The caretaker of the vacant Eckhardt’s/Kobacker’s Department Store building has recently uncovered a spectacular art moderne style staircase. Sealed from public view since the late1970s, the steps are glimpse into a lost era of Buffalo retail. The Eckhardt’s/Kobacker’s Department Store at 950 Broadway (1940, Bley & Lyman, architects) is architecturally significant as an excellent example of a largely-intact, early Art Moderne retail building. Designed by local firm Bley & Lyman for John H. Eckhardt, this sleek building is one of the most significant early Modern buildings surviving in Buffalo. A similar style department store building, the W. T. Grant department store (1939), once stood at Main and Huron Streets in downtown Buffalo (demolished 1980). The building’s curved façade stands out for its design and materials, which include granite, light cream terra cotta and stainless steel. Eckhardt had operated a store at the principal commercial intersection of the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood since the 1880’s. Former tenants of the building include Kobacker’s and Sears department stores. Long-time Broadway merchant John H. Eckhardt commissioned the famed Buffalo architectural firm of Lawrence Bley and Duane Lyman to design a modern structure to house his growing retail business, Eckhardt’s Department Store, at the northwest corner of Broadway and Fillmore, Buffalo’s thriving shopping district. Built in 1940 by noted local builders, Metzger Bros. Construction, its architectural style has been recently classified as Art Moderne, an evolution of the Art Deco and Bauhaus movements of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Eckhardt family had owned this corner and operated general/department stores there since the late 1880’s. As noteworthy in local history as that is, it is especially exceptional that the direct descendants of the Eckhardt family still own and lovingly maintain this beautiful building. The last two tenants moved out of this building in 2004. The New York State Department of Labor configured the 1st floor for its regional office, and a neighborhood based education and job training program, 78 Restoration Corporation, configured the 2nd floor for its offices and classrooms. The finished basement and unfinished 3rdfloor (originally used for inventory/storage) have not been used for decades and are in pristine condition. In homage to their fine family heritage, the current owners are sincerely interested in protecting the integrity of this building and have turned down offers that would have threatened its survival. Their dedication to this effort is extremely rare and must be commended. It is solely because of them that we still have this important part of Buffalo’s history, and living example of great design and craftsmanship to appreciate and admire.