Polish Buffalo in the 1930s: Gramps on Easter & Dyngus Day

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Long before Dyngus Day was the celebration of Buffalo culture it has become over the last decade, it was, as most know, a day of celebration and fast breaking in the Polish community.

My grandfather, Edward Cichon, was the seventh of ten kids born to Polish immigrants who lived in Buffalo’s Valley neighborhood (nestled between South Buffalo, The First Ward, and The Hydraulics.)

Grandma & Grandpa Cichon. Edward V. Cichon and Marie T. Scurr-Cichon.

His memories of Easter and Dyngus Day went back more than 70 years when I interviewed him for a news story back in 2006. He’s giving us a first-hand account of Dyngus Day in Buffalo in the ’20s & ’30s.

Born in 1926, Gramps grew up on Fulton Street near Smith on a street that was, at that time, half Irish and half Polish. Most of the men on the street, including my great-grandfather and eventually Gramps himself, worked at the National Aniline chemical plant down the street.

On Dyngus Day, he’d go behind his house along the tracks of the Erie Railroad—the 190 runs there now—and grab some pussy willows to take part in the Dyngus Day tradition of swatting at girls on their heels, who’d in turn throw water at the boys.

For Easter, Babcia would cook all the Polish delicacies like golabki, pierogi, and kielbasi.

The sausage, Gramps explained, was all homemade. “Pa” (as gramps always called his father) would get two pigs, and they’d smoke them right in the backyard on Fulton Street. The whole family would work on making sausage at the big kitchen table, and then hang the kielbasa out back—but they’d also butcher hams and other cuts of meat as well.

While he was in the frame of mind, I asked him about the Broadway Market, too. In the late ‘20s, His mother would wheel him the two miles over to the market in a wagon, and park him next to the horses while she shopped for food and across the street at Sattler’s.

Reading these stories is great, but listening to Gramps tell them is the best.

Torn-Down Tuesday: Sattler’s at 998 Broadway

Despite having been gone for almost 35 years, Buffalonians still have only one thought when they hear the address 998 Broadway.

randomDec21014

Buffalo News archives

This photo of Sattler’s location at 998 Broadway was taken the day founder John G. Sattler died in 1941. As a teenager, Sattler opened a shoe store in the living room of his mother’s home at 992 Broadway. His business would grow and add product lines, becoming a marketing juggernaut and the backbone of the Broadway-Fillmore shopping district.

Buffalo News archives, 1978.

Buffalo News archives, 1978.

The store’s odd and interesting array of bargains, big events like their Christmas parade and that first-of-its-kind “Shop and Save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway” jingle made the store a destination for people from all over Western New York. In the 1960s, Sattler’s became an anchor tenant in a handful of Western New York’s new shopping malls.

The Boulevard Mall Sattlers, 1980. (Buffalo News archives)

The Boulevard Mall Sattler’s, 1980. (Buffalo News archives)

Sattler’s went out of business in 1982, but the landmark Broadway-Fillmore store was stripped of the Sattler name a year earlier. For its final 13 months, it was known as the 998 Clearance Center. It carried castaways from the Main Place, Boulevard and Seneca Mall locations.

The 998 location was torn down in 1988.

Buffalo in the ’50s: Stoking the flames of uranium fever at 998 Broadway

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In July 1955, a group of Ohio housewives had prospecting fever, after a friend in Canada mentioned they found what they thought was uranium in an abandoned mine. The women, Geiger counter in hand, traveled to a spot 200 miles northeast of Toronto, found radiation, and staked their claims to millions.

Trying to angle in on the hopes of Buffalonians, within weeks of write-ups in all the papers and magazines about the discovery, Sattler’s had a full array of radiation detection equipment available.

Make no mistake, buying the equipment to check your own property for uranium—or to run up to the Canadian brush to stake a claim there—wasn’t cheap. The featured $149 machine would roughly cost $1,300 in 2015 dollars according to federal government calculators. The scintillator, which gives more advanced breakdowns of radiation, was $4,400 in today’s money.

But for $29.95, (2015-$250), a base model Geiger Counter was “perfect for weekend 49ers.”

As the jingle famously reminded us, “shop and save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway.”

Buffalo in the ’40s: Orphans & eye strain

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Most of what was written in the paper in 1944 had to do, in some way, with World War II. Even if not directly about the fighting, the backdrop of the war was apparent in every day-to-day task in Buffalo and around the country.

Thomas Webster was an orphan of the London air raids, and he moved into his uncle’s home on Weyand Street off Seneca Street in South Buffalo.

April 28, 1944: Boy who lost parents in raid likes new home

“Deprived of parents by the Germans’ ruthless bombing of London …”

Sattler’s, meanwhile, was offering ideas for helping those with eye strain brought on by second jobs for the war effort.

April 28, 1944: A second front for your eyes!

“If your eyes are feeling the results of extra wartime use …”

The Golden Age of Buffalo’s Great Retailers

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

BUFFALO, NY  – The outpouring was amazing.

After agreeing to give a lecture at Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery about some of the city’s great retailers of the past, I was deluged with people offering up their memories, and thirsty for the memories of the stores of Buffalo’s grand old stores.

Consider this page a taste of the Golden Age of Buffalo Retailing talk that’s been seen by thousands of Western New Yorkers (and can become a part of your next meeting or event. )

Take a stroll down memory lane, and play some classic jingles while looking over some images of Buffalo’s by-gone retailers.


Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com