Torn-Down Tuesday: Pro-booze women march on Niagara Square, 1932

By Steve Cichon

The photo shows only a small portion of the parade of 20,000 women who marched in front of an estimated 100,000 people lining the streets of Buffalo, nearly all boisterously in favor of the repeal of the 18th Amendment and the end of Prohibition.

Buffalo News archives

Most seemed to agree, it was written in the Courier-Express, that some government control over liquor by taxation was a better idea than “the unending stream of bootleg liquor and beer that flows tax-free through this city.”

In characterizing the crowd, Courier reporter C.V. Curry noted there were no machine guns, bootleggers, gangsters, racketeers or “red-faced saloonkeepers of the days long ago.” Instead, he wrote, those marching to return to the legal stream of booze included socially prominent matrons, “veterans of the battlefields of France,” and “at least six elderly, dignified veterans of the Civil War.”

As far as this photo, it might seem familiar but difficult to place. Several landmarks shown still stand, while several others are gone.

The Rand Building looms in the background in full view — the neighboring Tishman building, which now partially blocks the view from this vantage point, was not built until 1959.

The building in the left foreground is the familiar Statler Hotel. To the right is the Walter Mahoney State Office Building. Both look pretty similar today.

The torn-down part of this Torn-down Tuesday entry are the buildings along Franklin Street that have since given way to the Convention Center. The sign that can barely be made out on the building is for the Mohican Grocery store at 157 Franklin.

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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.