Torn-Down Tuesday: The foot of Main Street around 1904

       By Steve Cichon

For this 21st century Buffalonian, it’s tough to imagine the water playing such a vital daily role in the lives of Buffalonians of 100 years ago, but the dock along the Buffalo River is as busy as any downtown street.

For generations, we’ve lamented the loss of the water as a part of our lives in Buffalo. While projects of the last 15 years have allowed much more waterfront access than we’ve seen in decades, today, the foot of Main Street in this photo is covered by Metro Rail tracks and parking lots between the back of KeyBank Center and the Skyway.

The steel propeller passenger ship Wyandotte spent the summer of 1904 as the passenger ferry between downtown Buffalo and Crystal Beach. It was one of a handful of steamers to handle those duties before the SS Canadiana took over the route from 1910 through 1956.

About a decade after the above photo was taken, the buildings visible on the left would make way for the DL&W Terminal, parts of which are still used today as an NFTA storage shed for Metro Rail trains.

Italians in Buffalo through the years

       By Steve Cichon

As late as the 1940s, newspaper stories written about Buffalo’s Italian population were painted with wild strokes of exotic color.

Italians in the Hooks neighborhood near Canal Street, 1908.

“Off in a section of the city where the rays of the sun, on a bright day, glisten down upon dilapidated housetops and seek their way into narrow streets and by-ways with which the place abounds, are colonized a people in whose native land the skies are the fairest and bluest, and where the very breezes are filled with invigorating fragrance.” – The opening paragraph of “The Italian Colony in Buffalo,” The Buffalo Courier, 1898

Sprinkled throughout 50 years’ worth of these newspaper accountings of how and why Italians came to and flourished in Buffalo, are the facts – and the colorful descriptions – which make up this story.

A handful of Genoese were the first Italians to make Buffalo their home.

When Luigi Chiesa set up his home and birdcage store at Elm and Broadway in the mid-1840s, he didn’t know any English, and there wasn’t anyone in town who knew any Italian. But he quickly became a Buffalo backer.

“Chiesa became a self-appointed immigration agent for Uncle Sam,” reported the Buffalo Express in 1901, “and in his letters to friends in Italy were importunings to this great country, ‘God’s Country.’ ”

His name means “church” in Italian, so not long after arriving in Buffalo, he became well-known among longtime city residents as Louis Church. But to the slowly trickling in numbers of Italians, he was still Luigi and his home was the first hub of Buffalo’s Italian community.

John Roffo was among the first Italians to settle in the neighborhood that would come to be known as Little Italy near today’s Canalside. After arriving in 1847, he was a wine merchant and grocer on Canal Street, then opened a tavern on Erie Street.

Louis Onetto, who owned a macaroni manufacturing works on Broadway near Michigan for more than 50 years, came to Buffalo in 1866.

Those early sons of Italy were northern Genoese, but in the decades to come, the massive numbers came from southern Italian places like Sicily and Naples.

“The Sicilians far outnumber the other Italians in Buffalo,” reported The Express. “They are the dark-skinned, raven-haired, black-eyed Italians who are most numerous on Buffalo’s streets. They are the manufacturers of macaroni, the fruit hucksters, and the bootblacks.”

“The Italian Moses who led the Sicilians to the promised land of Buffalo was Frank Baroni,” reported The Express. He came to Buffalo from Valledolmo, Sicily, in 1882 and immediately wrote home encouraging people to find their way to Buffalo.

“The great majority of the Italian colony,” reported The Express in 1908, “are of the peasant and laboring class.” But not all.

Among the first 42 to heed Baroni’s call from Sicily was a destitute boy, Charles Borzilleri. Eventually, he was the first Italian to graduate from UB Medical School and became prominent not only in the Italian community but in Buffalo at large. He founded Columbus Hospital on Niagara Street and also spent several terms as the president of the Erie County Medical Society.

Those Italians moving to Buffalo settled in one of the oldest parts of Buffalo, displacing the Irish enclave near the Erie Canal and Buffalo Harbor around Canal Street and the Terrace. What was the center of this neighborhood is today covered by the Marine Drive Apartments near Canalside.

“Hemming in on one side by the water’s edge, and intersected on the other by the ponderous traffic of a steam railway, the locality offers few inducements to those who would establish homes within the boundary lines of Buffalo,” reported The Courier in 1898.

That’s why through the 1890s, more Italians began moving onto the other side of the canal as well, into what we would now describe as the West Side.

Long before City Hall was built, St. Anthony’s Church – now in the shadow of City Hall, was the primary place of worship for Buffalo’s Italian population. Italians began to move in from what is now City Hall north to what is now the Peace Bridge.

Right at the center of that newly Italian area was Front Avenue, which would be renamed Busti Avenue in honor of Buffalo’s first celebrated Italian in 1930.

It was the third attempt to name a street after Paulo Busti, an agent for the Holland Land Company. Like many of Holland’s executives, his name appeared as a street name on maps of early Buffalo. The original Busti Avenue was re-christened Genesee Street. The streets now known as Upper and Lower Terrace streets were once known as Busti Terrace, before Busti’s name was dropped off the map for a second time.

A 1930 breakdown said that there were about 20,000 Buffalonians who had been born in Italy, and another 45,000 who had at least one Italian-born parent, making Italians Buffalo’s third most numerous foreign-born residents, behind Germans and Poles.

Buffalo’s Italian community celebrated when, in 1958, the first one of their own was elected mayor. Frank A. Sedita – who grew up in the neighborhood behind City Hall, doing the jobs typical of grammar school-age Italian boys like shoeshine boy and newspaper hawker – was elected to three terms as Buffalo’s mayor.

Torn-Down Tuesday: The Seaman’s Home, 62 Main St.

       By Steve Cichon

Today, HarborCenter is one of the developments of a revitalized waterfront that draws people from all over the world.

The Seaman’s Home, lower Main Street, 1946.

In 1946, when the photo above was taken, lower Main Street was more of a reminder of what Buffalo was losing, rather than what was to come.

For decades, the anchor of that block had been the Seaman’s Home.

“The Seaman’s Home is not a charitable institution,” said founder James Pickard in 1925, when Buffalonians were concerned lower Main Street was “being overrun with bums and hoboes.” Pickard said the Seaman’s Home was a place where men could get 50 cents’ worth of clean lodging for 20 cents.

He was superintendent of the home from 1907 until he died in 1944. The place was “designed to provide lakemen with a home within their means and one where they could maintain their self-respect.”

When the Seaman’s Home Association was created, there was a need for winter housing for the thousands of men who worked on lake boats for the other three seasons.

By the 1950s, the local maritime industry had changed. Great Lakes shipping was no longer a key cog in the country’s economy. Many of the less-skilled jobs had been automated, and far fewer sailors who remained made relatively decent salaries and could afford to live comfortably when not on the lakes.

In 1953, the Courier-Express “Enquiring Reporter” asked a handful of men, several of whom listed the Seaman’s Home as their address, “What causes you to live on Skidrow?”

Each of them, in one way or another, mentioned alcoholism as a part of their struggle to survive.

When the area was rezoned in 1957, a salvage company owner said no one would notice if the place was torn down.

“The Seaman’s Home is nothing but a dropping-off spot for every bum from California to Maine,” said Robert Gray of Republic Salvage, heatedly, in a Common Council hearing. “I know what I’m talking about because I put on old clothes and went down there to see for myself.”

A few years later, when impending redevelopment put the future of the home in jeopardy, The News reported “there are few places left where the human derelicts of the city can get a bed for a night for the traditional 50 cents.” Not too long afterward, one of the last was nothing but a memory.

After decades as a parking lot for special events at The Aud and what’s now KeyBank Center, HarborCenter was opened on the spot in 2014.

Late 1950s view showing the Skyway, Memorial Auditorium, and the foot of Main Street. You can see the beginnings of I-190 construction to the left. The arrow shows the Seaman’s Home. Below, is a current Google 3D image of the same area.

The twin pumps at Main and Terrace

By Steve Cichon

In the 1920s and 1930s, a lot was written about “the twin pumps” that brought fresh well water to what is now the Canalside area for most of the 1800s.

The twin pumps, at Main Street and The Terrace. The pole with white paint a few feet up is Buffalo’s Liberty Pole. The building at the right is the back side of the Mansion House, Buffalo’s most famous hotel of the era, which was fronted at Main and Exchange. Today, the area in this photograph is in the shadow of the I-190, next to the crater where Memorial Auditorium once stood.

This photo was originally published with the caption “the most historic spot in Buffalo.”

There was a lot of nostalgia for these water pumps, which served as a reminder of the way Buffalo used to be. It’s the same sort of nostalgia you might feel when I mention that these pumps were located not far from the spot where Memorial Auditorium’s front doors would eventually be built.

He wrote a weekend magazine piece about the pumps in 1954.

The two pumps, standing side by side, were operated manually by two slim, curved pump handles made of wrought iron, about 4 feet long, with a ball at the end of each handle about the size of a small orange.

The pumps stood on a stone slab about 4 feet wide by 6 feet long and about 10 inches high, and one had to reach to put a bucket on a spout. On each corner of the small plot reserved for the pumps was a stout oaken post to fend off wagons that might be inclined to drive too close.

Before running water made its way into every building, pumps attached to subterranean wells dotted the city. In the 1860s, there were more than 100 municipal water pumps at places like Hampshire and 10th, Goodell and Oak, William and Pine, Elm and Tupper, and Louisiana and South.

The twin pumps were the most popular in the city. There were many who swore by the mysterious and medicinal benefits of the water coming from the spring well belong ground level — the spring that eventually caused some difficulty in the building of the Aud and the driving several of the structures supporting the Niagara Thruway. Before masons and cement men cursed the flowing waters, grandmothers of another time would send kids down to the twin pumps to get some of that special water to fix their stomachaches or to help grandpa’s rheumatism.

The spot was also popular for travelers looking to water their horses, especially with the folks who liked to take their thirst-quenching from the water pump to Pete Hanour’s tavern nearby. Not only were the pumps centrally located, but they were also only a few feet away from the Liberty Pole, the giant flag pole that could be seen from most places downtown and was a common gathering place.

The Buffalo You Should Know: Before there was Canalside…

Some old-timers living today who drank from the well probably think that the pumps throughout the city—of which there were many—were discarded when piped water came in, but the fact is the Twin Pumps well—the daddy of all wells in the city—was the direct cause of all pumps in use in 1891 being sealed forever.—Charles W. Mix

During summer 1891, the water in the well changed color, and the taste was off. Tests conducted by the city health department showed that the popularity of the spot as hitching post — and the run-off expected from a popular hitching post — caused the well water to be contaminated.

Soon after the release of the report, all the city’s remaining wells were capped, and a sight that was so much an essential part of life in Buffalo in 1880 became fodder for history books.

Torn-Down Tuesday: Train stations of Canalside’s past

By Steve Cichon

There’s $1 million in state money on the table to study the feasibility of a new train station for Buffalo and answer some key questions—chief among them, where it should go.

Since problems at the Exchange Street Amtrak station last year helped ignite talk of the need for a new train station in the city, two potential locations received the most buzz: Canalside at Buffalo Harbor and the former New York Central Terminal on Buffalo’s East Side.

Downtown Buffalo’s current train station. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

The Central Terminal’s historic connection to Buffalo’s locomotive past is obvious — it was the city’s main train station for 50 years. But before the shiny Art Deco landmark opened in 1929, the heart of the city’s passenger train service was near the area now known as Canalside.

The New York Central Terminal. Postcard, 1945.

For the 75 years before the current Central Terminal opened, the New York Central Depot was on Exchange Street about where the current train station is.

New York Central Depot, Exchange near Washington St. The bridge in the distance is the Michigan St. Bridge going over Exchange Street and the railroad tracks.

Built in 1854, the depot served passengers until 1929.

On the spot where the Courtyard by Marriott/Philips Lytle building stands today, the Lehigh Valley passenger terminal stood from 1916-1960. When the station opened, it was  it was “a cause for civic celebration,” and “the dreams of years fulfilled.”

Lehigh Valley Terminal, 1959.

At the foot of Main Street stood the Lackawanna Railroad depot. This image is from 1914. Trying to find the spot today, you might leave KeyBank Center at the Sabres Store entrance, and head for the Metro Rail tracks. Just across the tracks at the Harbor Center Metro Rail stop is about where this version of the DL&W Passenger terminal stood.

Lackawanna Railroad Depot, 1914

It was around the time of this photo that DL&W built a palatial passenger terminal and train shed complex in the area that is now across South Park Avenue from the backside of the arena along the Buffalo River.

The passenger terminal portion of the building was torn down, but the train shed building is used to shelter the Metro Rail trains when not in use.

The Canalside site has plenty of history, but very little infrastructure remains. Train tracks and terminals once crisscrossed and filled the area, but they’ve mostly been gone for generations now.

Torn-Down Tuesday: The Mansion House, Main & Exchange, 1932

By Steve Cichon

The Mansion House was built on the ground one of Buffalo’s early taverns and hotels. Originally known as Crow’s Tavern, the place was bought by Phillip Landon, an early surveyor of Buffalo, in 1806.

Buffalo News archives

(Buffalo News archives)

Landon’s public house served as Buffalo’s first public school as well as Buffalo’s first county courtroom.

The original tavern was destroyed when the British burned Buffalo in 1813.  Phillip Dorsheimer bought the entire block, and built a five-story building. Another floor was added, and that rebuilt gin mill was styled into a modern hotel by new owner Rebecca Wheeler in 1829.

For the next 100 years, the hotel served Buffalo’s elite arriving first by stage coach, then by canal and then by rail.

“The Mansion House, the career of which abounds in color and historic lore, was host to aristocracy of its day,” wrote The News as the building was slated for demolition in 1932.

The structure was called “one of the most outstanding landmarks in Buffalo’s history” weeks before it was taken down, to make way for buildings to be utilized by the New York Central Railroad.

The New York Central right-of-ways were then sold to New York State for the building of the I-190.

Piers holding up the I-190 now occupy the space once home to Mansion House.

Torn-Down Tuesday: The Lehigh Train Terminal, 1959

By Steve Cichon

When the new Lehigh Valley passenger terminal opened in 1916, it was “a cause for civic celebration,” and “the dreams of years fulfilled.” Its erection gave Buffalo the passenger terminal that for a generation people had been wishing and hoping to see built.

Postcard image, Buffalo Stories archives

Called “the most portentous” passenger terminal in “this section of the country,” the four-story structure was built of gray Indiana limestone.

Buffalo News archives

By 1959, rail passenger service was becoming a thing of the past in Buffalo. In fact, many of the Lehigh Valley right-of-ways were sold to New York State to build the I-190. The mammoth structure had become unnecessary, and had been allowed to fall into disrepair.

Buffalo News archives

The station was demolished in 1960 to make way for the Donovan State Office Building, which was refurbished and is now the home of Phillips Lytle, Courtyard by Marriott and Pizza Plant.

The Buffalo You Should Know: Before there was Canalside…

By Steve Cichon

Today, it’s the latest, greatest Buffalo hangout: Canalside. Selfies with SharkGirl and Tim Horton, curling, riding ice bikes, and soaking up sun in colorful Adirondack chairs are all exciting new parts of what it means to be a Buffalonian in 2016.

While many say the rebirth of the inner harbor area is a long time in coming, it’s at least the fourth or fifth time the area has been “reborn” since Buffalo’s first non-native residents built huts along the northern shore of Little Buffalo Creek. That creek was excavated to form the Commercial Slip and Erie Canal terminus, which was filled in so the Aud could be built on it. Then the Aud was torn down and replaced with the Canalside skating rink.

From the canal, to railroads, to grain storage, to manufacturing and industry, most of what made Buffalo an important place during the city’s first hundred years happened within sight of modern day Canalside.

Buffalo’s birthplace

It was from the area we now know as Canalside that Buffalo grew into a village, then a city. Through the second half of the 1700s, the place was wilderness, with a scattering of huts from French and, later, British explorers and traders. The Senecas also built a longhouse in the area near what we now call Buffalo’s inner harbor.

Cornelius Winne, one of the first European settlers to come to this area, built the first permanent house by Western standards in 1789 near where the I-190 goes over Washington Street.

Three decades later, Buffalo’s future was secured when it was decided that the Erie Canal would terminate at Buffalo Harbor. The canal was a modern marvel in transportation and communication that tied the eastern United States to the frontier lands of the west, and its end point was where Buffalonians now spend the winters curling.

The canal brought ships, and ships brought business — and sailors. As one of the country’s busiest ports, the area near the canal was also one of the county’s most rough-and-tumble neighborhoods, as demonstrated by one of the maps recently restored by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.

Known as “the Infected District,” “the Hooks” or just Canal Street, the area was a hotbed for licentious behavior, especially among visiting sailors. The red dots on the map show the location of “houses of ill-fame.” The Christian ministry that created the map, in hopes of drawing attention to the problems of the area, counted 75 houses of prostitution and 108 “thriving” saloons in the relatively small area now covered by the Marine Drive Apartments, the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, and the Liberty Hound Restaurant.

A 1903 piece in The Buffalo Evening News described the district and the map in detail.

“The extent to which vice flourishes at the Canal street region, or the infected district, as it is called, is pointedly shown in a large wall chart just issued by the Christian Homestead Association, which is doing mission work in that district.

“Staff Captain Cox of the Salvation Army, who has been in the slums in all the large cities in the world, says the district is the worst he ever saw, with the single exception of a street in Bombay. The chart shows the location of 108 saloons, 19 free theater saloons, 75 houses of ill-fame and 75 second-hand clothing stores, barber shops, restaurants and other legitimate places. It is issued for the purpose of bringing forcibly to the attention of the people of Buffalo the iniquity of that district, and to get them interested in the work of the Rescue Mission, which is maintained entirely by subscriptions.”

Part of what was so shocking about the drunkenness and debauchery of Canal Street is that it was freely participated in by both men and women. The steely females of Buffalo’s waterfront weren’t just arrested for prostitution — they were often found in the drunk tank and were accused of knifings, assaults and even the occasional murder.

The Canal Street area was also a place of extreme poverty. Interspersed among the gin mills and cathouses were the crumbling tenement homes teeming with first-generation Italian immigrants. The 19th Ward, of which this area was a part, had Buffalo’s highest concentration of tenement housing at the turn of the 20th century. Italians, more that any other nationality, lived in tenement structures in 1893, when Buffalo had about 9,000 people living in such conditions, where poor sanitation helped breed illnesses like cholera.

That 1893 study of tenement houses citywide made note of the poor sanitation on Canal Street, where the water closets and toilets for an entire block of homes “were too filthy for use.” Families were routinely living and sleeping  in single rooms smaller than 10 feet by 10 feet.

A tenement on Canal Street. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The language in talking about these places was strong, particularly where the welfare of children were concerned. Buffalo’s more landed and wealthy class looked upon the living conditions of Buffalo’s poorest with much hand-wringing.

“Hundreds of children living in tenements in the infected district play around the cess-pool of iniquity and degrading vice, and where all that is vile and loathsome accumulates to contaminate or destroy decency and innocence we can hardly expect youth to walk in the path of purity, sobriety, and virtue.”

While “The Charity Organization Society” clearly means to describe the living conditions in the slums, another article in The News in 1896 shows antipathy for the people as well their living conditions. The author is explaining “nicknames for different nationalities found in Buffalo.” Today, we’d call them slurs, but 110 years ago, they just wanted to be sure that readers were using the words properly.

“The Italians, besides the generic name of Dagos, have no general name of their own. All are Dagos to the outsiders. However, the Sicilians, here as elsewhere, are called ‘Ginneys.’ Just why, no one seems to know. The ‘Ginneys’ are the people who are generally blotting out ‘The Hooks,’ and the tenements about Peacock and Canal Streets are inhabited almost entirely by ‘The Ginneys.’

“The ‘Dagos’ proper are the better class of Italians, and they are chiefly found in the neighborhood of lower Court Street and the adjacent territory.”

Canal Street as a civic center

While today’s Canalside was once home to aristocratic Buffalo’s least favorite immigrant neighborhood, it was also home to one of the city’s great sources of civic pride for more than a century.

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo’s Liberty Pole was erected in the wake of a nationalistic fervor following Buffalo’s role in Canadian attempts to throw off the yoke of the British monarchy in 1837’s Upper Canada Rebellion. Canadian freedom fighter William Lyon Mackenzie convinced many Buffalonians to help, including the owner of the steamer Caroline, which was ferrying supplies to Mackenzie’s holed-up spot on an island in the Niagara River. British forces captured the ship and set it on fire, letting it crash over Niagara Falls. An American crew member was killed.

The next year, men of Buffalo and Black Rock gathered to celebrate their liberty — and built a Liberty Pole to celebrate freedom from the British. The pole was topped with a menacing gold eagle facing Toronto and the British Canadians with whom they’d been embroiled.

For the next 100 years, the Liberty Pole at Main and Terrace was perhaps Buffalo’s best-known meeting place, on an open square near what was, for most of that time, Buffalo’s rail hub as well as the busy lake port.

You don’t have to reach far back to find memories of Canalside as a port, either. Generations of Buffalonians caught the Crystal Beach Boat at the foot of Main Street, though their view of the Canalside area was dramatically different from the one we have today. For years, as they left the Americana or the Canadiana, they could look up Main Street and watch what was truly Buffalo’s main business thoroughfare disappear into the horizon.

Today, the Skyway, the I-190, and the gargantuan Marine Midland Tower complex divides the “waterfront” from the rest of the city. But that’s a relatively new delineation. (Buffalo Stories archives)

The Infected District disappears

In 1939, construction began on the mammoth Memorial Auditorium at one end of Dante Place, wiping out a series of what were considered tired old buildings with a fresh new structure that was intended to reflect Buffalo’s future. It was the beginning of the end for the the colorful neighborhood that had been known as Dante Place, Canal Street, the Hooks, and the Infected District.

This photo shows the area just before the Memorial Auditorium was built. The Liberty Pole is there, along with the columned Lehigh Valley Terminal, which was torn down in 1960 to make way for the Donovan Office Building. That building is now the remodeled headquarters of Phillips Lytle and a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. Toward the upper right of the photo, you can see the rounded roofs of the train sheds visible in far off in the background of the Liberty Pole photo above.

Buffalo News archives

While the Depression-era public works building of the Aud helped spell the end of one of Buffalo’s great neighborhoods, it also helped bring a feeling of new life to the city. In fact, in much the same way the slow demolition of the Aud in 2009 seemed to spark excitement and hope for something new at the waters’ edge, the slow building of Buffalo’s new “convention center” had the same effect 70 years earlier.

A 1950 view of the Hooks from the roof of Memorial Auditorium, just before the neighborhood was wiped away to make room for the Marine Drive Apartments. (Buffalo News archives)

“As if overnight the terrace is coming back to life,” News reporter Nat Gorham wrote in 1939. At the beginning and end of its usefulness as a building, the waterfront’s Memorial Auditorium helped coalesce Buffalo’s dreams and hopes for the city. Just as we watched with anticipation as the Aud came down, the people of Depression-era Buffalo watched with anticipation as the building went up.

A relatively new Memorial Auditorium (marked 4), before the bulldozing of the Dante Place neighborhood (just above the Aud in the photo), and before the building of the Skyway and the New York State Thruway’s Niagara Extension. (Buffalo News archives)

In 1970, the Aud again played a part in what was new and exciting in Buffalo, bringing thousands of fans to Canalside as the home of the NHL’s Sabres and the NBA’s Braves. A facelift for the building and surrounding area brought modern lighting to the streets, and the orange level of seating had been added to the building by 1973.

Nearly 30 years later, the Aud closed, and in 2009 it was demolished. That cleared the way for what we know today as Canalside.

For 50 years, people all over the city bemoaned the fact that there was “nothing going on” at Buffalo’s waterfront. The somethings-new every few years did little to jump-start the imaginations of Western New Yorkers or make any real progress at the water’s edge.

The waterfront as it looked for many years in recent history. (Buffalo News archives)

But ever since settlers came to Buffalo’s waterfront in the 1700s, there has been flux and shifting for the land closest to the Buffalo Harbor. It all coalesces in more excitement for Buffalo and its waterfront than has been seen in generations.

A scene from today’s Canalside. (Harry Scull Jr/News file photo)

Buffalo in the ’30s: Buffalo’s outer harbor fog horn

By Steve Cichon

“When the fog horn at the entrance of Buffalo harbor begins its mournful ‘moo,’ ending in an abrupt roar, it does more than prompt some of the populace within its range to answer in lurid expletives, or send others to demand of officials that it be stilled.”

Buffalo News archives

Buffalo’s main lighthouse — and attached diaphone foghorn — was known as “The Breakwater Light” at the time of this 1930 photo.

Eighty-five years ago, Buffalo was still a great port city. And as a great port city, harbormasters had to guide ships into Buffalo under all conditions.

To beat the frequent Lake Erie fog, the lighthouse’s great fog horn — which could be heard from 25 miles away — was sounded to bring those lake freighters in safely.

This horn is similar to the one that graced Buffalo Harbor in the 1930s.

While the blaring horn helped ships’ captains pilot their craft, “the mournful moo” was not, as you might imagine, conducive to sleeping in the vicinity of the harbor.

It’s not clear whether the photo was printed incorrectly in the paper or on the photo print that was found in The News’ archives.

Torn-down Tuesday: View from the Donovan Office Building, 1963

By Steve Cichon

Now known as One Canalside, the former General William J. Donovan State Office Building is now an anchor of what’s fun, new and exciting in Buffalo’s inner harbor — from the new Pizza Plant to the spectacular top floor headquarters of Phillips Lytle.

Buffalo News archives

Just as the refurbished building represents what Western New Yorkers hope is a “New Buffalo” on the horizon, when it first opened in 1962, it also represented what was new and exciting.

Century-old buildings, seen as tired and worn out, were bulldozed to make way for the building — the construction of which was followed closely by both The Evening News and Courier-Express in much the same way we all anxiously followed the construction of HarborCenter.

This was the view from the roof of the Donovan Building, looking north up the 190, shortly after the building opened in 1963. That’s the corner of Memorial Auditorium in the foreground, the Col. Ward Pumping Station in the distance to the left, and to the right is the familiar top of Buffalo’s City Hall.

Otherwise, most of the 19th century buildings in view are long gone, replaced by the Marine Midland/One Seneca Building and the WNED/WBFO studios, the Adam’s Mark Hotel and others.

To the left of the Ashland Oil sign, you can still make out the front of the Buffalo Gas Works building — the front of which still stands as part of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters.