Photograph 53
After World War 2, there was a tremendous period of growth in the suburbs of every city in the country - Buffalo included. With the automobile taking the place of street cars as the primary means of transportation, the downtown shopping district experienced a steady decline of shoppers as the "strip malls" began popping up wherever these new suburban communities developed.

With the tremendous growth of the population during the late 40s and 50s, neighborhoods were emerging from what was once forest or wetland areas of Western New York. These communities found that they didn't need to go downtown to shop at individual stores if these "strip malls" had everything they needed all in one convenient location. Downtown Buffalo couldn't compete with this new trend in consumer affairs because there was no room for such an operation within the city proper. Suburbia flourished.

The Boulevard Mall, seen here in this image from the mid 1960s, was one such strip mall built in Tonawanda on Niagara Falls Boulevard (hence the name). The Boulevard was one of the first to have its entire shopping complex enclosed so shoppers were able to walk from one store to the next without having to face the outside elements. Most strip malls prior to this type of construction had all of the stores lined up in a similar fashion, but their entrances were on the outside of each business.

This image shows two of the Boulevard's "anchor" stores, Kleinhans and Sattlers; now both out of business. The Boulevard has been remodeled time and time again to keep up with the so-called "mega-malls" that have taken away much of its business. However it still is a major attraction for "mall-walkers" and shoppers alike.