[photo 1]This photo, lifted from the Hamburg High School yearbook of 1938, probably was taken from the sidewalk in front of the former Hamburg Hotel and looks across the street at the Bunting Block (later called the Dietrich Building) on the northwest corner of Main and Buffalo streets.
It certainly was a different Hamburg in this picture, at what was the village’s busiest intersection at the end of the 1930s. Notice the brick pavement at the left on Buffalo Street, and the free standing traffic light at the middle of the intersection.
It is rumored that when the light was removed, probably in the early 1940s, a home for it was found in one of the village’s taverns. I wonder who the police officer was, standing at his post near the Hamburg Pharmacy.
The large prominent building on the northeast corner of the intersection was the Bunting Building.
It was named for its builder and well known Hamburg businessman and politician, Thomas Bunting. Bunting built the structure in 1870 and called it his “six stores in one.”
For the next 20 years, he would operate his mercantile business from this location.
Besides his business activity, Bunting also served as a congressman in 1892-93, was vice-president of the Bank of Hamburg, manager of the Hamburg Canning Company and treasurer for the Village of Hamburg.
The Bunting building was later destroyed by an explosion and fire on May 23, 1969. By that time it had taken the name of a new owner and was called the Dietrich Building.
In this 1938 photo, the ground floor of the building was occupied by the Hamburg Pharmacy directly on the corner and The Atlas Men’s Wear shop just to the right. Both businesses faced Buffalo Street.
On the Main Street side of the building, the small shop near the rear was called The D.C. Shop, which touted their gifts for all occasions, and smart dress styles for women.
The building next to the D.C. Shop was occupied by The Bank of Hamburg and the structure left to the bank, although not identified in the photo, still stands today and is hope to the Comfort Zone restaurant.
Of course there are many other changes at the intersection today.
The Dietrich Building has been replaced by a smaller structure that houses Gold and Pearl jewelry store fronting on Buffalo Street and an insurance office and other businesses on Main Street. The former Bank of Hamburg was replaced by various other bank branches over the years including Marine Midland which changed to HSBC and is currently home to a branch of Key Bank.
The other structures after the Comfort Zone building next door, also are not identified in the photo, but today the property, which was formerly a savings and loan business, is occupied by Donovan & Co. on Hair. Next door to that building is another Key Bank with an adjacent parking lot.
From the Archives...
Erie County Independent: March 3, 1938– The Post Office in Woodlawn, a branch of the Lackawanna Office, has been discontinued by the order of the postal inspectors.
The contract station established at the T. Floyd Young Drug Store, on the Hamburg Turnpike at 6th Street, has been cancelled.
Photo – Hamburg High School 1938 yearbook from the historian’s files.
This column is written each week by Hamburg Town Historian Jim Baker.
Anyone wanting to submit photographs and/or materials can call the historian’s office in the Hamburg Town Hall on either Wednesday or Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 649-6111 ext. 2400.
Readers can also provide feedback by writing to The Sun and mailing it to The Sun, 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075.