WBEZ | Irving Park http://www.wbez.org/tags/irving-park Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lost landmark: The Buffalo http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/lost-landmark-buffalo-103767 <p><p>When I was young, I went to a Catholic grade school. And like all good Catholic kids in the 1950s, I gave up something for Lent &mdash; usually ice cream.</p><p>Then Easter would finally come. Lent was over. To celebrate, my parents would take me to The Buffalo.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-14--The%20Buffalo%201973.jpg" title="The Buffalo in 1972" /></div><p>The Buffalo Ice Cream Parlor was located at 4000 West Irving Park Road (or 4000 North Pulaski Road &mdash; the address happened to work out that way). The place had leaded glass windows, dark walnut booths, a marble soda counter and murals with dancing cherubs. It smelled of sweet chocolate. As background noise, there was the comforting whirr of 20 malted milk mixers.</p><p>The awning over the main entrance said &ldquo;Established 1902.&rdquo; Actually, the 1902 date was when The Buffalo was founded at its original location, Division and Sedgwick. The business had moved to Irving Park in 1918.</p><p>After six weeks of ice cream withdrawal, a frozen turnip might have satisfied my ten-year-old palate. But I knew that The Buffalo&rsquo;s home-made product was something special, since my dad and I would sometimes stop in for a quick one before going to the Commodore Theater across the street. I loved The Buffalo, and so did most of the Northwest Side.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-14--The%20Buffalo%201978.JPG" style="float: right; height: 376px; width: 250px;" title="The last days of The Buffalo, 1978" /></div><p>Then, in the spring of 1973, the papers reported that The Buffalo was going to close. The land had been sold and a Shell gas station would replace the ice cream parlor.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">The Buffalo&rsquo;s fans would not accept that death sentence. They made signs and picketed. They sent letters to the editor. When the city council held a hearing about rezoning for the gas station, 300 protesters showed up. Mike Royko wrote a column about the dastardly turn of events.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Three days before the April 30<sup>th</sup> closing date, the local alderman announced a reprieve: The Buffalo had been granted a temporary six-month lease.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">That was just long enough. By the fall the first Arab oil embargo was in effect. Who needed another gas station? The Buffalo got a new five-year lease.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Five years later, when that lease ended, The Buffalo closed for good, and the building was torn down. Ultimately a Shell gas station did go up on the site.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There was some controversy over what had happened. One rumor said that The Buffalo&rsquo;s owner was happy to move out, but didn&rsquo;t want to rile the public. A new ice cream parlor calling itself The Buffalo operated for a while in Morton Grove. I went there once, but it wasn&rsquo;t the same.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Shell station is still in business at Irving Park and Pulaski. I&rsquo;ve even bought gas there from time to time. Though life isn&rsquo;t always fair, we move on. &nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/lost-landmark-buffalo-103767