BUFFALO, N.Y. — At the ripe old age 126, Buffalo Optical is one of the Queen City's oldest businesses, but before it opened its doors, its founder had already made his mark on the baseball diamond.
In 1889, Will White came to Buffalo at the urging of his brother Deacon, to pitch for the Bisons. Deacon White was a hall-of-fame player, and Will had distinguished himself by being the first player to ever wear glasses on the field. Deacon had purchased the Bisons with another Major League player, but contractual issues with another team prevented them from playing or managing the club. That is when Will White entered the picture.
Buffalo was the final stop in Will's 14 year professional career. He liked the Queen City so much, he returned after going to school to become an optician. That is when he opened the doors on Buffalo Optical.
Jack Stewart and his wife, Dr. Jillian Beyer purchased the company 6 months ago. They knew they were buying an established business, but didn't realize they were also buying the museum that went with it. In the basement they discovered a treasure trove, including an original glasses display with frames that date back to the 1700's, plenty of documents, pictures, and the story of the ground-breaking ball player who originally opened this business.
Stewart has put many items back on display in the Delaware Avenue shop, intent on sharing this unique story with his customers. "Buffalo optical has been around since 1893, 126 years, and we're trying to bring the history of the practice back to the public."