By Steve Cichon
Forty-five years ago this week, Buffalo’s NHL team had just been officially christened “The Sabres,” and Punch Imlach, the team’s head coach and general manager, was getting ready to put the new team through hard workouts to prepare for the season.
Thirty-five years ago this month, The News began celebrating the 100th anniversary of the paper’s starting a daily edition.
In the special section called One Hundred Years of Finance and Commerce, The News recounted the history of a handful of Buffalo’s financial and commercial industries, and provided ad space for many companies involved in those industries to tout their own contributions.
Buffalo’s wealthiest and most philanthropic families through most of the 20th century were in change of Buffalo’s banks. Each was known for its pop-culture contributions to Buffalo as well.
The grandfather of the founder of the Sabres, Seymour Knox Sr., was credited with building Marine (later Marine Midland) Bank into a modern giant. It was Seymour Knox II’s love of art and patronage that saved the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, know now, of course, as the Albright-Knox.
The Rand and Diebold families made their wealth in banking — but they were also well known in the broadcasting world.
It’s an old, probably apocryphal story that the call letters of Buffalo’s first successful commercial radio station — WGR — were selected in homage to George Rand, an early financier of the station. It’s more likely that the call letters were randomly assigned and the Rand reference was a happy coincidence.
The Diebolds were influential in early television in Buffalo, helping to bring the financial backing of Western Savings Bank to a handful of stations in the 1950s.