Knapp Building


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April 1999


January 2018

Alexander Wright, November 2018

May 2019

August 2019
Photo credit: City of Buffalo, Jessie Fisher, PBN, John Hickey/Buffalo News, Michael Gainer

238 Carlton Street, Buffalo NY 14204


Borderland Advantage LLC per City of Buffalo Property Information
NYS Corporation and Business Entity Database

Physical Description

  • 2.5 story 3,838sq.ft. front-gabled Italianate style brick commercial building with arched windows and cast-iron storefront columns, on a corner parcel

Current Condition

  • Unused, fire damaged


  • 1876 - Built as the home and grocery store of Peter Knapp, a first-generation German-American Fruit Belt resident, not only to be his family home to but to house his new grocery business he was opening with his brother. Prior to opening their store, Peter and his brother Joseph lived around the corner at 200 Locust Street with their extended family.
  • 1880 - Joseph went back to working as a molder, while Peter continued to operate the grocery until about 1902.
    • It appears as though Peter occasionally rented the grocery business out and went back to his original profession.
  • 1886 - The grocery store is in the name of Jacob Kitzinger
  • 1893 - The grocery store is in the name of the Leopold Bros.
  • 1903 - Peter Knapp sold the property and grocery business to brothers Fred & Frank McElroy.
    • The McElroy Brothers previously had a grocery store on the corner of Purdy Street & Elsie Place
  • 1907 - The property was in hands of Frederick Smalian.
  • 1941 - The delicatessen was posted for sale and/or rent, boasting a “900 bottle beer cooler and case”.
  • 1958 - The property was purchased by Waddy Thompson.
  • 1979 - The property was purchased by Peter Sandara
  • 1991 - The property was purchased by Robert E. Baines
  • 1992 - The property was purchased by Mary L Myles-Winter
history courtesy Jessie Fisher & PBN

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2000 - Vacant since approximately 2000
  • 2007 - The property was purchased by Steven Winston
  • April 12, 2017 - Damaged by fire
  • April 2017 - The property was purchased by Borderland Advantage LLC for $24,000
  • January 11, 2018 - via Jessie Fisher at PBN: "The Buffalo Preservation Board accepted the Local Landmark Application for 238 Carlton Street, allowing it to move forward to a Public Hearing at their next meeting on January 25th at 3 pm. Securing Local Landmark status is an important step in our efforts to work with the City of Buffalo, the property owner Borderland Advantage, and Fruit Belt residents to avoid demolition. The preservation of community’s historic built environment is not just about interesting architecture, it is about creating strong, healthy neighborhoods, and PBN has been working with the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Task Force for nearly three years to support preservation of the Fruit Belt neighborhood. "
    • "We will keep our members and supporters updated as more information becomes available. For more information about our efforts to preserve 238 Carlton Street and to read the Landmark application, visit this webpage."
  • February 8th, 2017 - Local Landmark Application is scheduled for a Public Hearing at the Preservation Board's meeting at 3pm
  • November 2018 - Alexander Wright's African Heritage Food Co-Op would like to purchase the building and begin raising rehab funds. Borderland Advantage LLC, who purchased the building for $24,000 last year and have done nothing to stabilize its deteriorating condition, won't budge on their $50,000 asking price. Through their lawyer, they attempted to blame their failed development plan on its Local Landmark status, which is a protection that does not have to affect its rehab costs or sale price.
  • May 2019 - Preservation Buffalo Niagara and the African Heritage Food Co-op have teamed up to save the building.
  • August 2019 - A new roof structure is being constructed on the building

Other Pertinent Facts

  • Operated as a corner store for over 100 years.
  • 1960 - Only historical photographs on record come from owner Waddy Thompson as part of his deli permit application.


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Added 2018-01-12 • Last changed 2019-08-06