War Memorial Stadium was an iconic part of the Buffalo landscape for many years. Opened in 1937, it was the home field of the Buffalo Bills and Boston Braves professional football teams, as well as the Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team. The stadium also hosted numerous track and field events, including the Amateur Athletic Union championships held there from 1945 to 1979.
In 1957, the Buffalo Bills played their first professional game at War Memorial Stadium, and the team would call it home until 1972 when they moved to Rich Stadium (now known as New Era Field). The Bisons also left in 1968, but not before setting an attendance record of 41,902 during a single game against the Atlanta Crackers
By the mid-1980s, War Memorial Stadium had fallen into disrepair and was no longer suitable for professional or minor league sports. In 1989, it was demolished to make way for the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion. The new facility featured a 6,000-seat grandstand with artificial turf, four football fields, and a running track. The space also included an Olympic-sized pool, an indoor ice rink, volleyball courts, basketball courts, a fitness center, and a sports medicine facility.
Today, War Memorial Stadium is a distant memory, but its legacy lives on in the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion and through the countless athletes and sports fans who experienced it during its heyday. Its demolition marked the end of an era for Buffalo’s sporting history, but it also ushered in a new phase of amateur athletics that continues to benefit the city’s sports scene today.