What it looked like Wednesday: Medical Campus area, 1978

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

In November 1978, News Photographer Bill Dyviniak grabbed his camera to take a few shots in the area we now call the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Then, it was the cold and abandoned neighborhood bounded by Buffalo General Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute to the north, and the still-buzzing M. Wile and Trico factories and Courier-Express presses to the south.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

It’s unclear whether the images were shot for a specific story or whether it was feared that the buildings might not last the winter. The folder was labeled “Landmarks to be demolished near Main & Carlton.”

Photographs of three separate “landmarks” were in that folder — and despite all the construction around that area over the last 40 years, from the MetroRail station at Allen Street to the ever-growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, all three buildings still stand to this day.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

The 19th-century Italianate houses on Washington Street are currently a part of the BNMC’s Green Commons project. They were saved from the wrecker’s ball in the late 70’s through the work of preservationists like Austin Fox working with the city and surrounding community.

The 1977 city directory shows all of the single family dwellings remaining on Washington and Ellicott Streets-- both now in the footprint of The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus-- as vacant or as lodging operated by Roswell Park.  The area that was as recently as the 1950s a thriving residential area had quickly become nearly all industrial  and offices.

The 1977 city directory shows all of the single family dwellings remaining on Washington and Ellicott Streets– both now in the footprint of The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus– as vacant or as lodging operated by Roswell Park. The area that was as recently as the 1950s a thriving residential area had quickly become nearly all industrial and offices.

Just west of those houses, stands the Roosevelt Apartments. The exterior has been rehabilitated and the Bells Market has long since closed.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

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A few blocks away at Ellicott and Virginia survives Ulrich’s, Buffalo’s oldest continuously operated tavern.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo News archives

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. The operator of Buffalo Stories Tours writes about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo special at blog.buffalostories.com and daily at buffalonews.com/history. 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 and produced PBS documentaries. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.