Buffalo East Side Businesses
This page attempts to document businesses from the Old East Side from the period of 1835 through World War II.
Most of the information was taken from early city directories or from people's family files or memories.
If you have information about any of these businesses that you'd like to add, or other businesses not listed here, please contact me. Photos are espectially welcome. (Must be copyright-free.) Email addresses have been modified to reduce spam.
Last updated: 11 December 2006
Bakeries & Candy Stores
- Stegmeier's, located on Genesee Street at Koons Avenue. Opened by Frank Stegmeier in 1907, later turned over to his son, Al Stegmeier; sold in the 1970s. (From J. Burau, resident on Koons 1951-1974; additional information provided by Anne Stegmeier Witherow.)
- Burczynski Bakery on Stanislaus St. They closed sometime in the 1960's. (contributed by Dolores)
- Al Cohen's Rye Bread Bakery Inc., 1132 Broadway. They are still in business but from may no longer owned by the Cohen family. (contributed by Dolores)
- Hall's Bakery
(From George Richmond:) "From my earliest memories (1930s), Hall's did home delivery, using one-horse wagons. Just before World War II, they switched to motor trucks, but kept the wagons around. As a gesture to their committment to the war effort, the Buffalo News bought some or all of the wagons from Hall's, repainted them in News blue with white letters, and used them to deliver the news in the city. They still used trucks in the suburbs, though. I don't know where they found or stabled the horses." Photo to right contributed by Chuck Simons. Click here for the full size photo. (350k)
- Wick's Candy Store, on Genesee between Nevada and Montana Streets. (Submitted by J. Burau, area resident 1951-1974.)
- Candy Store
Sharon's ancestress, Matilda Versch, ran the candy story at Jefferson and Sycamore with her husband Martin Versch from around 1912 to around 1929.
- Georger's Candy Store opened in April 1893 at 280
East Genesee Street by William E. Georger. His son, William P. Georger,
took over the business in May 1922 and added a delicatessen. There also was an
ice cream parlor in the rear of the store. Georger's son, Eugene, who lives
in Lockport, was about ten when this picture was taken in
Source: Rich Schweigler
Butchers & Meat Cutters
- MEATCUTTERS (1885)
- Ferdinand Doebert 492 Hickory
- Gustave E. Adler, 15 Washington market.
- Michael Altman 637 Elm
- August Beck, 186 Genesee
- Michael Biller, 834 Genesee
- George Blendinger, 769 Genesee
- Xavier Dietsche, 528 Elm
- Henry J. Crocoll, 793 Michigan
- Christian Dressel, 448 Genesee
- Henry Knell, 37 Mulberry
Funeral Homes & Undertakers
- Loring Pierce, Sexton and Undertaker, 153 Franklin Street
Loring Pierce (1793-1870) was Buffalo's first undertaker or Sexton as he was called. There are no known pictures of Mr. Pierce. Lewis Allen called Pierce "a hero" for his work during the 19th century cholera epidemics. There are many stories about him and he was one of the real characters of early Buffalo history.
- Wedekindt Funeral Homes
This multi-generational funeral company, initially at Walden and Genesee, has done an excellent job of documenting its history and placing it online. Great photos.
Hotel Lafayette (1941)
Postcard reads: "In the heart of the city, at Lafayette Square, convenient to all stores, theatres, banks, office buildings, car and bus lines. Famous for its food. Finest dining room, cocktail lounge, coffee shop, grille, and home of the Automobile Club. Garage in connection. Single rooms with bath from $2.50. Kenneth A. Kelley, Manager. Source: Darcy McCabe.
La Paris Inn & Supper Club located at Main and Michigan across from Metro Bus garage. Source: Rich Schwegler
Source: Karen Kolb
530 Main Street
As we researched residents along Genesee Street, we kept bumping into "The Genesee" but didn't know what it was. Member Karen Kolb found out for us: "Today I bought a used book, titled Pharmacy on the Niagara Frontier. In it I found a photo of the Genesee Hotel, which stood on the corner of Main and Genesee from 1882 to 1922." It also housed Gregory's "Genesee" Pharmacy.
Source: Karen Kolb
Source: Karen Kolb
NY Central Depot
Source: Karen Kolb
- Heinrich Volkheimer's Oriental Cut Glass Company
Heinrich Volkheimer owned a small glass cutting shop on the East Side. The Oriental Cut Glass Company operated out of the back of the Volkheimer home at 440 Sycamore Street. Heinrich died in a motorcycle accident in June 1915. He was returning from a successful trip to New York City where he had just sold his company's largest order. There are a few surviving pieces of beautiful crystal from the shop. Source: JW of Omaha, NE.
- 1770 Broadway
We find many, many people (mostly male) living or working here in the 1890 Buffalo City Directory. They all seem to be men involved in some kind of building trade -- cabinetmakers, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, car builders, truck builders. So we surmise that this was either a residential hotel for Pullman employees or a factory for the manufacture of rail cars, especailly pullman type cars and passenger cars. Ted Hull wonders if this might be the Wagner Sleeping Car Company, shown as at the intersection of Broadway & Baileyon the 1887 Matthews & Northrop map of Buffalo.
- Petzing & Betz, Jewelers, 1885 Buffalo City Directory
Chares Petzing, resided 51 E. Tupper, and Unknown Betz (but might be John C. Betz?); in the 1891 Buffalo City Directory, Petzing is listed at same address as a jeweler; no longer with Betz (see next).
- Schneider & Betz, Jewelers, 1890
Buffalo City Directory
The Betz here is definitely John C. Betz, son of Philipp and Hannah (Schlotzer) Betz. John later becomes city assessor; dies 1921, unmarried; buried at Forest Lawn with parents and other family members.
- Henry Betz & Sons / Henry Betz &
Brother(s) Pottery & Earthenware
824 Genesee Street.
From Potters & Potteries of New York State: 1650-1900, by Ketchum, William C. Jr., Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press 1987; pp. 427-428 (Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Ref. NK4025.N7K4 1987):
"The last of the craftsmen of the 1850s is Henry Betz, who with his son, Henry Jr., established an earthenware pottery on Genesee Street which remained in family hands until well into the twentieth century.
Betz first appears in 1850 working in the Township of Black Rock (which later became part of greater Buffalo). [Source was probably the 1850 census. -- JSS] At this time he was already sixty-five years old. He probably owned his own kiln, as his real estate was valued at $1,000. Living with him was Henry, Jr., who was twenty-six. In 1855 Betz was listed in the directory as a potter on Genesee Street below German; two years later he and Henry Jr. were making earthenware on East Genesee near Sherman. In 1859 the son assumed management of the firm, though his father continued to work with him until 1864. [Henry Betz, Sr. dies in 1873. -- JSS]
The business remained in Henry Jr.'s hands until the late 1870s, when George Betz, another member of the family, took charge. But by 1882, Henry Jr. was again active, and in 1884 he seems to have resumed full control. George continued to work in the shop as a potter until 1896. [NOTE: Henry, Jr. died (commit suicide) in 1876; it was probably at this time that George stepped in; the Henry that resumed full control was actually Henry Jr's SON (the third Henry Betz), b. 1849 and who died in 1911, around which time the business appears to have stopped. -- JSS]
In 1889 the concern became Henry Betz and Brothers by the addition of the younger Ferdinand and Charles [two more sons of Henry Jr.] . At this time the company expanded into the stoneware field and continued in it at least until 1893. I am not aware, however, of any stoneware piece bearing the Betz mark.
In 1894 or 1895 Ferdinand dropped out, and the firm was thereafter listed as Henry Betz and Brother. The brother varied from time to time with Ferdinand replacing Charles in the early 1900s. The potter was still active as late as 1906."
[We have not found the burial place of Henry, Sr., but Henry Jr. and his son are both buried in Concordia Cemetery. - JSS]
- Manufacturer of Safes: John A. Barth, 77 Clinton
- MATRESSES ( Manf.) (1885)
- John Spahn 131 Cherry
- Mrs. Ann Morrison, 239 Ellicot
- H. Messersmith, 564 Michigan
- PUMP MANUFACTURERS
- Louis Beyer 727 Michigan Ave.
- John Gisel, 508 Genesee
- Dingeldey, studio on
Jefferson near Brown.
Source: Rich Schweigler ("Dingledey did many photos of my parents when they were young.")
- E. B. Hambleton, Photographer, 256 Main Street.
- F. Ruppel, 182 Maple St.
- Joseph Schmid, photographer, 428 Emslie
- Voelker & Staffeldt,
Photographers, corner of Main And Genesee Streets.
- Joseph Vogt c.
1913. See two of his photos of the neighborhood on the Monroe Street page.
- LEATHER & FINDINGS/ LEATHER (1885)
- William Mang 119 Genesee
- Daniel R. Browne 368 Virginia (Leather/ Lace)
- RAILING WORKS
- Charles F. Ernest, 311 Walnut
- By 1900, John F. and Arnold T. ARMBRUST opened a general hardware store called John Armbrust's Sons at 789 Genesee. According to the 1890 City Directory, this location employed: Joseph G. Dobmeier (hardware) Stephen Dobmeier (tinsmith), Robert Gruber (tinsmith) and John Meyer.
- Rung's Furniture, on Genesee between Bissell and Goodyear Streets. (Submitted by J. Burau, area resident 1951-1974.)
- Strootman Shoe Company, located at Monroe and Brown. Later known as the Superior Leather Company. Other companies located in this building, too. Anyone know what else was here?. Photo courtesy of Rich Schwegler.
Saloons, Breweries & Other Eateries
- Bronislawa (Bernice) & Walter Szalasny
23 Mills St, Buffalo NY 14212
- Jacob Dix's Saloon
corner of Sycamore and Monroe:
c. 1903 (right-click to view or download image full size) The little boy (see arrow) is James Dix; the large man standing next to him is his grandfather, saloon-owner, Jacob Dix. The little girl is Teresa Schueler (who married Silvers). Photo courtesy of Rich S.
- Schiferlies Deli
Corner of Sycamore and Adams; c. 1930s-1950s.
- Hellriegel's Saloon
1352 Genesee Street, c. 1880.
- Frank Lauber's Saloon
55 Brown until prohibition, after which it was purchased by Rich Schweigler's father (in the mid 1930s); he turned it into a barber shop.
- "under 20 Seneca Street." (William C. Reiser, Paul's great uncle, was listed as barkeeper in the 1882 city directory.)
- "40 Ohio Street" (John Henry Kranichfeld, a great-somethingorother of Paul's, was saloon owner according to the same 1882 city directory.)
- SALOONS from the 1885 directory:
- Charles L. Abel, 16 Ohio
- Joseph Abele, 171 Genesee
- Joseph Armbruster, 314 Broadway
- August Bach, 194 Sycamore
- Frank Bach, 28 Ellicot
- Joseph Baeumler, 302 Walnut
UPDATE: Joseph Baeumler was probably the son of John Baeumler and Louisa Zimmerman Baeumler. He would be the brother of Kathy Johnson's great grandfather, Jacob Baeumler. John, his father had a tailor business at 288 Walnut, Jacob manufactured cigars at 298 Walnut, so most likely Joseph's saloon at 302 Walnut was in the same family. Joseph was born 24 March 1861 in Buffalo and died in Buffalo on 25 Sep 1894. If anyone else is searching this family, contact Kathy Johnson at kthyjhnsn AT yahoo.com
- Philip Biesinger, 331 Ellicott
- Leonard Bihl, 372 Genesee
- Frank Brunner, 279 Genesee
- Thomas Broadbent, 602 Viriginia
- Hank Herman, 18 Sycamore
- Nicholas Hiemenz, 258 Broadway
Located at Genesee and Grey, it stopped showing movies in 1958 after vandals destroyed the marquee and tore down the movie screen; was demolished about 1999 shortly after the photo was taken. Does anyone have an earlier photo? Photo courtesy of Rich Schwegler.
Photo courtesy of Rich Schweiger
Photo courtesy of Rich Schweiger
|Unknown East Side theater
Photo courtesy of Rich Schweiger
Sue Kulp tells us that this was the Roosevelt Theater on Broadway out from Fillmore Ave.
TINSMITH TRADE IN BUFFALO, NY
prepared by Sharon Troy Centanne
22 January 2001
At a recent visit to a Civil War re-enactment, Sharon Troy Centanne got to talk with the sutlers and artisans selling their wares. One of the most interesting she found was was the tinsmith. After a summary of this dying art, Sharon lists the names and addresses of tinsmiths found in the 1890 Buffalo City Directory.
I have seen tinsmith listed as occupation many times in the Buffalo City Directory for 1890, especially as working for the Wagner Palace Car Co. at 1770 Broadway. Perhaps they made the lanterns.
The tinsmith I talked to told me a bit about the trade. Tinsmiths would have a storefront or a studio where they could manufacture their wares. They would sometimes get others to peddle on the street for them, but they needed a place to use their tools.
The types of objects they made were often kitchen tools, pots and pans, cups, cookie cutters, pitchers, pie pans, etc. The tin was actually sheet metal, and the most popular kind in the 19th century was a steel sheet with tin plating, probably electroplated. The tinsmith would cut the pieces according to his patterns, and then rivet and solder them together to make useful items. They had some kind of tool or machine for curling down the edges to make them smooth.
Today, when making potable items, lead free solder was used. I am not so sure if that was the case back in the 1800s. Tin was the poor man's iron, and if you couldn't afford an iron pan or cup you got a tin one. Lead solder is still used today in non-potable items like lanterns. Solder is an alloy of 60 percent tin and 40 percent lead according to my husband who works with it in the electronics industry. He is not sure what the components of lead free solder would be.
Most of these lanterns and other period pieces are now made for re-enactors, and for collectors of old metal items. This tinsmith also made a few things from copper and silver.
Many items that used to be made with tin are now manufactured with plastic, so tinsmithing is a dying art. But it is interesting to see craftspeople who will keep the old trades and crafts alive for us all to learn from.
Tin in mined from the ground, probably in the mountains. I remember from grade school that Bolivia in South America, was a major exporter of tin.
TINSMITHS from the 1890 BUFFALO CITY DIRECTORY
John Beckler, Jr.
George D. Fox
Charles A. Gratz
Charles Happ, Sr.
Charles Happ, Jr.
Peter W. Henkel
Edward A. Lorenz
William Schamber, Jr.
George H. Urban
Transportation (including horse-drawn, rail, auto)
- LIVERY & BOARDING (1885 directory)
- Elmer Allen, 268 Michigan
- Burris & Hall, 270 Ellicot
- John F. Eberhardt, 78 Clinton
- L.A. Daniels & Son, 252 Michigan
- Dinley & Son, 116 Michigan
- Ernest & Hosley 108 Eagle
- Love & Daniels, 250 Michigan
- Metcafe, A.C. & G.H., 323 Ellicott
- Grand Trunk Ry. 177 Washington (Railway Office; 1885)
- The Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum is interested in collecting information on employees of Pierce-Arrow. If your father, grandfather, uncle, etc. worked at Pierce, they would like to hear from you. See www.pierce-arrow.com.
- Wagner Palace Car Co. Eventually became Pullman Car Co. and later was owned by the New York Central Railroad. Wagner was one of the largest employers in Buffalo in 1890. The factory is located at 1770 Broadway out at the east end of Broadway near Broadway and Bailey. In addition to brass finishers, the company employed blacksmiths, car builders, carpenters, carvers, marble finishers, steamfitters and even a storekeeper! Most of these workers lived on the East Side of Buffalo. They probably either walked, rode a bicycle or took a horse drawn street car to work. [Source: Sharon Centanne]
Working group member Karen Kolb's father worked for Pullman from 1929 and was the last one out the door when Pullman closed in the late 50s. One of the old Pullman buildings (at 1740 Broadway) is now home of Ciminelli Construction.
Photo courtesy of Karen Kolb.
- New York Central (later belonged to the Pullman Co.?) Working group member Sharon Centanne's grandfather Carl Kellerman worked for New York Central as a freight checker until his death 1956.
This photo is of the employees of the Socony Company of Buffalo NY. Nancy Hane's husband's grandfather, Cornelius Dewey Hanes, worked there supposedly in 1941 (per the Buffalo City directory). He may have started work there as early as 1934. The photo seems to be from a period much earlier than 1941. Perhaps others will have some info about this company and its location? NOTE: The photo has been "reduced" to fit this page; right-click to download it and see it in its full-sized glory.
On the left is the leather works, on the right is the Iroquois gas company. At the far background is the Sol Lenzer bottling works. They made Queeno soft drinks. Photo courtesy of Rich Schwegler.
- REAL ESTATE AGENTS
- Elijah Ambrose, 5 S. Division
- John A. Bell 30 Eagle
- Fred Domedion, 128 Genesee
- Thomas D. Demond, 14 S. Division
- Frederick Nagel, 17 Genesee
- Warren Granger, 265 Washington
- Leo M. Ritt, 41 Genesee
- Theodore H. Schorr, 41 Genesee
- SAL SODA ( Manfs.)
- R.W. Bell Manf Co., 77 to 89 Washington
[From an East Side member; if anyone can identify or add information to these memories, please contact me:] Here is a little East Side trivia to pass along if you think it worthwhile. The information is undocumented, and unverified, just things my mom remembered when I told her about your website. The names are spelled phonetically.
The following are c.1920-30 street vendors in the area bet. Sycamore and Broadway, including Grey, Johnson and Sherman Streets:
- In the 1920s a deli on Sycamore sold orange sherbet for $.02
- The "bakery man" was Mr. Oetinger.
- The "vegetable man" was Mr. Degan.
- The "milkman" was Mr. Haid.
- There was also an "iceman" and a scissors sharpener who rang a hand-bell to announce his presence.
- The "ragman" was called "singing John."
Other East Side Buffalo Businesses
- PSJablon102_AT_cs.com's family page about East Buffalo includes photos -- mostly of businesses -- from 1846-1976, links to historical information, and opportunities to hear and schedule lectures with Fred Jablonski who speaks about the area's history. Emphasis is on the Polish population of East Buffalo.