Christian Pinkel and the Broezel House

       By Steve Cichon

Christian Pinkel came to Buffalo from Germany as a boy and became one of the first commercial dyers in Buffalo. He spent nearly 50 years in business, many of those years at 128 E. Seneca St., as shown in the image to the right.

You are driving over the spot where this storefront stood when you get off the northbound I-190 at the ballpark. The buildings that remain on the block, however, are of the same era as the Pinkel building.

When this photo was taken in 1870, directly across the street was the Broezel House hotel, at the corner of Seneca and Wells.

That building, and the Jewett Stove Co. factory across Wells Street were burned in what The News called in 1889 Buffalo’s biggest-ever fire. A firefighter was killed in the blaze that was first called in on firebox 29 – called the “Hoodoo Box” by superstitious fire brigadiers, who noted a long list of deadly, hard-to-fight conflagrations where the first alarm came on box 29.

A postcard of Hotel Broezel from 1905.

The Broezel was rebuilt immediately, and the brick and brownstone hotel remained popular given its proximity to the New York Central Rail Terminal on Exchange Street. When the Central Terminal moved to the East Side, the Broezel lost its steady stream of guests. It closed in 1935. That same Elm Street off ramp goes through the lot once occupied by the hotel.

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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.