Downtown’s original fresh produce market on Washington St.

       By Steve Cichon
       steve@buffalostories.com
       @stevebuffalo

Recently there has been renewed excitement on the possibility of a Braymiller Market on Washington Street downtown, but the market won’t be the first ever to grace Washington Street.

For more than a century, the Washington Market – also known as the Chippewa Market – stood at Washington and Chippewa, several blocks north of the current proposed development, and just south of still-standing St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church.

Shopping at the Washington Street side of the Washington Market, with St. Michael’s Church in the background. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The city-owned market was not only the biggest market in Buffalo, but also one of the largest municipal public markets in the United States.

When it was opened in 1856, the area around Chippewa and Washington was on the outer edge of the city, and was a residential neighborhood with mostly German immigrants living there.

1880.

One hundred years later, changing demographics in the city and the dawning of the supermarket era made the market obsolete.

The last-surviving buildings of the 109-year-old Washington Market were torn down in 1965 when the city sold the block to Buffalo Savings Bank for $184,000 to be used as a parking lot. Today, M&T Bank owns the parking lot where the market once stood.

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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.