Image courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.
Image courtesy of the Buffalo History Museum.

Looking Backward: Dante Place, 1910

by / Jul. 25, 2018 7am EST
“‘Monday—Dante Place’ is truly great. It is great in the message it conveys. It is great in sentiment. It is current with the present. Galsworthy, Brieux, Shaw, and the greatest in present-day literature are exponents of the things that are, and as they are. Moreover, this picture goes not one’s hair breadth beyond the boundaries of photography and by that very quality proves photography a high art and Porterfield an artist.” —Sigismund Blumann, The Photographic Journal of America, February 1915
Dante Place, historically known as Canal Street, is here shown in a 1910 photograph by Wilbur H. Porterfield. Porterfield is perhaps the most celebrated Buffalo photographer of the 20th century—the founder of the Photo-Pictorialists of Buffalo and a longtime contributor, until his death in 1958, to the Buffalo Courier Express with his feature “As Porterfield Sees It.” This image, titled “Monday—Dante Place,” depicts an everyday scene in the Canal District, then an Italian immigrant tenement neighborhood.