New York Central Terminal Planning

I have mentioned the New York Central Terminal in several posts over the years. The New York Central Terminal was a union station that opened in 1929 just months before the the Crash of 29. It was expected to keep Buffalo on the map. That only lasted a few months. When it was built over a thousand families were moved to make the space for the new building,

Above is a picture I took several years ago from the center of Paderewski Street. Paderewski starts at Fillmore in the article below it says the road to the station from Fillmore was Lovejoy. There is a Lovejoy Street that does line up with Paderewski. A new street was cut from William Street to intersect at the driveway to the station. Originally the road was called Lindberg but was later called Memorial Drive. The circle mentioned below is in place.

Newton Street was 2 blocks to the left. My home faced the terminal so everyday this 18 story building was in sight.

From Newspapers.com Buffalo Courier Buffalo, New York 04 Feb 1926, Thu • Page 4

Victoria (Theresa) Wackowski Switkowski

Victoria is my Great Aunt Theresa, wife of my Great Uncle Leonard Switkowski.

She was born January 10, 1932 in Buffalo, New York to parents John Wachowski and Victoria Kniat Wachowski. In 1940 the family of 7 was living at 86 Weiss Street. Weiss is in the Kaisertown area of Buffalo. It is southeast of Polonia and settled mostly by German immigrants. The children in the home were: Alice, Alfred, Dolores, Theresa, and John Jr.

In 1951 Victoria was living at 230 Guilford Street which is northwest of Polonia. She worked as a coning operator in the textile industry. On May 16, 1953 she married Leonard J. Switkowski in Buffalo. They were still living at 230 Guilford until at least 1956.

Unfortunately, I have no other information about Victoria until 1973 when I was at her funeral at age 3. It is one of first memories. I left the funeral home by cab with my great grandmother. Sometime after 1956 Victoria and Leonard moved to Cheektowaga, New York. They had 2 children Michaeline Ann born 1955 and Leonard Jr born 1958, deceased 2013.

Sources:

  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02827; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 64-162
  • New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index
  • New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Birth Index
  • Buffalo, New York, City Directory, 1956
  • Publication Date: 14/ May/ 2013; Publication Place: Oneonta, New York, USA; URL: http://thedailystar.com/obituaries/x701044087/Leonard-J-Switkowski-Jr
  • Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
  • Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File

Where Was I; Freezer Queen

Freezer Queen was a frozen dinner company headquartered on Buffalo’s waterfront. The dinners were sold under Freezer Queen and Benihana brands.

In late 1990 I left Tops to work as an inventory control clerk of raw materials at Freezer Queen. This was the lowest non union position at Freezer Queen. It meant I could park closer to the building and did not need to walk through security.

The job it was basically counting everything before the products were made. This included bags of spice blends made in house, meat, vegetables, and boxes. The information was put into a computer for the production manager to schedule production lines. All counts had to be certified by the manager that worked in a separate building and never went into the freezers. By April of 1991 I was laid off.

I used that as an excuse to go back to school and get an Associates degree in Electronics. I was scheduled to start classes in June. I got called back to work to start the first day of class. I was able to work out a deal to work second shift and count when less material was being moved. This worked good because if I didn’t go to work they said they would prevent me from getting unemployment.

Things were fine for 3 months. On a Monday in September when school had a week break I was put on 1st shift. I was told to count a shipment of unfolded print boxes. For some reason the never ordered even numbers of boxes. Instead of 200,000 the ordered 199,763. That meant I had to find the one case of 1,000 that was only a partial. The delivery was in the darkest part of the lakeside dock. I used an empty pallet to climb to the top of the stack of boxes. After walking along the top of the pallets I couldn’t find the partial box and went to climb down. That is when one foot found the box. When I woke up I was facing the opposite direction with my feet off the ground and a pallet jammed into my back. I was able to limp back to the office. After having several bosses twist my back someone called for an ambulance.

I was put in a brace and strapped to a board. The hospital took x-rays of my back and said I had a mild contusion. They gave me some strong pain killers and sent me home. Thankfully at the time I lived one block from the hospital. On Wednesday the VP called me and told me to drive to their doctor. I tried explaining I couldn’t drive on the medications. A lot of this is blurry because of the painkillers. He offered to give me a weeks vacation as a goodwill gesture. I agreed stupidly. The following Monday back at school I could barely move my right side from the pain. When I went to work after class the VP was mad I didn’t go to their doctor when they said, so I ended up going Tuesday and getting cleared for work even with the pain.

That November right before Thanksgiving they let me go for good. It wasn’t until way later I found out you need to miss a certain amount of time unpaid to get workers comp, the vacation cancelled it out so I never got a penny for the injury. Another tidbit I read earlier was the day I fell it was announced that Freezer Queen was fined $75,000 by OSHA for poor lighting in the lakeside dock area. That explains the vacation to make sure OSHA never heard about the fall.

So, to this day I still have pain in my back and right knee. Even though I never got comp I still have to report it when asked for later jobs. Thankfully, some physical therapy and stretches I received in 2019 helped it out. Yes, no doctor believed me about the pain until I finally got a new doctor in 2016 after x-rays and a 90 minute MRI they found 2 bulging discs.

Ignac Gulczewski

Ignac Gulczewski is my great grandmother Joanna’s slightly older brother. He was just just under 2 years older. They had older siblings that were around 20 when they were born. There is an entire generation between siblings. It must have been difficult to form a relationship between them when you had so little in common.

He was born in Buffalo, New York in July 1897, probably in the home at 12 Newton Street. His parents were Jacob Gulczewski and Katarzyna Szafranski. Katarzyna was 42 when he was born. In 1900 he was among 7 of children still living at home. They were Vincent 21, Lawrence 17,
Mary 15, Stanislawa 7, Abbert 5, Ignatz 2, and Johanna 11/12.

10 year later they were still on Newton Street. The 3 oldest had moved out. But youngest sister Josephine born in 1902 was new to the family. Some time after 1910 the family moved to 316 Curtiss Street, one block away. In 1919, at age 21 he is listed as a laborer in the city directory. A year later the census shows besides him and his parents brother Albert and younger sister Joanna are in the household. Ignac was a laborer for the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

The city directories show in 1923 he was at 312 Curtiss employed as a helper, then in 1924 in auto repair, then back to Helper.

April of 1929 saw the opening of the New York Central Railroad’s largest station in Buffalo, New York. In order for that to happen many homes were torn down to make way for the massive structure. Many of those homes were on Curtiss Street.

In 1927 directories show the Ignac and his mom were now living at 70 Miller Street. This was a 15 minute walk from the home on Curtiss Street. In 1930 he is listed as a fireman. I did not find a record if this was for the city or railroad. It seems more likely it was the railroad based on his previous jobs.

His mom died in 1937, he moved to 258 Ohio Street as a single lodger. In 1942 he listed his sister Josephine as his contact on the WWII draft card. His employer was W J Conners on 2 Cincinnati Street.

Cincinnati Street has its own interesting history. It was Buffalo’s only covered street. In 1927 it was deeded to the New York Central Railroad. They and other railroads turned the 1900 foot long street into a wearhouse. On one side of the street 270 stevedores unloaded boats while across the street 600 men loaded boxcars. More on the history can be found at https://www.buffalohistorygazette.net/2011/02/it-never-rained-on-cincinnati-street.html.

I have no records or family lore that explain why he was in Perrysburg, New York on March 2, 1953 but that is where he was when he died.

Sources:

  • Year: 1900; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 11, Erie, New York; Page: 35; Enumeration District: 0085; FHL microfilm: 1241027
  • Year: 1910; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 8, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_942; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0075; FHL microfilm: 1374955
  • Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 10, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1102; Page: 24B; Enumeration District: 80
  • New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index
  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02824; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 64-77
  • Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • https://www.buffalohistorygazette.net/2011/02/it-never-rained-on-cincinnati-street.html

Wednesday Translated


Endowed with the Holy Sacraments, he died on Monday, March 2, 1953. The funeral took place on Saturday, March 7, from the funeral chapel of E. L. Cwikalowski, 185 Crocker Street, to the Church of St. Andrew, and then to the cemetery of St. Stanislaus B. M.

Prayer

Most merciful Jesus, through the goodness of Your Heart, deign to forgive this soul all sins, so that, through humble prayers, it may obtain Your love. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest, etc.

Edward L. Cwikalowski

Funeral

185 Crocker St. HU. 8160

Where Was I; Tops part 1

This is another post in the Where Was I story I have been working on about the jobs I’ve had over the years. I have added part 1 to this topic because I ended up working at Tops 2 different times.

Tops is a local chain of supermarkets in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area. It has a long history starting in the 1920s and expanded over the years. Some history of the company can be found here. I started at the Broadway Bailey location at 1770 Broadway in May of 1988. I had less then 2 months of high school left at the time. This location is on old railroad property. At one time the Pullman car company was located on this site. Frontier yard once part of the New York Central RR now CSX is next door.

This is a roundhouse from the old railroad days still standing behind the store.

I started out working 4 hours on week days and 8 hours Saturday and Sunday. The job was stocking sale items and weekends PBS; Pop Beer Snacks. Originally, I was only supposed to work 20 hours a week because of school; and after summer I was scheduled to go to SUNY at Buffalo for electrical engineering. This didn’t last. Within weeks I was up to 40 hour weeks and in the summer way over. I was schedule 7pm to 11pm week nights but regularly worked until 2am. I didn’t have a car yet and would get a ride home from the night manager.

After summer when college started I still still kept over 40 hours a week. Between not liking the large class sizes of UB and liking the money I dropped out of school and stayed at Tops. I was given full time and worked closer to 50 hours a week. Besides stocking shelves I was on display crew. That is the 2 person group that built the giant front displays for the weekly sales. It was an overnight shift Saturday into Sunday. One of the best parts of the job was clean up Sunday morning, opening the back door after being stuck inside all night and getting to see a Sunrise.

In 1989 the Health and Beauty Care manager and the Specialty Foods manager transferred out. The Specialty Foods manager was the assistant to HBC manager. At that time between the 2 departments there was only 80 hours available. After several months The 2 of us were able to clean up our respective departments and increase sales. I left the assistant HBC position because I was able to get over 40 hours budgeted just for Specialty Foods. A few months more and sales were good enough for a part time assistant. We ended up getting a new store manager that did not have the skills as the previous manager. I asked to go back to overnights. Not long after that I left for Freezer Queen.

One of the dairy department clerks was a high school classmate, so was his girlfriend (now wife). In August of 1989 she brought her coworker from rival grocery store Wegmans to Tops and set me up on a blind date. We married 1 year later.