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Late 70s & Early 80s Buffalo:
Downtown Before the MetroRail, Chippewa, Elmwood, and More
By Steve Cichon, staffannouncer.com September 22, 2012


THIS PAGE CONTAINS 100 FULL-SIZED IMAGES. PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH LOAD TIMES.

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BUFFALO, NY (staffannouncer.com) - When these photos were taken, Buffalo needed the song "Talking Proud" to remind us to talk proudly of our city because things were seemingly spiraling out of control. Area industry was hemmoraging the good paying blue collar jobs that were the back bone of what Buffalo was made of, so many plants were being left idle. The city itself had seen better days, too. A once proud downtown was looking sad but hopeful for what the MetroRail might bring. Neighborhoods were slowly being abandoned... or worse, quickly being abandoned.

About these photos:

A tremendous Buffalonian with a great eye for history rescued these amazing photos from certain peril. Yes, Derik Kane garbage picked them, scanned them, and put them up on Facebook.

The photos are popping up piecemeal all over Facebook, but I thought it was important to put them in a single, public place together on the web, so that they could be viewed as a single collection, and Derik was kind enough to oblige.

Personally, this is the earliest Buffalo I remember. Taking the Seneca bus downtown to Main Street with my mom or one of my grandmothers just before the MetroRail went in.

I'd like to gather as much info on these photos as possible. If you have any information or stories about any of the buildings, or neighborhoods, or times spent, or even the great array of vehicles, please note the number of the photo(s) and drop me an e-mail and we'll update the page.

It'd also be great if anyone thinks to grab a "now" photo from a similar vanatge point of any of these photos... Especially places that look drastically different.

Click each image for a larger photo.

Bad things were happening all over, and even the calm, cool, and collected types were running out of fingers to plug the holes in the dyke.

That's the scene in the Buffalo of these photos. Late 70s through the 80s. It wasn't cool or hip or trendy or interesting to love this place for what it was. Many people focused their love on a single building, like Shea's or the Darwin Martin House. Many people focused on their love of the people of this city. But as a whole, the Buffalo that was disappearing. The capital of glitz and glamour, the big city between Chicago and New York, the true Queen City of the Lakes was gone. It was hard to love the remnants of those days gone by, the city we have today. It took us some time to appreciate what we had and have, and we're there now.

When someone makes a crack about snow or chicken wings, we're ready to tell them what's truly great about our city. We talk about our great history, and how we're moulding that into our promising future.

But as you look at these photos, I hope you don't simply curse the mistakes that were made. Many of these neat and interesting places no longer exist. But many were taken down in the hopes of replacing the old with something to be proud of tomorrow. No one knew how to do it. Boston made mistakes. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago. Each made choices now lamented about city planning, or lack of it.

Looking through these, quite a few times I said, "Damn." Sometimes as in, damn, I wish that building was still here. But also, damn as in, look at how much better Chippewa looks. Damn, I'm glad there are no more porn shops on Main Street.

It's a mixed bag for sure, but it is a mixed bag. If you through these photos, and see nothing but negative, you might be part of the problem with Buffalo today. You can't change the past, and you can't blame people who were trying, for the most part, to make our city a better place.

An early 80s billboard near City Hall asked the last person leaving Buffalo to turn out the light. Luckily, despite umpteen decisions that we wish we had back, it looks like that light wll shine brightly for quite a while now.

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Steve Cichon is a bow tie wearing Buffalonian. He's an author, publisher, historian, journalist, husband and city home owner. He has fat fingers, an absurd sense of humor, and vivid if not sharp memories of most of his life's experiences. He believes most people are good, but too many are just too physically and intellectually lazy to be good. He lives on hamburgers, black coffee, and chocolate. About most of these things he writes onthe Bowtied Buffalo Blog.

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Steve Cichon's staffannouncer.com is online to celebrate the History of Radio, TV, and Buffalo, NY.... And a combination of the three. Our purpose is to the fill the holes in the internet. There are many sites about all the above, we we here at staffannouncer.com like to think we have content you'll find nowhere else! Be sure to check out our featured pages... or use the site search feature for just about anything under the sun!
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CRYSTAL BEACH:See the sites and hear the souns of Crystal Beach from the 40s through the 80s. See TV commercials, hear radio jingles, look at over 100 snapshots from the park!! WYSL Record Charts:A collection of over 50 WYSL/WPhD Record charts as handed out by the station in the 70s. The best part: Each Chart features a WYSL jock like Kevin O'Connell, Larry Norton, or John Piccillo (plus scads more) all in their 70s glory! WBEN 1973: Hear Clint Buehlman, Van Miller and the Buffalo Braves... ENTIRE DAYS worth of WBEN in 1973, recently digitally remastered from station logger tapes unheard since the day they were recorded! Buffalo Postcards: Well over 600 Buffalo Postcards, from the 1860s through the 1980s. See Downtown, The Olmsted Parks, the Zoo, Swank Delware Avenue, Buffalo Harbor, and hundreds of others The Uncle Bobby Show Page: The World's Most Complete Tribute to the late, great Uncle Bobby Ash, including the Bimbo the Birthday Clown Song! Larry Glick! Pictures and Sounds with WBZ's Overnight Maven of Yesteryear.. the Great Larry Glick! Channel Four's Santa Show: A page dedicated to Channel 4's Santa's Workshop Show... An All Time Buffalo Classic, remembered by just about anyone who grew up in the 50s, 60s, or 70s! Christmas in Buffalo 1954: Ads and epherema taken from the pages of December 1954 editions of the Courier Express and Evening News. Mr. Dressup: Remembering Canada's Greatest Kid Show Host... Ernie Irv, Rick, and Tom: A multimedia presentation on the Eyewitness News Team of Irv Weinstein, Rick Azar, and Tom Jolls. Buffalo Radio '89: Don Postles and Channel 2 cameras visted Buffalo's Top-Rated Radio morning shows back in 1989.... WBEN, WPHD, WMJQ, WGRF, WHTT. Its Midnight: The Tom Connolly Experience: Tom is WBEN Radio's overnight mystery man, famous all across the Niagara Frontier for his hourly time checks heading into CBS News... It's midnight.

The Milt Ellis Jukebox: Milt Ellis was the PA voice of the Buffalo Sabres for the teams first 28 years. On this page you'll find all sorts of classic The History of WBEN at 75!: Check out the dozens of pictures, sounds, and stories of one of Buffalo's great radio stations... With this 75th Anniversary tribute to WBEN! Buffalo Anchorman: A
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