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Old Car Dealer Dept.

2421 Main St., Buffalo, NY today

What is often still remembered as the home of Tinney Cadillac at 2421 Main St. in Buffalo, was opened in 1929 as the main showroom for the Buffalo-built Pierce-Arrow motorcar. Tinney, who opened his dealership in 1954, sold out to Braun Cadillac in the 1980s. The building sat vacant after Braun moved to Depew in the 1990s, until being bought and refurbished by Greater Buffalo Savings Bank. The Art Deco building is still famous as one of Buffalo’s architectural gems, and the showroom area currently houses a First Niagara bank branch.

Back when this Buffalo Evening News ad ran in the November 3, 1961 editions, the 1962 models were on the showroom floor, and prices ranged from $5,025 for the Series 62 hardtop coupe, to $9,937 for the Series 75 9-passenger limousine (of which only 904 were built). The used 1960 models in the ad were originally priced from $4,892 for the Series 62 hardtop coupe to $13,075 for the Eldorado Brougham hardtop sedan.

...from the Buffalo Evening News, November 3, 1961

You can view historical photos of the building here, or see the watercolor painting by local artist Dr. V. Roger Lalli, and read a history of the building by David M. Rote here.

Jim Corbran, You Auto Know

...from the brochure, 1962 Cadillac Series 75

...from the brochure, 1960 Cadillac Series 62

  • Lou Ricciuti

    I LOVE this series of articles. Thanks Jim Corban. Great!

    Of the 904 1962 Series 75 limos that were built, a dozen or more were used around Niagara Falls/WNY as tour cars for visitors. Quite a number of these vehicles were at one time – and may still be – located behind the motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the North Tonawanda. They were operated from “assembly-line to grave” by Gray Line Tours of Niagara.

    • Jim Corbran

      Lou, I’ll have to do a drive-by and see if those old limos are still there. Thanks.

  • Saw this great deco building when I visited Buffalo last yearand love the Pierce-Arrow in the banking chamber harking back to the building’s former use as a car dealer.

    • Jim Corbran

      David – …and the building still looks good, but I wish First Niagara would erect a more appropriate-looking sign!

  • Max


    Great job in unearthing these treasures. I remember walking in front of Tinney’s showroom as a kid and admiring what was known as “The Standard of the World” at the time.

    Many thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Jim Corbran

      Max, I always thought “Tinney” was an ironic name for a Cadillac dealer!

  • The 1960 cadillac is the best classic of all.

  • Charley Bowman

    Kudos to Artvoice for outing this very important issue. The FERC engineers who discovered this defect know the difference between a swale and sinkhole. Swale or sinkhole, it still a very serious matter. Where it it? Is it on the Tuscarora (eastern) side of the Lewsiton Pump Storage Reservoir? The northern side? The western side? Or southern side of the reservoir? Regardless of the side, there are 100’s of residents at risk of catastrophic flood.

    Have FERC and NYPA increased the frequency of inspections? How does one update emergency plans in such instances where a small leak can turn into a raging torrent within an hour or two?

    I’ve been puzzled by the reduced GWh output of the Lewiston Pump Storage facility in the past 2 years. According to the annual NYISO Goldbooks between 2012 and 2015, yearly Lewiston PS output was 509 GWh (2012), 515 GWh (2013), 483 GWh (2014), and 441 GWh (2015). There’s a 14% reduction in power output between 2013 and 2015.

    They refill the reservoir during the weekends as it becomes largely empty by Friday PM. In view of this defect in the dam, perhaps NYPA is not filling the reservoir as much as they used to….a 14% reduction would translate into about a 4 foot reduction in reservoir height (0.14 x 30 feet)…..or perhaps they left the reservoir empty for 50 days of the year (they refill it 183 weekends a year x 0.14 = 25 weekends) as they madly searched for the source of the leak/sinkhole/swale water.

    There could be other reasons for the diminished output. Generator replacement and O&M?

    Aside, I believe the photo above depicts the Sir Adam Beck Reservoir on the Canadian side, not the Lewiston Pump Storage Reservoir, which is out of view off the upper left hand side of the pic. That Canadian reservoir is about 7 years older than the Lewiston Reservoir.

    Again, thanks to James Hufnagle for a great article.

    • James Hufnagel

      Thanks, Charley, photo now depicts the Lewiston Reservoir.

  • John Phillips

    This is a minor issue.
    Robert J Knowlton is an absolutely unimpeachable Professional Civil Engineer. He is highly respected in the industry. I have worked with him for 25 years on projects all around the State.

    I am a graduate Electrical Engineer with 30 years’ experience in the power industry. In my last 20 years, I was responsible for operations of the Niagara Project.

    The only dike failure of a captive reservoir in the United States was the Taum Sauk reservoir in Missouri. This was due to over pumping. Water in the Lewiston Reservoir has to be pumped up from the Niagara River. It is typically stored at night for use at the Robert Moses Plant the next day. There are elaborate automate interlocks for preventing this from occurring. The reservoir elevation gauge is continuously and visually monitored.

    The reservoir usage is the inverse of the Niagara River flows. Most usage of the Lewiston Plant are highest when river flows are least. This by the way is when capacities of 3000 MW for short periods are possible from the complex.

    All pump storage reservoirs are operated on a weekly cycle in concert with the energy usage times of day. Power demand follows daily and weekly cycles. Maximum demand in on week day and in the day and less at night and least on weekends. Weekend is when maximum pumping occurs.

    There are inundation maps are on file in the local libraries and the local police and public safety officials have copies. Every five years as required, tabletop exercises are conducted. Independent consultants with the FERC with NYPA perform annual physical inspections of the civil works.

    • James Hufnagel

      Thank you for your comments. Mostly these are facts that everybody knows or has a good idea of. I’m not sure why you felt the need to defend Mr. Knowlton – to my knowledge, he did not perform the inspection and is merely the liaison with FERC. More than likely, the decision to downgrade to a swale was a committee-based decision.
      As far as inundation maps being on file, I received an email from NYPA this afternoon informing me that that information is only for emergency responders. Would you have a comment on that, Mr. Phillips?

      • John Phillips

        Did you go to the library?

      • James Hufnagel


      • John Phillips

        Your comment somehow the Johnston Flood of the Grand Teton failure were relevant was totally off base. The Johnson Flood was caused by an event with excessive runoff with sturtures designed in the last century. The Grand Teton failure was unique on because it was during the unitial filling of the reservoir.

        I may be mistaken but the Grand Teton failure, a Federal Bureau of Reclamation lead to current very strict dam dam safety regulations.

        These and many more as many more incidents are studied by engineers and current standard continually upgraded to to improved dam performance.

        For the Lewiston Reservoir except for over topping most events can be prevented without impacting the public. For the overstepping event the emergency action plan is designed to evacuate in effected homeowners.

        I am certain NYPA would welcome your witnessing the next the tabletop exercise. They sent me out to pasture many years ago so they do not keep me informed.

      • James Hufnagel

        Whenever an engineer tells me with absolute certainty and assurance that a project is 100% reliable and that anyone who raises issues about safety don’t know what they’re talking about and are talking nonsense, I flash back on the Challenger disaster and the collapse of the Embarcadero. Regardless of what the Teton incident led to, it was exactly the kind of failure that a sinkhole at the Lewiston Reservoir could lead to. A professional engineer first identified it as a “sinkhole”, and the first FERC letter persisted in calling it a sinkhole. Then it was called a “swale”. This “by golly and by gosh”, as my father used to say, analysis on the part of the government engineers is concerning, to say the least. The lack of transparency (admittedly for security reasons) surrounding the situation is deeply troubling.

      • John Phillips

        I have more respect for Bob Knowlton but than your fears but more pertinent is the Shelkopf failure. It occurred in the same rock strata and very famous in the Niagara Falls history. The only loss of life was a Niagara Mohawk employee.
        The designers of the Niagara Project designed the civil works with to prevent this type of failure. The symptoms of the failure at Scheltopf would have scared you but caused me to shutdown the plant.
        The the case of Lewiston I expect any significant failure mechanism increasingly to show up in reservoir leakage.
        The captive pump storage Luddington Reservoir in Michigan owned by Consumers Power has had severed leakage problems.