The Michigan Avenue Corridor is a mecca for our region’s African American and the history of other local cultures and much of that history is connected to the old buildings that are still standing.
“We’re just starting to see growth in the African American Heritage corridor as far as people who want to occupy the corridor, both residential, commercial and from the arts community, said Darius Pridgen Buffalo Common Council president. “I would imagine, in the next five to six years, you will drive down Michigan and It will be an entirely different Michigan Avenue.”
A recent move by the Buffalo Common Council aims to protect the rich historic heritage of Michigan Avenue. A moratorium was enacted in late October it stops demolition of city owned property on the corridor.
When it comes to privately owned property the city has a land-marking process to protect those structures as well.
Preservation Buffalo Niagara Executive Director Jessie Fisher says marking structures as a landmark property helps save it from demolition.
Fisher says Michigan Avenue is one of the most historically rich areas in the city.
“The history in this area really can’t be replicated, the stories of the underground railroad, the stories of abolition, the stories of the Niagara movement, which is the precursor to the NAACP, as a lot of people know. The stories and the history in this neighborhood are definitely among the most powerful in the city of buffalo.
“Right next door to the Michigan Street Baptist Church is an old Chinese laundry, so I don’t think people realized that we had a Chinese population living in this part of the city.”