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F.N. Burt Box Company

Exterior After Rehab
Atrium Before Rehab
Atrium After Rehab
1st Floor Before After
1st Floor After Rehab
Courtyard Before Rehab
Courtyard After Rehab
3rd Floor Before Rehab
3rd Floor After Rehab
5th Floor Before Rehab
5th Floor After Rehab

F.N. Burt Box Company

500 Seneca Street, Buffalo, NY

  • Date Built: 1900-1926
  • Total QREs: $20,000,000
  • Total HTCs: $10,000,000, Federal; $10,000,000 State.

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part One, Two, and Three of the Historic Preservation Certification Applications and the National Register nomination.


The F.N. Burt Box Company building  is a series of nine interconnected buildings that were constructed between 1900 and 1926 as the company expanded. The company produced high-end cardboard boxes for cigarette cases, perfume boxes, and jewelry boxes just to name a few. Under the direction of Mary Cass as General Manager the company flourished and expanded greatly. Cass began working with the F.N. Burt Company as a “do everything” worker in 1891-92 when the company was a single shop with a printing press. After fifteen years of service, she was promoted to the level of vice president. In 1909, with the change in ownership, the company was worth at least $2,750,000 and Cass was one of the highest salaried female executives in the country.

Under Mary Cass, the value of F.N. Burt skyrocketed. She oversaw several expansions of the factory, as well as the expansion to other factories throughout Buffalo. F.N. Burt became one of the leading suppliers of cases for cosmetics, cigarettes, and other industries. By 1921, the company employed 2,5000, and was worth almost $3,000,000. Celebrations for her 25th and 30th anniversaries with the company represented her high esteem in the company and Buffalo’s business arena. In 1921, at her 30th anniversary, she was the only woman at the event, and the praise of Samuel Moore, the president of the company, reveals how highly she was regarded; “She is the embodiment of good judgment. The fact that all you men have come here tonight, and many have come a great distance, is tribute enough to her success.” After serving as general manager for twenty-four years, Cass retired in 1935. She died a decade later and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery

The oldest building, located at Hamburg and Seneca Streets, was built in 1900 of heavy timber construction. Other additions were also built in the same way, but later buildings in 1926 were constructed of reinforced concrete as construction methods evolved over time. As new additions were built, openings were cut into perimeter walls to allow for a pass through. As the complex developed, two interior courtyards were framed by the buildings; one in the east portion and one in the west portion. The east courtyard remains open, but the west courtyard later received a roof and was enclosed. As part of the rehabilitation the west courtyard received large skylights to continue the theme of a daylight factory and floods the space with natural light. The building was rehabilitated as a mix of apartments, office space, and small retailers including a distillery, a pet supply and grooming shop, and many others.

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