Buffalo in the ’30s: Modernization at the Buffalo airport

By Steve Cichon

As part of the Depression-era programs meant to put men back to work and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, the Works Progress Administration started working on $1.7 million in improvements and modernization at the Buffalo Airport in Cheektowaga in November 1937.

Buffalo News archives

A rural Cheektowaga scene behind WPA workers, starting to build out a new wing of the Buffalo Airport in 1937. Buffalo News archives

The planned upgrades allowed for more daily flights to be added, like the Buffalo-Washington route which started the same day work began. Buffalo Congressman (and later U.S. Senator) James Mead was on that first flight, which was called historic for several reasons.

One was faster mail delivery times, shaving a day or two off mail taken by rail. The real excitement surrounding the new “Buffalo-Washington skyway” involved Canada, and the hope with increased improvement, that Buffalo could be the middle hub in the air link between the U.S. capital of Washington and the Canadian capital of Ottawa.

“Thus another history-making flight was noted in Buffalo’s aviation record.”

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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.