Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Diffine’s Dairy was located at 1314 Hyde Park Blvd. and was a division of the Niagara County Milk Producer’s Co-Op. These photos are circa 1957 at a time when there were several independent dairies bottling milk and making ice cream in the city. Carrigan’s on Portage Rd., Wendt’s on Buffalo Ave, Milleville Dairy on Cayuga Drive, and Diffine’s, were the four largest. Diffine’s and Wendt’s were prime competitors and both made their own brand of ice cream and bottled milk under their own name as well as for other, smaller dairies. Diffine’s also made “real” frozen custard, the only other place you could get it besides Hibbards in Lewiston. And Diffine’s ice cream was what today would be called “premium” because of the very high butterfat content. Mmmmm, good!

Being located directly across from Hyde Park, Diffine’s was a “must stop” after a ball game or a walk in the park. At times, several baseball teams would inundate the soda fountain all at once and there would be 30-40 kids in line. Note the prices on the signs in the background: 10cent cones, 30cent sundaes and milkshakes, 89cent ½ gal of ice cream.

One of the interesting things was dealing with tourists from other parts of the country where terminology was different. Someone might ask for a “soda” when they meant “soda pop,” and in the dairy a soda was ice cream, flavoring, and carbonated water. Or they might ask for a “frappe,” when they meant what we called a milk shake. For anyone who loved ice cream this was the dream job, as you could eat as much as you wanted……FREE!! If you were really lucky you got to actually make ice cream under the tutelage of a seasoned dairy employee and there is not much in life better than to taste fresh, soft ice cream, right from the freezing machine.

The first photo is of Bob Woodring serving a cone. After he became an adult he became the owner of his own dairy in Boston, NY.

The second photo shows Naomi waiting on a couple young girls. The dairy store was run by women and employed teenage boys. Naomi was very well liked by everyone as she had the sweetest personality.

The color photo shows Jim Barto handing 3 cones to awaiting hands.

The last photo is a view from behind the counter and shows Bob Woodring, John (who was also a mail carrier and worked the dairy part time) and Joe Smith on a busy evening.

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Monday, August 17, 2009


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Photo 1: The collapse of the Falls View Bridge into the river Jan. 27, 1938

Photo 2: The final stages of the Falls View Bridge sinking into the river and being washed away.


Monday, August 10, 2009


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Prior to 1967 Niagara Falls didn’t have a youth football team. The Police Athletic League (PAL) wanted to begin some kind of fall sports program and football was suggested. We became members of the WNY Tyro Football League and were known as the Niagara Falls Knights. About 7 PAL members went door to door soliciting businesses to help sponsor the program, and Chuck Kenny, who owned a sporting goods store in Lockport, advanced us about $10,000 in equipment (we did eventually pay for it). There was no fee for the kids to play and we depended heavily on volunteers for our operation. Our first head coach was police officer John Gabriele (later firefighter and fire chief). Our teams were winners from the get-go. After our first season, played at LaSalle Jr. High School, complete with marching band and cheerleaders, we had a celebration dinner cooked by our volunteers in the YMCA on Portage Rd.

The second season we went “big time,” with a celebration dinner at the Como Restaurant with many dignitaries in attendance, including the Mayor E. Dent Lackey, and special guest speakers, Ernie Warlick and Al Bemiller, of the Buffalo Bills. Mayor Lackey even gave (volunteer) General Manager, Jim Brunn, the key to the city!

The first photo is of Ernie Warlick posing with running backs Gary McLaughlin and Sam Giancola (Sam is now a coach at NFHS).

The second photo is of Al Bemiller autographing programs for some of the players. Perhaps some readers might be able to identify themselves in the photo.

In later years the local program split into two divisions due to a difference in philosophy among the coaches, yet today, 40 years later, they remain an integral part of the youth sports programs in the city.

1950s Postcard of Falls Street at Night

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FALLS STREET POSTCARD circa 1950. Submitted by Ron M.

If you'd like to see more - click here


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In 1969, the US Army Corps of Engineers built a series of coffer dams which stopped or rather reduced the water flow over the American Falls to a mere trickle. This was done to allow a study of the rock formations at the crest of the Falls and to study the feasibility of whether there was any possible way to remove the rock (talus) at the base of the American Falls. In the end, the engineers decided to let mother nature take its course.

Check out this YouTube video of old footage (thanks to Harold T.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Main Street "Battle of the Bands" 1966

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The first photo is c.1966 and was taken in front of Ruben’s Pawn Shop on Main St. during a Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Main St. Business Assoc. It shows 3 14-15yr olds who called themselves The Apaches, left to right Thom Rotella on guitar, Rich DelZoppo on guitar and Pat Peri on drums.

Their stage was the back of a flat bed trailer. They won that contest, and subsequent “battles,” that occurred in an expanded version with two real stages in a vacant lot at Cleveland Ave and Main St.

Thom Rotella moved on to the west coast and has become one of the top smooth jazz guitarists in the world. You should check out his incredible biography on his website ( Rich DelZoppo is currently still playing music in the WNY area, and Pat Peri is an executive in business in Buffalo.

The second photo is of the three of them as they appeared a couple years ago when Thom was a headliner at the Lewiston Jazz Festival and the three reunited for the photo.

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Blog Entry and Photos by JB

Sunday, August 2, 2009


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"Photo was taken at Carroll's Drive-In in the 1600 block of Main Street - where Burger King now stands. I believe the two in the plaid shirts are Tom Heck and Pete Woolverton" - submitted by JB.

Interesting background images... Slipko's, Jenss, etc...


DO YOU RECOGNIZE A FACE? (Reader Submitted)

Taken at Davita's 420 Niagara Street, circa 1945. On the corner of 4th and Niagara. A popular spot for Gazette employees and many others. Do you recognize a face in the photo? The reader who submitted the photo would love to hear about it... email me and I'll pass the info on!