What it looked like Wednesday: Medical Campus area, 1978

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In November 1978, News Photographer Bill Dyviniak grabbed his camera to take a few shots in the area we now call the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Then, it was the cold and abandoned neighborhood bounded by Buffalo General Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to the north, and the still-buzzing M. Wile and Trico factories and Courier-Express presses to the south.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

It’s unclear whether the images were shot for a specific story or whether it was feared that the buildings might not last the winter. The folder was labeled “Landmarks to be demolished near Main & Carlton.”

Photographs of three separate “landmarks” were in that folder — and despite all the construction around that area over the last 40 years, from the MetroRail station at Allen Street to the ever-growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, all three buildings still stand to this day.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

The 19th-century Italianate houses on Washington Street are currently a part of the BNMC’s Green Commons project. They were saved from the wrecker’s ball in the late 70’s through the work of preservationists like Austin Fox working with the city and surrounding community.

The 1977 city directory shows all of the single family dwellings remaining on Washington and Ellicott Streets-- both now in the footprint of The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus-- as vacant or as lodging operated by Roswell Park.  The area that was as recently as the 1950s a thriving residential area had quickly become nearly all industrial  and offices.

The 1977 city directory shows all of the single family dwellings remaining on Washington and Ellicott Streets– both now in the footprint of The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus– as vacant or as lodging operated by Roswell Park. The area that was as recently as the 1950s a thriving residential area had quickly become nearly all industrial and offices.

Just west of those houses, stands the Roosevelt Apartments. The exterior has been rehabilitated and the Bells Market has long since closed.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

jfk-nf-28sep60216

A few blocks away at Ellicott and Virginia survives Ulrich’s, Buffalo’s oldest continuously operated tavern.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

Torn-down Tuesday: Main and Summer, 1965

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The summer of 1965 brought much excitement for the area we’ve come to know as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. While at least a half-dozen current projects are combining to make the area a bastion of hope for what is to come for our city and our region, then it was only one big project — the expansion of Buffalo General Hospital — that was making people excited.

Buffalo News archives

The new high-rise structure was offering new vistas like this one, looking north from near the corner of Main and High.

Two churches jump out of the photo.

In the foreground at Main and Best, the former Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church is currently owned by Ellicott Development, and along with recently purchased surrounding property, was slated for some manner of mixed business and residential space.

The larger church in the distance is St. Joseph’s New Cathedral at Delaware and West Utica. From 1912 until 1976, the church was the Cathedral of the Diocese of Buffalo. The poorly designed church deteriorated before the eyes of the diocesan faithful, and Bishop Edward Head ordered it razed in 1976. The Timon Towers apartment complex now fills the site.

The brick building with the Plasti-liner sign in the foreground is now the site of Wendy’s. The roof in the immediate foreground belongs to Frank and Teressa’s Anchor Bar where, about a year before this photo was taken, Teressa Bellissimo fried up what legend has deemed the first Buffalo chicken wing.

 

Torn-down Tuesday: Ralph Street has been wiped off the map

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

The area that is now seeing a resurgence as Buffalo’s Medical Campus was once a very densely populated center for brewing in the city.

Buffalo News archives

Ralph Alley, which was known as Ralph Street by the time this photo was taken in 1958, was one of a half-dozen or so alleys in what is now the Medical Campus footprint.

Buffalo Stories archives

In the 1890s, hundreds of homes like these were filled with mostly German immigrants and the first generation Buffalonian children of German immigrants. Many of the men worked in the nearby Ziegele, Weyand, German-American, Empire, Star, and Buffalo Brewing breweries or associated businesses like Braner or Wiegand Malting.

As a part of urban renewal and the expansion of the Buffalo General Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in the 1950s and 1960s, most of the tightly packed alleyways in the area were simply wiped off the map.

What was once Neptune Alley (also known as Ketchum Street) now runs under RPCI. Swiveller (also known as Hammond) and Codlin Alleys were also abandoned in favor of the Roswell campus.

Weaver (also known as Morton) Alley, DeMond (also known as Boston) Alley, and Ralph Alley were all plowed under when a new streetscape was designed for the McCarley Gardens public housing project.