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

By Steve Cichon

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.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo’s pop culture history. His stories of Buffalo's past have appeared more than 1600 times in The Buffalo News. He's a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. Since the earliest days of the internet, Cichon's been creating content celebrating the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo unique and special. The 25-year veteran of Buffalo radio and television has written five books and curates The Buffalo Stories Archives-- hundreds of thousands of books, images, and audio/visual media which tell the stories of who we are in Western New York.