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Buffalo Police Then and Now

This morning we received an email from a reader who was excited to hear about positive signs of development in and around Cazenovia Park. The reader, Joe Z., felt that the momentum of the neighborhood was on the upswing, but that there was still a missing piece of the resurgence puzzle. Joe pointed out that ever since The City closed the “Southside precinct”, there has been a noticeable change in the perception of safety in the neighborhood. 

It as because of Joe’s email (below) that we decided to take a look at some of the older police stations around the city, and lo and behold we came across a fantastic online resource that has photo-documented the history of police stations in Buffalo. 

Buffalo Police Then and Now is a spectacular look at the history of the police force in this city, as it pertains to precinct buildings. Not only are some of the historic beauties showcased (inside and out), the site also offers a look at a few precinct oddities, like this fabulous retro station that was once located on Niagara Street. This would have made for a tremendous modern home conversion.

Tenth Precinct – 566 Niagara Street

The website is a glorious look into the past, at this city’s stellar police stations, and the officers that were stationed at the precincts. Do yourself a favor and check out Buffalo Police Then and Now – it will forever change the way that you look at Buffalo’s neighborhoods. It’s too bad that more of the buildings could not be reused, as advancements in the police department came to pass and the structures became outdated.

From Joe Z:

I really appreciate the pictures and the information in the article about the Caz Casino/park. I attended a meeting at  St Teresa’s Parish Center Tuesday night, where all of us folks in the Seneca Street area got to listen to the exciting plans they have for the area. It’s still sad that that beautiful “Caz Lake” is gone. What a picturesque place that would be. Having the pictures and Jim’s explanation matters for the people that didn’t know what this area was like back then, in the 60’s, and then how it went down hill. The energy and good people on board will hopefully carry the excitement we all felt Tuesday to a successful completion of the projects.

The one thing though that I offered as a question is, if the old Southside precinct could be a satellite station, and reopened! I live across the street from that location, and ever since the building was closed our area isn’t as safe to walk. With the money and building being done up the street more, Southside/Seneca is shabby.

The “old” Precinct was on Seneca Street, at Southside Parkway (lead image). The front door faced Seneca St. I grew up across the street from there and I believe now, 59 years later, things have changed, especially society, but the area was better with the precinct there. I offered some ideas as I listened to the presentation last night. Someone I was speaking with mentioned that the firehouse, on Southside Parkway should be renovated (or built new). He said there are some issues with the building. 

I [envision] a new firehouse, modern, etc., but I see it with maybe a 15×15 room at the end where a few officers could be stationed that could bring back the presence that once was there. With Elk Street, the bridge, fields around the river, there are more burglaries and break-ins in the area.

Also to consider, walking around like we once did back in the day isn’t so popular. I approached the Mayor on this and he said “less buildings more police”, so he doesn’t believe that having a satellite station would work. I disagree. Presence is everything! Also the big discussion is of course by Seneca/Caz but with the Southside area, we are listening to talk about wanting people and families walking once again on Seneca Street. There are plenty of ideas and I know we all think ours is the best, but living here for almost most of my 59 years, our area was better with police cars sitting at Seneca and Southside. Even having firemen sitting at the firehouse makes people feel a little secure. So hopefully everything is looked at and considered.

Its very exciting to see progress up the way. It’s even better when the people trying to design and build actually live and work in the spot they’re fixing. That’s a huge difference. So many times people get stuck with drawings and designs done miles away or by people hired in another state to design what they are told! Because of malls, Seneca Street or even the old Broadway/Fillmore area will never see Sattlers and shoe stores, hardware store, clothes. We were part of a unique time… and what was built and the stores created, were done for people in neighborhoods to walk and have everything right there. The Blackthorn is great, but how far do you need to drive for another place to eat? Maybe have Louie’s on Harlem move to Seneca Street! We have a spot by the bridge by the river where back in the day their was a DECO. What about having a “Diner” parked there? A few years ago, word was they were putting a donut shop there, instead it’s at Seneca/Bailey. It will be fun watching the transformation, to see how it all ends up. It will be better than it was. How about a Dairy Queen? Ideas are plentiful, it’s takes the right person who can pull it all together and make it work.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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