Forgotten Buffalo remembers Walter Solowski who passed away on November 25, 2009. Solowski, was a decorated World War II veteran and longtime tavern owner. Mr. Solowski was a staff sergeant in the Army Air Forces, serving as a right gunner on the B-29 Superfortress and B-17 Flying Fortress in the 403rd Airborne, stationed in the South Pacific. He flew 29 successful missions over Japan and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was a member of Adam Plewacki Post 799, American Legion. When a memorial honoring World War II veterans was dedicated in the nation’s capital five years ago, Solowski attended the ceremonies.
“I’m not a hero; it’s a job that we did,” said Solowski, who at the time was believed to be the last surviving member of the famed “McNamara’s Band” air crew that fought in the South Pacific.
“We’re from an old Polish family on the East Side, and we understand what values are, and that sometimes you’ve got to fight to protect them,” he said, following the dedication in 2004.
Mr. Solowski continued the family business that his parents, Mary and Joseph Solowski, established in 1940. He helped the family operate Top Hill Grill on Fillmore Avenue and South Division Street for nearly 70 years. He was still tending bar until shortly before his death. Solowski founded Top Hill Social Athletic Club and was a founding member of the Lancaster Speedway. He also was involved in many community organizations and was a member of SS. Rita&Patrick Catholic Church in Buffalo.
Across the street were the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The viaduct was removed in the early 80s. Walter explains that his children would wave to the passenger trains as they made thier way to Central Terminal
Back room decked out for the holidays Jan. 2009
Pool room with built in benches. This place was designed for a good time!