Helen died in 1946 and Nicholas died in 1964 so the house was probably sold. I don't think it remained in the family.
Depends how far back we're talking about. The 1970s were my pre-teen years. I didn't get to the West Side that much as a kid, but here's what I remember:
Meanwhile, at AM&As ...Which reminds me, I knew a guy that used to tell people he was a "straight man at the Palace."
The Polish papers were as large and extensive as the News was at the time.
And His Orchestra.Also, here is part of the entertainment section from the Buffalo News, which has some familiar theater names.
Found this article about the Polish Everybody's Daily on the Am-Pol Eagle Web site.
I believe it.As of the end of 2020, 61% of properties in Buffalo are at least 100 years old.
Looks like original owner until 2014!I believe it.
The urban prairie in Broadway-Fillmore started to emerge between about 1995 and 2000. By that time, the oldest worker's cottages in the area would be about 120 to 130 years old. They weren't built very well to begin with, and the process of housing filtering in the area was nearly complete.
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A large part of the city's housing was built with lower middle class or working class households in mind. That's lower middle class and working class by the standards of the 1910s, not today.
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As housing filtration works its way through the East Side, and much of the West Side west of Richmond, it has me wondering how to address it. Many preservationists would freeze the city in amber, or look down on those who wouldn't think about living in an aging house that is incurably functionally obsolete.
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In about 40 years, a typical house in Cheektowaga and Tonawanda will be 100 years old. I was thinking about this a couple of days ago, when I was looking at ads for new houses in old Sunday Couriers from the 1970s -- those houses are going on 50.
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From 1974. Now theeyatt's cleeyassy!
For what it's worth, here's how I described the factors that led to Buffalo's Polonia / Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood becoming an urban prairie.
1870-1900: The original housing stock of worker's cottages was built, with working class home buyers and residents in mind. This means cheap -- a single space heater to keep the place warm, no spearation of public and private space, often a short crawl space that makes the house volnerable to freezing pipes and frost heaving, and sometimes curtains serving as internal doors. Some houses had privies in the backyard. Buffalo’s worker’s cottages were never meant to survive as long as they did.
As families begin to outgrow their cottages, many homeowners make additions off the back. And additions behind the first additions additions. And additions behind the additions behind the additions. The result -- the telescoping house, some having up to five segments.
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1920-1940: With rising incomes comes a rising standard for entry level housing in the United States. The worker's cottages are reaching middle age, and incurable functional obsolescence is creeping in -- shotgun layouts, bedrooms and bathrooms directly off of living / dining / kitchen areas, passthrough bedrooms, and the infamous space heater, to name a few deal breakers for many homebuyers. The narrow lots of Polonia have no alley access, so there's no place for a garage or any kind of off-street parking.
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With the Great Depression and WWII limiting budgets and building materials, many of those cheaply built cottages suffered from 15-plus years of deferred maintenance.
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As Buffalo’s middle class grew, the starter home of the Flapper era became a smaller bungalow, which were being built by the thousands in Kensington, Schiller Park, Riverside, and South Buffalo. Those little bungalows had a LOT more creature comforts, and far better build quality, than any East Side worker's cottage.
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Many residents of other old East Side neighborhoods ditched their cottages, and moved to the newly developing neighborhoods by the city line. Some builders targeted the Polish-American market with small new worker's cottages just over the city line in Cheektowaga and Sloan. Still, for the most part, Polonia's Poles stayed put.
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1930-1950: Polonia was redlined by HOLC in the 1930s. Not because of race, but because of the poor quality of its housing stock, and a "general downward trend" of low income groups. For a few decades, redlining made the interest rate of mortgages and home improvement loans in the Polonia area higher than elsewhere in the city.
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1940-1960: Polonia used to have a reputation as being extremely insular. It was a self-contained neighborhood, where a resident could get by without knowing a word of English. Up to the 1940s, Buffalo’s Polish-American community was solidly working class.
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After WWII, Buffalo's Polish-American community slowly entered the middle class, as salaries increased for factory jobs, and the children of immigrants began to assimilate into the larger society around them.
At the same time, Buffalo became mostly built out, and the region was experiencing a housing shortage. The East Side essentially grew beyond the city limits, into Cheektowaga, Depew, and Sloan. Developers met an insatiable demand for housing by building thousands of starter and lower-middle end homes, often in suburban subdivisions that were platted decades earlier. Low prices, along with low interest VA mortgages, made these new houses irresistible for young households. For a second generation Polish-American family, given the choice of a 60-year old Bork cottage with a shotgun layout and no off-street parking, or a new ranch or Cape Cod off of George Urban Boulevard, either of which they could easily afford, their decision seems obvious.
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1950-1970: Through the 1950s and 1960s, the number of Polish-Americans settling outside of their traditional "old neighborhoods" continued to grow. English was increasingly becoming the first language of the Polish-American community, The city's daily Polish newspapers began to print more articles in English. Second and third generation Americans weren't dependent on stores or services in the "old neighborhood", where employees knew Polish.
The people who stayed behind in Polonia tended to be older; often first generation, with a limited income, or limited English fluency. There were still some younger households who bought or rented in the “old neighborhood”. Still, many intended to leave once they saved up enough money, whether it was to Cheektowaga, Depew, West Seneca, or one of the more multiethnic neighborhoods in the city's bungalow belt.
Although shoppers still crowded Broadway, "Buffalo's second downtown" through the 1950s and 1960s,, newspapers began to report on the challenges Polonia was facing. Aging population, aging housing stock, young people moving to the suburbs.
1980-2000: A convergence of events in the 1980s dealt a knockout blow to a weakened and tired Polonia. Deindustrialization sapped the region, and had a disproportionate impact on working class Polish-Americans. The unemployment rate skyrocketed. Buffalonians of all backgrounds left the area, depressing housing prices and demand in both the city and suburbs. Many of the neighborhood's aging cottages were starting to face major structural problems, and the cost of repairs and updates to bring them up to contemporary standards was often more than their market value. Crime was in the rise, and every week there would be yet another story on Eyewitness News about another little old Polish lady who was raped and beaten in her home.
Housing filtration accelerated through the 1980s, while Buffalo's economy was falling towards its nadir. As real estate prices fell, suburban housing became within reach of those with moderate means. There was no reason to buy a house in the "old neighborhood", except maybe loyalty. Elderly residents in the old neighborhood died off, and their kids struggled to find anyone interested in buying mamusiu's old cottage. Absentee landlords snapped up many of the remaining houses in the neighborhood at fire-sale prices.
The retail environment also changed, Since the 1920s, Buffalonians thought of Broadway, the businest street through Polonia, as the working man's Main Street, or "Buffalo's second downtown". The economies of agglomeration that once attracted large, large, locally owned appliance, furniture, carpeting, and discount full service department stores to Broadway began to break down. As store owners retired, national chains discovered the Buffalo market, retail buildings aged, and disposable income in the surrounding area shrank, the number of empty storefronts eventually reached a critical mass. Broadway fell off the radar screen of all but the most nostalgic consumers. Plans for a proposed shopping mall in the neighborhood fell through. Subsidies from the city couldn't even save the iconic and beloved Sattlers department store at 998 Broadway. The Broadway Market still attracted crowds during the Christmas and Lent seasons, but fell eerily quiet during the rest of the year.
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1990-2000: A growing number of federal, state, and local mortgage and loan programs were available for low income homebuyers and homeowners. At the time, most lower-middle and middle class black households in the Buffalo area aspired to live in the Hamlin Park neighborhood, the bungalow belt of northeast Buffalo, or beyond in the affluent yet diverse Northtowns. Lower income black households on the "other side" of Fillmore Avenue, where housing was in even rougher shape than Polonia, had fewer options. Many filled the void left behind by departing and dying babcias.
The new African-American residents in Polonia were typically poorer than the last generation of elderly and working class Poles that called the place home. The newcomers often don’t have the means to maintain housing that was at the end of its structural life. Absentee landlords didn’t want to sink a lot of money into houses that were falling apart faster than they could fix them. “Paint up clean up” and insulation programs weren’t enough to address larger structural or safety issues.
Wholesale abandonment of Polonia started in the mid-1990s, shortly after African-Americans became the neighborhood's majority. Race wasn't a corollary with emerging urban prairie, though. The St. john Kanty area east of the Belt Line, still predominantly Polish-American, also had growing holes in its urban fabric. Same with the East Side's various "iron islands"; small enclaves of worker's cottages surrounded by heavy industry and railroad mainlines.
The balloon frame construction of the old cottages is far more susceptible to fire damage than later starter bungalows, and outdated electrical systems and central space heaters didn’t help. The resulting fires cemented Buffalo's reputation among Canadians as a city that was constantly ablaze, even though "Buffalo's blaze busters" were most active in those older cottage-filled neighborhoods on the East Side.
2000-2021: Today, what was once the city’s densest neighborhood is now home to its largest urban prairie. Those that remain include a vestigial population of elderly and poor Polish-Americans, an even larger number of poor African-Americans, and nascent Bangladeshi-American and Karen communities. There’s also a few stubborn holdouts that have the means to leave, but stay for some reason or another -- neighborhood loyalty, a sense of duty, a free house that's been in the family for 140 years, whatever. For all practical purposes, though, Polonia is now Broadway-Fillmore, and Cheektowaga is now Polonia.
Gotta' post this.(essentially Assumption RC parish, bounded by the Scajacquada Creek on the south, Tonawanda Street underpass of the Belt Line RR on the west, the railroad and factories on Chandler Street, and Elmwood Avenue on the east).
I dunno if I agree - yet. Just comparing East Lovejoy (the old Italian area East of Bailey) to Kaisertown current listings, overall prices seem comparable. Neither has taken off in price as much as other neighborhoods, but many of the recent sales were at 10-20% above listing price for the better properties, so it may be catching up. My last walks around those neighborhoods (last summer) didn't show much of a change in the mix (or non-mix) of residents who lived there. I drive through occasionally, including the other day, and seemed about the same.A followup: when I look at online real estate listings in Buffalo, I'm surprised at the low house prices in Lovejoy, especially compared to peer neighborhoods in South Buffalo, Kaisertown, and Riverside. Prices in Lovejoy seem lower than comparable houses in Kensington, too, despite that neighborhood's reputation.
I have my suspicions about what's going on. Lovejoy is a very tight-knit neighborhood with a reputation that betrays Buffalo's "City of Good Neighbors" motto, black households are starting to trickle in, and homeowners are panic selling like they're in 1968 Detroit. That's just my theory, anyhow.
Gotta' post this.
A dirt road in Amherst!
Incurable functional obsolescence: pretty much, aspects of the house that are dated or which make the house difficult for day-to-day living can't be fixed without a costly full-gut rehab that might cost more than the house s worth, or more than tearing the place down and starting from scratch. A few thing that come to mind.
- Central space heater.
- Passthrough or daisy-chained bedrooms.
- Location of doors or windows that make complicate furniture arrangement.
- No bedroom closets.
- Too many additions.
- Very low ceilings (7' or lower).
- Rooms with sloped ceilings that greatly limit where an adult can walk upright.
- Bedrooms or the main bathroom directly off the kitchen, dining room, or living room.
- Limited electrical outlets.
- Poor bedroom-to-bathroom ratio. (Example: old "big Catholic family" houses with huge dining rooms, five or six bedrooms, but only one bathroom.)
- Kitchen with no work area, or a layout that forces one or more major appliances to be placed outside of the kitchen. (In the area I live, many houses have refrigerators in a back hall, because they don't fit in the kitchen.)
- Stairs or stairwells that are too narrow or twisted to allow passage of anything but small pieces of furniture or twin beds.
- Stairs where the tread length is close to or smaller than the height of the riser.
- Many of the ceiling lights have chain switches, not wall switches.
- No coat closet near the front or side door.
That doesn't mean the house can't be used for shelter. It just means it'll be a frustrating place to live.
Other aspects of incurable functional obsolescence include the setting -- not demographics, but a nearby permanent nuisance that would harm a resident's ability to "enjoy" living there, or harm their health safety, and well being. For example, 73 / 77 / 79 Stone Street, 25 Vincennes Street, or 23 Dole Street.
One thing to remember: speculative subdivision was rampant in Buffalo from about the 1870s to the time the Great Depression hit. Maps of the era often showed a street network that went far beyond the built-up areas of the city. I'm fascinated by Gilded Age maps showing streets that were never built, or which sat empty for decades before any development took place.
Suburbanization was fairly scattered though wasn't it? I'm guessing a lot of areas got started before the depression hit but only have a handful of pre-war houses. I want to say the area around Country Parkway between Maple and Sheridan is an older area, though its a real mix of vintages... Not sure if that area was meant as second homes out in the "country" or for year round living.One thing to remember: speculative subdivision was rampant in Buffalo from about the 1870s to the time the Great Depression hit. Maps of the era often showed a street n etwork that went far beyond the built-up areas of the city. I'm fascinated by Gilded Age maps showing streets that were never built, or which sat empty for decades before any development took place.
The maps help at dispelling one favorite myth of Buffalo's urbanatti, though: excepting Kenmore, suburbs didn't exist until after WWII. Just past the city line, it was all farms and forests until 1945, after which everybody fled the city. NOPE. Urban sprawl past the city limits got its start much earlier.
There are not many bright spots in the New York economy these days, and one of the few can be found in the unlikeliest of places: Buffalo.
Often victimized in the past by its Frost Belt geography, Buffalo has become the sudden beneficiary of its location across the Niagara River from Canada. Two streams of financial fortune, one from an overheated economy in nearby Toronto and the other from the 1988 free-trade agreement between the United States and Canada, have insulated western New York from the financial troubles afflicting much of the nation.
While New York and many other states are edging perilously close to recession, Buffalo is brimming with the self-confident boosterism of a boom town.
The monthly unemployment rate in the Buffalo area is 4.6 percent. In March it fell below the state average for the first time in 11 years. Job growth in the Buffalo region, which is defined as Erie and Niagara Counties, has outpaced the state average in each of the last four years. At 2.8 percent, it was almost triple the state rate last year.
Economists and business figures disagree about whether the revitalization has been fueled mostly by the trade agreement or by Toronto's economic conditions, but the effect has been the same. Canadian prospectors have looked south and seen western New York as a source of cheap real estate and affordable labor and as a gateway to the huge American market opening to them.
Truths about each myth in boldReminder to self for a Buffalo mythbusting post. Some of the most commonly repeated myths about Buffalo and its built environment that I've heard include:
- The Main Street pedestrian mall / Metro Rail killed downtown retail. and its better that way, keep the chain stores out.
- Plans to build Metro Rail to UB North were blocked by NIMBYs in Amherst who feared "inner city" residents would ride out to their neighborhoods to steal TV sets. Metro is significantly more affordable to ride than MTA and although the fare inspectors at Amherst Station can get annoying, NFTA METRO is nowhere near as over-policed as 5 Borough transit.
- Central Terminal was built in Polonia/Broadway-Fillmore because the New York Central Railroad believed downtown would eventually grow out that far. Central Terminal is a dope old building and it would be a tragedy if Doug Jemal got it
- The International Railway Company streetcar system was a beloved, cherished institution. However, General Motors bought the system so they could replace streetcars with their buses. Buses are cheaper to operate and maintain, especially when gas was so cheap before 1973, but GM is a bad company and LRT is wicked awesome, but so are surviving GM products from the before times that lack catalytic converters.
- Buffalo has no suburbs before 1950, except for Kenmore and Lackawanna. Suburbs are boring but Kenmore > Cheektowaga
- Every house in Buffalo that was built before WWII was a custom build, lovingly handmade by immigrant master carpenters and craftsmen (from Germany) who worked on great cathedrals of Europe. Real estate spectators want you to believe that so they can sell you Black Rock as "Chandlerville".
- Every house in suburban Buffalo was mass produced as cheaply as possible, and built with a 25 year lifespan in mind. if that was true, Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine wouldn't have bought nice houses in Amherst.
- Buffalo's expressway system was designed and built by Robert Moses. the Kensington was a bad idea.
- The Kensington Expressway was intentionally routed through black neighborhoods out of sheer malice, to reinforce racial divisiveness, and to encourage white people to move to the suburbs. out of lack of concern about Poor People in general maybe, when the Kensington was built, wasnt most of the E Side was still Poor White? Still the Kensington was a bad idea. Attempts at re-Re-branding Broadway-Fillmore as "Polonia" in the present day is sheer malice to reinforce racial divisiveness. Its more productive to point this out to Buffalennials than argue about still useful infrastructure that was built 60 years ago. The Skyway should not come down.
- Mortgage redlining in Buffalo was targeted specifically towards black residents, with the intent purpose of denying them credit to buy homes. specifically for Poor residents
- Frederick Law Olmsted believed Buffalo was the "best planned city". It was nice though....
- Buffalo's economic decline was caused by the St. Lawrence Seaway, expressways, the invention of air conditioning, or another singular cause. Free Sly Green
I'm going to disprove all of them.
Classic telephoto angle making things look cluttered.If you think Niagara Falls Boulevard is a mess now, here's what it looked like in 1971. It looked more like something from Houston than anything you'd see in WNY.
I forgot all about IDS. There was one near our house on Union Road near George Urban Blvd.IDS: local discount department store chain. Only lasted for a short while in the 1960s and 1970s.
Funny, in the 80s when I first went to Houston I described it to family in Buffalo as "looking like Niagara Falls Boulevard."If you think Niagara Falls Boulevard is a mess now, here's what it looked like in 1971. It looked more like something from Houston than anything you'd see in WNY.
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Mr. Steak: defunct steakhouse chain.
Twin Fair: local discount department store chain. Barely lasted into the early 1980s.
K-mart: pretty much extinct.
IDS: local discount department store chain. Only lasted for a short while in the 1960s and 1970s.
Victor's: local furniture store chain. Long gone, but something that brings on weepy fits of Boomer nostalgia because of its East Side roots.
ARCO: Buffalo had AM/PM convenience stores, just like Los Angeles.
The strip also was home to the first McDonald's location in New York state. It's still open.
I have my doubts, but let's see ...Myth, hype, or true? Was Ellicott Square really the world's largest office building (at 447,000 square feet) when it was constructed in 1896? If it wasn't, what are examples of of larger buildings?
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