The Knoxes, Rands and Diebolds — the big names in Buffalo banking

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.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. writing about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and is the News Director at WECK Radio. A 25 year Buffalo media veteran, Steve's contributed more than 1400 Buffalo History stories to The Buffalo News, worked at WIVB-TV, Empire Sports Network, and spent ten years as a newsman and News Director at WBEN Radio. He's also put his communication skills to work as an adjunct professor, a producer of PBS documentaries, and even run for Erie County Clerk. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.