank into my stomach. This is Elk and Smith Streets!
About ten years after this photo was snapped, my dad bought the bar that was called Ceil’s Grill when this photo was snapped. Spent a lot of time in this place as a tiny, tiny little boy… playing with the jukebox, pool table, shuffle bowling, and of course, the pop guns.
So with this, I finally have a photo of the exterior of my dad’s bar, which I’ve been looking for literally for decades.
That’s St. Stephen’s Church with the Bingo sign, and the Buffalo Malting Elevator (both currently under construction for reuse.)
The bar burned to the ground in 1989, a few years after my dad sold it. It’s been a vacant lot ever since.
BUFFALO BOOZE BUST… Wouldn’t it have been great if Irv Weinstein would have been around to write Prohibition stories? The papers were filled with them almost every day.
I like this one in particular– because it took place in a bar my ol’man would buy 55 years later.
The text is a bit hard to read:
The Buffalo Sunday Express Sunday December 27, 1925
Cleverly concealed caches of liquor were found hidden under the floor of the barroom in the saloon at no. 807 Elk street, owned by John Doty. A large copper tank, to which were attached two spigots and a siphon, was hiding places for two dozen quarts of rare old whisky.Under the floor and on the stairway were 100 quarts of alleged liquor. Doty will be arraigned on Monday.
In the late 1930s, the path of Elk Street changed as South Park Avenue was created out of several South Buffalo and First Ward streets. What was number 807 Elk –at the corner of Smith Street– in 1925, is now 207 Elk (sadly, a vacant lot.)