Torn-Down Tuesday: Make way for the Main Place Mall

By Steve Cichon

From the roof of AM&A’s in 1960, very few of the buildings seen here would still be standing a decade later.

Buffalo News archives

While the venerable Buffalo retailing names like Tanke and Ulbrich, which dated back to the 1850s and 1870s, would hold on until the 1980s, the buildings they’d called home for generations would not. Most of the block was torn down to make way for the Main Place Mall.

The buildings on the other side of Pearl Street the next block over would eventually be replaced by the Rath Building, the Family Court Building, and the Fernbach parking ramp.

Among the buildings in the footprint where the Rath Building now stands was the Hotel Niagara. Through the ’40s and ’50s, the piano bar at Ryan’s Hotel Niagara was one of the Queen City’s most frequented and well-remembered gay night spots.

One building still standing: Old County Hall, which was just County Hall then, but it was still almost 90 years old.

Published by

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.