|Former names||Broadway Arsenal|
|Location||201 Broadway, Buffalo, New York|
|Owner||City of Buffalo|
|Broke ground||1858 (as an armory)|
|Renovated||1884, 1909, 1948|
|Closed||1940 (as an auditorium)|
|Architect||Calvin N. Otis|
|Buffalo Majors (AHA) (1931)|
The Buffalo Broadway Auditorium is a former arsenal, United States Armory and indoor arena in the Ellicott District of Buffalo, New York. The building is currently in use as a public works facility called the Broadway Barns. The building housed boxing, bowling, indoor biking, conventions, circuses, concerts among other things. It is one of Buffalo's oldest buildings. It currently holds the title of being the world's oldest existing structure that has hosted professional hockey.
The building, designed by architect Calvin N. Otis, began life as an arsenal home to the 65th and 74th regiments during the American Civil War. It later became a National Guard armory from 1884 until 1907. In 1910 the building became an auditorium and arena. The building was home to the Buffalo Majors of the American Hockey Association, a professional club for six games in 1931. The building was also home to early games of Six Nations indoor box lacrosse featuring star Harry Smith.
The building featured fights by heavyweight champions Jack Dempsey, Primo Carnera, James J. Braddock and Benny Leonard, the great Jewish lightweight champion. Harry Greb, seen as one of the best middleweights of all time, fought there 16 times between 1916 and 1926. Most notable however is a fight by Joe Louis, who boxed at the auditorium on January 11, 1937 against Steve Ketchel en route to taking his title of heavyweight champion. Louis was one of several black fighters to box at the auditorium in the pre-Civil Rights era. Others included Joe Jeannette, Battling Siki, John Henry Lewis, and Henry Armstrong.
During its history as an auditorium it hosted dances and concerts by such acts as Enrico Caruso, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cab Calloway. The auditorium was also the home to conventions and political rallies such as one for Woodrow Wilson.
In 1928, the construction of Peace Bridge Arena across the border in Fort Erie, Ontario effectively rendered Broadway Auditorium obsolete, but that building collapsed in 1936. In 1940 the Auditorium was replaced as an arena by the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. When the United States entered World War II the building reverted to use as an armory. In 1948, a fire destroyed most of the original arsenal except for the portal and towers embedded in a drill hall addition. After almost 10 years of little use after the war, the building was converted to public works use in 1948 by the City of Buffalo.
As the City of Buffalo has begun looking at moving their public works hub the building's future has come into question. Originally slated to be demolished when the Department of Public Works eventually leaves, there is now in light of the building's history ongoing debate about preserving and re-purposing the structure.