What It Looked Like Wednesday: Main & Ferry in the late 1980s

By Steve Cichon

The character of the Main and Ferry intersection has changed dramatically over the last decade after years of neglect.

Buffalo News archives

The building with the whited-out windows was left in dire condition after a fire in the 1970s. It was left dormant and unoccupied until Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) conducted a six-year, $2.9 million project to use the structure as its headquarters. The 1884 building designed by George J. Metzger was rededicated in 2012.

The building that was home to M&G Food Market in the late ’80s, and later to Elwassem’s Food Market, is now home to Nick Sinatra’s redeveloped Fenton Village. 

Buffalo News file

And across Main Street, the latest development proposed for the corner is the $26 million Willoughby Exchange. It will replace, in part, the longstanding Willoughby Insurance building.

Derek Gee/News file photo

Famous for the motorcycle on the roof and the “Willoughby Will When Nobody Will” slogan painted on the side, the insurance company headquarters building started its life as an H. Salt Fish and Chips restaurant.

Published by


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.