HIGGS: Where Cleveland Avenue meets Main Street, 1951

Norma Higgs

Let’s find out a little more about our city during 1951 before we continue down Main Street. My source for this information is the 1951 City Directory.

“The electrical development at Niagara Falls, beginning about 1895, had a tremendous influence in shaping the history and determining the nature of the development of the city. Niagara Falls has had this continuous growth. Its industrialists early took the lead in research and industrial development. Local scientists became pioneers in the development of hydro electric power, electro-chemistry and electro-metallurgical. At no other place in the world is there manufactured such a quality and diversity of chemical and metallurgical products as are made in this city.

The technology processes require the services of a large number of highly skilled technical workers. Hundreds of products created by Niagara industries are used by other industries and communities throughout the U.S. and Canada to add to the well-being and comfort of mankind.”

My own words here – however while we created industry – they concentrated on tourism in Canada – and we later found this to be a setback as the industrial climate changed and our city changed with it. More on this later, let’s continue our walk along Main Street which was a bustling business area with a retail population happy to serve the prosperous residents of Niagara Falls.

First on the block just past Cleveland Avenue was Joseph Marra a dentist at 1935 Main St., but in the same building on the first floor is Diane Niagara, Inc. shoes. OK, I admit there were a lot of shoe stores on Main Street but perhaps shoes were a driving force (or should I say “walking force”) for shoppers that year. Marra resided at 448 Portage Road. Albert Litvak was president of Diane Niagara Shoes and Samuel Levin was treasurer. This store was a branch of one at 211 Falls St.

Moving along to 1933 Main we find Belbot’s Store, owned and operated by Walter A. Belbot, Credit Clothiers. Walter and wife Alice lived at 546 30th St. I do not remember this store so it may have been gone when I started serious shopping. On the upper floor were Chapin & Chapin, Lawyers .They were both named John so I assume they were father and son. John O. Chapin lived at 910 Chapin Ave. with wife Florence and John H. and wife Frances resided at 940 McKinley Ave.

At 1931 was Reed’s Jewelers and Optician’s with Samuel Zimmer and Samuel Posner as proprietors. Samuel is listed as living in Buffalo with wife Shirley and there is no reference to Samuel Zimmer so I guess he lived in Buffalo as well. At 1929 was Amelia Limbos Liquors and 1929 ½ was vacant. Louis Goldstone Tobacco would greet you at 1927 and lived at 2451 South Ave. with wife Ruth. At 1925 was Harrison Shops, Inc. They featured women’s clothes. They also had a shop at 102 Falls Street. Next door at 1923 was William A. Crandall and Ruth who operated a wallpaper and paint store and lived nearby at 811 Division Avenue. Mrs. Elizabeth Busk lived on the upper floor of the paint store.

At 1921 Main was a Beauty Shop with Winifred Smith as the owner and Margaret Meek a milliner with a hat shop. Owen Smith and Winifred lived upstairs. Owen was an office worker at Carborundum and Winifred was a beautician at 1921 ½ Main Street. At 1917 Main was the Willis Wallpaper and Paint Store operated by Rose Kerpen. Rose lived at 717 Linwood Ave.

At 1917-1919 were the Lunken Apartments and Eugene Lunken’s Men’s Clothing Store with several apartments above. The occupants were as follows: #1-Robert Evert and wife Irene. Robert was a chemical operator at Niacet. No. 2 was a storage space for the Lunken’s Clothing. Frances B. Wise, the widow of Harry lived in #3, and Ethel Toy, widow of Edward lived in #4. Morgan and Irene Jones lived in #5 but no further information was available. Hazel Gordon resided in #5 and worked at Carborundum. Helen Roe – a factory worker at Moore Business Forms had #7 and Ida Howard occupied #8 and was employed at the Spirella Co.

Samuel Lobiano sold fruit at 1915 and resided at 1717 Ferry Ave. with wife Mary. Clifton Van Epps operated a restaurant at 1911 Main St. and lived with wife Anna at 2254 ½ Ontario Ave. Marjorie McWIlliams had a gift shop at 1909 Main Street. She and husband Clarence resided in Lockport where her husband Clarence was Sales manager at John McKenna Motors. Richard Whittleton an electrolysist was next at 19071/2. At 1907 were Arthur Gray Shoes and Eleanor Wheeler operated a beauty shop here. At 1905 was Chorman’s Leather Goods. Frederick Chorman was manager at the leather goods store. They sold trunks, traveling bags, ensemble luggage, and fine leather goods. The business was established in 1860. Salvatore Palermo, chiropractor occupied an office here as well. Moving along to Ray’s Clothing, Inc. at 1901 Main Street we find that Sam David was the President. Their ad featured Men’s Furnishings. He and wife Eleanor lived at 4850 Lewiston Road.

We have arrived at the intersection of Lincoln Place, and will cross Main Street to the “even” side next time.  

Contact Norma Higgs at niahigg@aol.com.

Recommended for you