Main Street 1900

12 Jun

Here’s another photograph from Shorpy that depicts only a small portion of the complete image. I have zoomed in on the foot of Main Street, showing part of the wharf area of the inner harbor. Click the image to enlarge it. The original is here, and the original Shorpy post is here.

Old County Hall and the Ellicott Square Building are visible clearly in the background. The picture is from 1900 – 110 years ago. Looking at it, I was reminded of the inane arguments that were held back when the ECHDC had the audacity to suggest that buildings be built along the water’s edge, as if that was somehow a preservationist horror of epic proportions.

Quite clearly, buildings fronted the water throughout the history of that area. Time marches on, and as we claim that highways are ruining the city, we see here a very vibrant downtown core that is anything but aesthetically pleasing or environmentally sound.

9 Responses to “Main Street 1900”

  1. Mark June 12, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    canals were the highways of that era. their existence led to crime and overall crappiness in their immediate surroundings so we clamored to have them filled in. now time has passed and we romanticize them as if it was venice. we’ll do that with highways after we tear them down as well.

  2. mike June 13, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    it looks very smelly, must be where we got the arm pit of america tag.

  3. Pauldub June 13, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Ahh, Venice. The most vivid memory that my Grandmother had of that city was the constant stench of raw sewage emanating from those beautiful canals.

  4. nyc June 13, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I really hate defending tim tielmen but there was support among the preservationists to building right on the water. The problem with what had been proposed by ECHDC is the nature of the building itself and the barrier that it posed to all the streets upland of the central wharf. If you measured the size of the bass pro structure it was a 1/4 mile to walk around with only one entry and exit point. It literally would have consumed the waterfront. What had been proposed by ECHDC is nothing like the image above with multiple shops and many points of entry and exit often with different uses on the upper floors. There is a vitality to that which would not exist with one structure occupying the entire waters edge with no actual doors facing the water (I saw the building floor plan – it was that bad). Despite the fact I would love to see the city built right to the waters edge with a public wharf along the river, I do believe that bass pro, given the required footprint, is best away from the water.

  5. STEEL June 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    If these buildings were intact today this would be an amazing place. If the train terminal that replaced many of tehm was still in place it could have been an amazing city amentity. The parking lots and highway that replaced the rest of them? Well they really don’t do much do they.

  6. STEEL June 13, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    This is not the foot of MAin though. It is a block or two east.

  7. Peter-usrt June 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Hmmm….this could be Washington St. . Isn’t that the Ellicott Square Building way in the background?

  8. Patrick June 13, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    I find it very interesting the rare times I make it to downtown Buffalo and ride my bike down Main St. because of how aesthetically pleasing downtown Main Street is, along with HSBC at the end and some of the side streets, yet there are never people down in these areas.
    I come from Long Island and last time home I had the chance to visit a friend in the Bed-Stuy area, an up and coming area in Brooklyn. It seems to do the opposite where it is not about how the neighborhood looks but what is in the area and the people that live there. From this photo it has less to do with the buildings in the area, but the purpose of the building as Buffalo was a strong port town centered in downtown. Bass Pro is not the right option because Buffalo is NOT a tourist trap as Niagara Falls or Toronto or a list of other places. Trying to build downtown Buffalo as a place for tourists is a terrible idea that has failed in the past.

  9. Ward June 17, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    This particular area, in the late 19th century, was called the most dangerous place on Earth. I wonder if Mr Tielman is seeking to restore that depth of authentic “feel”.

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