A Full-Service Historic Preservation Consulting Firm serving all of New York State and the Greater Northeast


Witkop & Holmes Headquarters

Exterior Before Rehab
Missing Storefronts Before Rehab
Replicated Storefronts After Rehab
1st Floor After Rehab

Witkop & Holmes Headquarters

145 Swan Street, Buffalo, NY

  • Date Built: 1901
  • Total QREs: $5,945,000
  • Total HTCs: $2,972,500, Federal; $2,972,500 State.

Preservation Studios’ Role:

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

History:

The Witkop & Holmes Headquarters was commissioned by Jacob Dold of the Dold Packing Company, a meatpacking company that had grown from a small butcher shop in 1860 to one of the largest meat packing firms in the country. He chose the local firm of Bethune, Bethune, and Fuchs to design a three-story building and later filed an amended plan two months later for an additional floor. It is unclear if the Dold Packing Company planned the building for its own use or as a speculative real estate venture. It is possible that the company envisioned using the building, as the original layout included a ramped entrance at the rear so delivery wagons could pass right through the first floor and out onto Swan Street. Either way, Dold never occupied the building. Weed & Co., the oldest hardware company in Buffalo, was the first official tenant, using the building until its new headquarters was finished in 1905 just a block to the west. Witkop & Holmes moved to the building in 1906, where the pass through and central location suited its needs as a rapidly expanding local (and soon to be regional) wholesale grocery with delivery routes throughout Western New York. They occupied the building, utilizing it for warehouse and office space until they relocated in 1933.

Mr. Witkop was operating a firm called Empire Tea Co out of 254 Genesee Street. By 1902, it was known as Witkop & Holmes and listed as a wholesale grocer, operating as a home delivery service to the greater Buffalo area. The company moved to 145 Swan Street circa 1906. By 1933, it expanded beyond Buffalo, with stores in Niagara Falls, Lockport, Batavia and Jamestown, and relocated its main office to 515 Washington Street.

Although Witkop & Holmes began as a home-delivery grocer and tea seller, by 1930 it also sold furniture. Like many home delivery grocers, the company offered premiums for loyal customers. Premiums incentivized customer loyalty by offering rewards, such as a “free” chair, that was paid off with stamps collected from each purchase. As the premiums became more and more popular, Witkop & Holmes began to sell furniture exclusively, which led to the opening of its furniture store at 62 Webster Street, also know as the Dick Block.


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