William & Emslie through the years

By Steve Cichon

Emslie Street hits William Street between Adams and Kretner, for the purposes of looking at our 1880 map.

Soon after 1880, the houses that stood on the northeast corner of William and Emslie streets were torn down to make way for Siegrist & Fraley’s dry goods store, which opened on the spot in 1891.

The corner of William and Emslie, looking toward Cheektowaga. From a postcard, c.1910.

Jacob Siegrist was a buyer for Hengerer’s before partnering with George Fraley in the store on William Street, which Siegrist ran for 41 years. In 1909, Siegrist was the Republican nominee for Buffalo mayor. He lost to Louis Fuhrmann, who was later remembered with the naming of Fuhrmann Boulevard.

Joseph Stein’s bakery was in the building in the 1930s and ’40s. David Cole, and later, Harold Russell and his wife, Ethel, ran a delicatessen in the building in the 1950s.

The only building left standing from the circa-1910 postcard image above is the former Savoy Theater. As it was under construction in 1910, the Buffalo Enquirer reported that its “class of attractions will consist of continuous vaudeville and high-class moving pictures.”

The theater closed in the mid-1950s.

Buffalo Enquirer, 1909.

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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.