Heritage Insights: Webster Block, circa 1958

by / Nov. 26, 2014 12am EST
  • HarborCenter, now open at 75 Main Street, was originally the site of the Webster Block built by Benjamin Rathbun in 1835.
  • Its four stories and 17 storefronts were a “hive of business” occupied by grain merchants, steamship companies, and wholesale and retail houses, including the first offices of Marine Bank established in 1850.
  • For decades, Thompson Bros. hardware was best known for its gold anvil, projecting from the eaves and swinging and glistening in the sun.
  • When this image was taken around 1958, the Webster Block was one of few survivors of Canal District slum clearance.
  • The Seamen’s Home, a rooming house for sailors out of work for the winter, was still operating and would remain so until 1963.
  • The Webster Block was razed by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency in 1969 to expand parking at Memorial Auditorium.