BUFFALO, NY – When you think of the stock market, bulls and bears may come to mind. But when we are talking about Buffalo’s stock market, it was more hogs and heifers.
The Stock Exchange building stood on William Street, an early work of Louise Bethune, the nation’s first female architect – and designer of the Hotel Lafayette.
The railroads and Buffalo’s location were key. That location was highlighted in early ads for the stock yards. They advertised that there were over 200 meat packing and processing plants in the states adjacent to the Buffalo yards, as well as 30 million people in those states.
Central Terminal Restoration Corporation C.E.O., Mark Lewandowski, adds that “Chicago was number one in rails, and number one in the meatpacking business, Buffalo was number 2 in both categories.”
And while Buffalo was big business, the business also built Buffalo, employing tens of thousands.
In the late 19th century, the stockyards could accommodate 10,000 head of cattle, 30,000 sheep, 30,000 hogs, and horses. “With that, neighborhoods grew, secondary industries grew, Loab tannery on Clinton street, all the others, the glue factories, Larkin soap, all that spun off the stockyard industries,” adds Lewandowski.
And if you look hard, you can still spot some evidence of the days when livestock was king.
Peter Jablonski, whose father, Fred wrote a book called “The Dynamics of an East Buffalo Ethnic Neighborhood,” points out that the stock yards and meat packing companies attracted the growing Polish immigrant population which was familiar with that line of work.
The industry gave them a home – and a livelihood.
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