What It Looked Like Wednesday: West Side corner store, 1955

By Steve Cichon

This corner store was at the corner of Dewitt and Helen, behind PS 19 (now the Native American Magnet School) on Buffalo’s West Side in 1955 — but it could have been on any corner, anywhere in Buffalo.

Buffalo News archives

The photo was taken as Mrs. Frank Ott was forced to close the store, because young hoodlums were driving away women customers with “foul language and insults,” while also stealing about $1,000 in merchandise over the course of a year.

From Iroquois, Carling and Genesee beer to Squirt and Vernor’s pop — and Rich’s Ice Cream — the place was crowded with groceries and merchandise that were unique to Western New York.

A reader points out that this storefront and the neighboring home were destroyed in a fire in 2014.


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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.