Pierce-Arrow automobiles - Table of Contents

Vernor Building - DEMOLISHED 2007
752 Main Street, Buffalo, NY

2005 photo - Demolished 2007
Vernor Building, erected c. 1903 as a showroom for Pierce autos (perhaps the first auto showroom in the country)

2005 photo - Demolished 2007
In 1998, Buffalonian Scot Fisher spotted the illegal removing of terra cotta decoration on the Vernor Building. Further removal was prevented but much damage was done.

2005 photo - Demolished 2007
Vernor Building intentional terra cotta removal result

Partial reprint

Vernor Building
Preservation Ready Sites
(online June 2019)

The Vernor Building at 752 Main Street was built in 1903 as a showroom for Pierce-Arrow automobiles. S. H. Woodruff is credited with designing the showroom building. It was billed as “the largest automobile salesroom in the world” when it opened.

After Pierce-Arrow moved [2421 Main Street], the company sold its downtown building to the James Vernor Company, which converted it to a bottling plant and retail store for Vernor’s Ginger Ale. In 1951, Vernor sold its building to owners who began renting space in the building to a succession of retail tenants.

In 1998, the city was about to demolish the Vernor by skirting around a preservation ordinance before it got a temporary reprieve. In 2005, City Court Judge Henry Nowak issued a $51,000 fine to Tech Associates, headed by David Shifrin of Cleveland, on 35 counts. "It was a classic case of demolition by neglect," Nowak said from the bench. The building had been cited several times for code violations since the early 1990s, but Tech Associates had avoided making a single improvement or paying a fine. In May 2007, the Vernor Building was knocked down, 100 years after it opened.
(courtesy Buffalo Spree and BuffaloAH)

Partial reprint and edited photo
Looking Backward: Main & Edward, 1981
by The Public Staff / Apr. 20, 2016  
(online June 2019)

EDITED 1981 photo
[Building across Edward Street to the right/north of the demolished Teck is St. Louis RC Church]

The west side of Main Street, between Tupper and Edward, was until 1982 an intact part of the Theater Historic District. In 1981, when this photograph was taken, this block was at risk but savable. Nearly every commercial space was vacant, and only Schmidt’s Auto Service, the Little Club restaurant, and the Teck Theatre were still in operation.

The Schmidt Building, 736 Main Street, was razed in 2004 after City Court Judge Henry Nowak granted owner Alex Schmidt’s demolition request.

The Vernor Building, 752 Main Street—originally home to a George N. Pierce automobile showroom and later the James Vernor Co., makers of Vernor’s Ginger Ale—was razed in 2007. Jack Shifrin and his son, current property owner David Shifrin, are to blame for decades of neglect of the Vernor Building and Teck Theatre.

Today, the nearly two acres of “shovel ready” land at Main and Edward streets remain vacant, with no active plans for redevelopment.

Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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