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AM-POL Eagle: St. John Kanty’s Experiencing Renaissance

(Gregory Witul • Mon, Jun 30, 2014) In recent years, many of Buffalo’s Polish parishes have been on a bit of an upswing. St. Stanislaus Parish just celebrated its 140th anniversary; Corpus Christi has been working on replacing their towers; Father Krysa has breathed new life into St. Casimir’s and opened up the rectory as a museum to St. John Paul the Great; and Assumption has expanded its pastoral reach beyond the Polish community and has become a vibrant multiethnic parish.

This year, one parish has worked very hard to achieve its burgeoning renaissance, St John Kanty’s on Broadway at Swinburne in the heart of Buffalo’s far East Side. In the first six months of 2014, Kanty’s has hosted a Buffalo Mass Mob with more than 800 people visiting the parish, completed the Mary Project, an effort to replace the old statue of Mary at the corner of Broadway and Brownell, and held a successful Summerfest earlier this month.

This week we will look at how this parish was born and how they celebrated their golden anniversary.

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AM-POL Eagle: Property At 77 Woltz Had Rough And Tumble Early History

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(Gregory Witul • AM-POL Eagle) Many of the taverns and gin mills that dotted Buffalo’s East Side have histories that started with returning soldiers of the Second World War or the bootleggers of Prohibition or even the Pan-American in 1901, but few of them date back to the 19th century. This week we will take a look at a pen from Club 77 on Woltz Avenue and the rough and tumble early history of this hotel and drinking establishment.

In the early morning of Dec. 10, 1896, a fire ripped through M. Savills’ grocery store at 77 Woltz Ave. A fire crew quickly arrived and the total loss for the proprietor was only $250. The owner of the one-and-a-half story building, Mary Luczak calculated her damages at $150.

After the fire, Savills began looking for another location and moved on. Luczak rehabbed her building to serve as a hotel, with apartments for permanent guests and a down stairs tavern with a hall in the back. In 1898, Mary Cobeak applied for and received a license to serve liquor on the premises.

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AM-POL Eagle: A Saint In Our Midst – Cardinal Wojtyla’s 1969 Visit To Buffalo

F A C E B O O K(Gregory Witul • Fri, Apr 25, 2014) This weekend, Catholics the world over will be celebrating the canonization of Good Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul the Great. Here in Western New York there will be some grand celebrations for Saint John Paul the Great. St. Stanislaus Church and St. Casimir Church are both having a special Mass in honor of their one-time guest, and Canisius College is also honoring the now saint, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla. In honor of this historic event, we will look at a card from Karol Cardinal Wojtyla’s 1969 visit to Buffalo.

When Karol Wojtyla got his passport stamped at the Peace Bridge on Sept. 16, 1969, there were dozens of dignitaries waiting to greet the Cardinal. For the better part of a month, Western New York’s Polish community was preparing for this special dignitary because Karol Wojtyla would be the first Polish cardinal to visit America, and his first stop would be Buffalo. The Prince of the Church had just spent three weeks in Canada and was now spending two weeks touring the U.S. At the bridge he greeted the delegation before making his way to St. Stanislaus Church in Buffalo’s Polish East Side.

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Celebrate Feast of Saint Adalbert and Am-Pol Eagle Awards at Basilica


Saint Adalbert Basilica will be hosting a special Mass this weekend celebrating the Feast Day of its namesake and honoring the 2013 Am-Pol Eagle citizens of the year award recipients.

The Mass starts at 5:30pm and will be celebrated by Bishop Edward Grosz.

Refreshments will be served afterward.

AM-POL Eagle: Eddie’s Grill Was The Place To Go For A Drink And A Fish Fry


(Gregory Witul • Sat, Apr 12, 2014) With Easter just a little over a week away, fish fry season is starting to wind down. Western New Yorkers are lucky in that we still have so many bars, grills, and restaurants that offer classic beer battered fish fries. For a complete list check out our fish fry guide on pages 20 and 21.

In this week’s Babcia’s Closet we will look at a matchbook from one of the best places to go for a fish fry in Buffalo’s East Side – Eddie’s Grill at 209 Paderewski Drive.

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AM-POL Eagle: Michalski Family Among Founders Of St. Luke’s Parish

Gregory Witul • Wed, Mar 26, 2014

3-26-2014-9-43-31-PM-6944939Dear Mr. Witul,

According to family legend, Mateusz Michalski was a founding member of the St. Luke’s parish. Although the family lived on Sobieski Street, close to other Catholic churches, the legend was accepted, because his daughter Helen’s graduation from St. Luke’s school and first communion circa 1907. Another family member living on Sobieski also passed away and her funeral was held at St. Luke’s in 1913. I would like to know if Mateusz Michalski did in fact play a role in the founding of, or in the early years of St. Luke’s and if the above stories are true. Also, enclosed is a memento of another Michalski’s First Communion. Was it common for Catholic Churches to give these out? When did it began and how long did it continue.

— Phyllis O. of Cheektowaga

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AM-POL Eagle: Matchbook A Souvenir Of ‘One True Hotel’ At 1255 Broadway

(Gregory Witul • Sun, Jan 26, 2014 – AM-POL Eagle) From Dick’s East Side, to the White Eagle and the Hard Times, East Buffalo has been home to a lot of inns. But of all those inns there has only been one true hotel, located at 1255 Broadway. This week we will take a look at a “bobtailed” (when the striker is removed) matchbook cover from the 1940s from when that location was known as Banjo’s Hotel.

George Aichinger was a smart and entrepreneurial man. He knew that with the Pan-American Exposition coming to town there would be thousands of tourists, and those tourists would need a place to stay. He secured 1255 Broadway, hired a contractor and had his hotel ready for his guests by 1901. Aichinger did well for himself with his hotel at the corner of Young and Broadway, so well that in 1904 he expanded the lot to include 1253 Broadway as well. For 18 years, Aichinger ran the hotel before selling it to John J. Nowak in 1920. Nowak left the business in 1930 and Stephan Kapczynski took over. Besides reserving rooms, Kapczynski converted one of his rooms into a soft drink parlor, a common ploy used by speak easy owners. Kapczynski sold the now hotel and restaurant to Stephan Smigielski. Smigielski didn’t stay long at 1255 and soon he gave way to the hotel’s next owner.

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