What It Looked Like Wednesday: Main Street in transition, 1981

By Steve Cichon

This photo of Main Street was snapped just before a handful of 1980s projects would change the thoroughfare’s look and feel forever.

Buffalo News archives
Buffalo News archives

Absent are the MetroRail, the Hyatt, the TGI Friday’s/Comfort Suites building, the former KeyTower and the former Goldome Headquarters (now used by M&T.)

Buffalo News archivesBuffalo News archives 

In the very foreground of this section of the larger photo, there’s the two-floor Burger King at Main and Mohawk, and the Century Theatre next door. You can also see some of the storefronts in the ground level of what is now the Hyatt.

Buffalo News archives
Buffalo News archives

This photo shows more of what is now the Hyatt and the beginning of the clearing of buildings for Fountain Plaza on the west side of Main. On the east side, the buildings soon to be cleared for the Goldome headquarters are still intact, as are the buildings which would make way for TGI Friday’s north of Chippewa Street.

Buffalo News archives
Buffalo News archives

The area known for a generation now as the Theatre District was a block more or less in disrepair.

MORE: Buffalo in the ’80s: Pre MetroRail Buffalo

This first appeared at history.buffalonews.com.

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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 spent 20 years working in Buffalo radio and TV, climbing his way to news director at WBEN Radio. Since then, he's been an adjunct professor, produced 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.