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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Buffalo Bank: 1908

Buffalo Bank: 1908

Bustling Buffalo, New York, circa 1908. "Erie County Savings Bank, Niagara Street." Another view of the imposing edifice previously seen here. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Nothing remains

Essentially everything in this image except the McKinley Monument was destroyed in "urban renewal" in the 1960s. The site of the bank now appears to be a boring late-Sixties state office building. I can't find any trace of any other original building in this image.

There was a good story written in 1967 when the Erie County Savings Bank was demolished.

Weird coat

There's a man on the right side of the street, to the left of the cigar store awning, his back to the camera. What are all those white things hanging off the back of his coat? And is he holding a banjo in his right hand?

[Those are scratches and blotches in the emulsion. - Dave]

It's an electric sign

Probably a static illuminated letter board, vs. the Times Square style "crawl" which I think was beyond the technology of the day (though not TOO far beyond).

The bulbs aren't really bright enough to work well in daylight.

The message may have changed nightly, each letter was controlled by a large rotary wafer switch housed in a wooden box, that when turned would cause the bulbs in the sign to display a different letter at each position.

High technology, 1908 style.

Shorpy, keep these images coming, I love poring over them. America near its peak as the industrial power of the world, with no end in sight. The age of coal, steam and steel.

Pay your dime

and climb up to the top of the tower and choke to death on the emissions of that nearby smokestack. A testimony to the air quality of the time is that the upper floors of all the buildings are blackened with soot.

Looks like rain

I count at least five gents carrying umbrellas.

I don't know, but --

I think buildings can be both hideous and delightful, at the same time.


That's a great shot! I love the whole scene. The building is intense, why don't they make them like that anymore?

Harry Potter's other school?

I swear this looks like it should be a school of magic! What a GREAT building!

The entire scene is cool. I love all of the business names painted on the windows and the detailing. The spires are simply amazing.

Fare to Niagara and back

Fifty cents roundtrip! Last time I went to Niagara from Buffalo my niggardly tip was $20. I forget the fare. Inflation has come a long, long way.

What were the Yellow Cars?

With a name like Hazard . . .

This time, Frank Williams has an officemate -- Willet E. Hazard. Corporate attorney Hazard and his brothers would incorporate a gasoline motor manufacturing company in 1909. First named Hazard Engineering Co., it would soon become Hazard Motor Manufacturing Co. The slogan in a 1912 ad in "The Rudder," a yachting magazine, claims "The 'HAZARD' is distinctly better." That is the last mention of the company to be found. Wonder why?

I'm just one guy

But that hideous thing looks like a Kremlin prison to me.

The obelisk

is the McKinley Monument in Niagara Square.

"To commit suicide in Buffalo is redundant"

That was a quip by Neil Simon, used in "A Chorus Line."

Seven Lamps

When the term "architecture" is used, this is the type of structure they are referring too. Anything else is just another building.

The obelisk next door

Anyone know what the white monument is for down the street?


Here's why I love this site. I never heard of a "charabanc" until Shorpy. I just thought they were funny little buses. You can read all about it at

No Words

I don't know what to say other than that is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen on Shorpy. The thought of the wrecking ball plowing through those gorgeous granite walls makes me want to cry like a baby.

Imagine Winter!

This same scene would be filled with Horse Drawn Sleighs...what a fun way to get around!


Just checked out the previous photo of the same bank. There are two omnibuses in front, one like that seen in this pic (probably electric; right-hand drive, too) and the other, just nosing into the lower left corner, is definitely gasoline-powered if that hood is any indicator. So I guess these things were pretty common.

A Shorpy staple

The last charabanc we saw was here. A kind of open-air omnibus.

Death by Buffalo

Mark Twain once said, "To commit suicide in Buffalo is redundant."

Or words to that effect. But it looks full of life to me! Love the long street view, and all the wonderful signage.

Erie Bank - This Is Your Life

What in the world

Are those little square things under the Swift's billboard?

[An electric sign. Just wait till dark! - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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