Starting in the mid-1960s, a Greek immigrant named James Eoannou purchased his friend’s concession pushcart and began selling popcorn, peanuts, and corn-fritters in North Buffalo neighborhoods. He later moved to Delaware Road and began servicing the suburban neighborhoods in the Town of Tonawanda and the Village of Kenmore. One of the signals that summer had come to Buffalo was the arrival of the popcorn man. James was a full-time cook for the Buffalo Athletic Club and loved to go for long, rambling walks. He decided to put his walks to good use and bring some joy to children, and often the adults, of these neighborhoods.
The wooden handcart is painted red, white, and blue and has glass windows and a glass door to access the popcorn compartment. The cart was made by A. Elsinghorst, at the Elsinghorst Building located on 138-140 Broadway in Buffalo. This wonderful addition to our collection, donated to us by Mr. Eoannou’s family, includes the original tarp for covering the goods in the cart, two denim aprons, with three pockets, that were worn by James, and 40 red, white, and blue paper popcorn bags of varying sizes. The handcart is a great Buffalo summertime memory.
*This article was featured in the Summer 2017 issue of “The Album,” The Buffalo History Museum’s quarterly newsletter.