Jankowski Cigar Shop


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Photo by Christopher Byrd, Buffalo Young Preservationists, Lisa Perillo,
Deanna Newsham, Buffalo News, John Straubinger


595 Fillmore Avenue, Buffalo NY 14212
SBL: 111.52-4-37
Fillmore Council District
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Across from: Bilski Hardware and Adam Mickiewicz Library


  • October 2015 - Purchased at City auction by Broadway Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services
  • 2009-2015 - Formerly Charles Lawrence III, who inherited the rooming house previously owned and maintained by his grandfather, until his passing in 2009.

Physical Description

  • Two story corner building with first floor retail and apartments upstairs. Wooden front building destroyed in fire, rear brick building survived.
  • Quoting Marty Biniasz at Forgotten Buffalo: "This significant structure began as a small house; expanded in frame and brick by Joseph Jankowski from 1893-1907 for his residence, confectionery store and cigar factory."

Current Condition

  • April 3, 2013 - Walk-thru showed showed a messy but repairable first floor retail and apartment space. The upper floor has a central hallway with small adjacent rooms. These rooms had debris from previous residents and some water damage due to multiple small roof leaks. All floors were safely accessible via multiple stairways. Many original windows remain. Basement is dry. Brick garage portion was in the best shape.
  • November 2015 - Front house destroyed in fire, rear structures damaged but repairable.


  • 1893 - Joseph Jankowski, owner of a cigar manufacturing shop since 1885, expanded to Fillmore Street in 1893 with the construction of this Eastlake influenced home, cigar shop, and rolling floor. courtesy Am Pol Eagle
    • Recollection by Michael Bylebyl, on Buffalo News website: "Many fond memories of that place when as a boy I would stay for the weekend with my grandmother, Harriet Jankowski Bylebyl, whose father, Joseph Jankowski, had built it as residence (downstairs) and cigar manufacturing center (upstairs) as well as store (front) for his snuff and cigars which were sold and distributed all over WNY."
"At the time the upstairs had been converted to a rooming house and apartments for "Railroad Men" who worked at the New York Central Depot up the street on Paderewski and I felt lucky to hear their train stories as conductors, brakemen and engineers. Between the store which featured an aromatic blend of tobacco, penny candy and magazines, and rooming house, there was always something going on and I relished every creak in the floor, nook and cranny of that old place as well as the intent voice of grandma calling out to her daughter, my aunt Harriet, who would respond "Coming Ma !""

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • March 2013 - Currently on the Preservation Board agenda for demolition consideration during their April 4th, 2013 meeting
  • April 3, 2013 - The current owner met with concerned neighbors, Broadway Fillmore Alive, and BYP members for a walk-thru and discussion of potential options
  • April 4, 2013 - The demolition consideration on the Preservation Board was tabled pending further discussion about possible Landmarking and removal from the demolition list.
  • February 28, 2015 - Carl Skompinski reports "City notice for CHARLES LAWRENCE III to remove all personal property from the building within 5 days." This is usually a sign of impending demolition.
  • October 2015 - Building purchased at City auction by Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services. The plan is a renovation into 6/7 apartments and a coffee shop.
  • November 9, 2015 - Front building destroyed by fire and emergency demo'ed. Brick rear portion survives.
  • November 30, 2015 - Broadway Fillmore NHS to meet with architect and engineers for plan to re-build as part of a $1.2 million dollar plan, echoing the original structure.
  • December 3, 2015 - 'Deadline for project submittion to NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal, which may supply $790,000 needed to help underwrite the proposed $1.2 million project.' Buffalo News
  • November 2018 - After more than two years of planning and securing public-sector financing, Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood Housing Services is accepting bids through Nov. 20 on construction of the 11-apartment residential complex and community room, a $2 million project. Work is expected to begin early next year.
    • Plans for the project were approved two years ago by the Buffalo Planning Board. RP Oak Building Inc. has been retained as the construction manager, while the revamped building was designed by Carmina Wood & Morris. Business First

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Added 2013-03-20 • Last changed 2018-11-16