New York State's first urban renewal project - Buffalo, NY

The Ellicott District urban renewal project was New York State's first, with demolition of 36 blocks. The demolitions started in 1959 and were completed two years later. 

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I came across the above Sanborn map recently, updated to 1961. The map's label sums up the project: "All buildings on this sheet removed except St. Luke's A.M.E. Zion Church."

Every house, hotel, shop, and factory between Michigan, William, Jefferson, and Swan streets was razed. A few churches and schools were spared. The largely African American Ellicott District was one of the most densely populated and historic neighborhoods in Buffalo, but not any longer.

City planners started the Ellicott District urban renewal project to eradicate its density and mix of uses. They were successful. The neighborhood lost 77% of its population from 1950 to 2010, and few stores remain in business today.

Note - image courtesy of Buffalo & Erie County Public Library.  Please contact B&ECPL for reproduction.