Torn-Down Tuesday: Ridge Road’s Golden Arches

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The building still stands, but the golden arches came down — at least figuratively — in October 1984, as one of Western New York’s longest-surviving original McDonald’s hamburger stands served up its last Big Mac.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

After 20 years on Ridge Road, millions of hamburgers served, and employing about 6,000 Lackawanna teens through the years, The Steel City’s only McDonald’s shut its doors as the corporation was looking to modernize the original stands into the more familiar mansard-roofed 1980s buildings.

A similar-looking McDonald’s stand on Clinton Street was torn down and modernized around the same time this one was closed.

Torn-Down Tuesday: Signs of Bethlehem Steel along Route 5

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

For decades now, thick weeds have enveloped chain link fencing right up to the roadway along Route 5 in Lackawanna.

Buffalo News archives

Thirty-two years ago, even as Bethlehem Steel’s operations were winding down, there was no room for weeds. This photo shows the trappings of steel manufacturing, familiar for generations along that stretch of the lakeshore.

This photo was taken in 1983, as part of a story talking about traffic tie-ups on Route 5.

Buffalo in the ’80s: What Black Friday looked like at K-Mart in 1986

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

This is what Black Friday 1986 looked like at the K-Mart store on Ridge Road in Lackawanna.

Buffalo News archives

Discounted televisions and VCRs got people lined up nice and early on the day after Thanksgiving 29 years ago, when this store was one of the first to open its doors that morning. The signs on the door clearly state the store would be opening much earlier than usual: at 7 a.m.

The signs also promote Breakfast with Santa. The kids’ pancake breakfast was $1.19; adults paid $1.69.

This K-Mart location, which closed in 1999, is now home to Global Concepts Charter School.

 

Torn-down Tuesday: Bethlehem Steel from the air

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

It’s with a hybrid of longing and loathing that we look back at Bethlehem Steel.

By itself, a title like “Torn-down Tuesday” might inspire a sense of loss and memories of once-wonderful places that vanished after a misguided date with a steam shovel or a backhoe.

Sometimes, it’s a bit more complicated. Many of us fondly remember the days when 20,000 of our Western New York neighbors worked for Bethlehem Steel. It was dangerous, back-breaking, really terrible work — but the good pay and benefits from Bethlehem and other manufacturing giants provided the means for hundreds of thousands of men to offer the next generation a life better than their own.

The burning of coal to smelt iron, and the slag and smoke that process created, left our ground, water, and air heavily polluted. It contributed to irreversible environmental damage and very likely played some role in the sickness and disease of thousands of people who never stepped foot in the plant.

But still, smoke stacks meant jobs.

The smoke stacks were still there when this photo was taken in 1984, but most of the jobs left in 1982 when the main plant closed.