Torn-down Tuesday: Seneca Mall and Park Drive-In, 1968

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

Here’s a look at the building boom in West Seneca just off Thruway exit 55 in 1968.

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This is the 51-acre Seneca Mall site about three months before the first stores opened in the spring of 1969. The 53-store project was one of the largest development projects started in Western New York in 1968.

Among the main tenants of the mall were the William Hengerer Company and JC Penney.

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Hengerer’s was in the spot to the right in the overhead photo closer to Ridge Road, and Penney’s was on the other end closer to Orchard Park Road.

Across Orchard Park Road and over the bridge was the Blatt Brothers’ Park Drive-In.

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The Park Drive-In was taken down in 1988 and work began on a $6 million medical park currently on the site. It took several years to tear down the abandoned Seneca Mall, with most of the work done in 1994. Tops Markets and Kmart now fill part of the mall’s footprint. The grass field at the top left of the overhead photo is now the site of Wegmans.

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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.