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E&B Holmes Machinery / The Cooperage

  At Risk      High Risk

Photos: Buffalo Rising, Mike Puma


55 Chicago Street Buffalo, NY 14204


  • Newark Niagara LLC, headed by local preservation architect Clinton Brown.
    April 2017 - Ellicott Development has plans to purchase the property

Physical Description

  • It is a roughly rectangular brick building composed of three primary sections of four-, three-, and two-stories, which encircle a central courtyard. The three sections are the Mill Building (ca. 1870), Forge Building (ca. 1910-1912), and Pattern Building (1913). (Wikipedia)

Current Condition

  • Secure, but vacant/abandoned and deteriorating. 'The oldest portion of the building, known as the Mill Building suffered a partial collapse to the eastern wall, along with portions of the northwestern corner and the fourth floor.' Buffalo Rising


  • E&B Holmes Machinery Co. was supposedly Buffalo's oldest business which operated with the same location and name. The company was started by Edward and Britain Holmes, in 1852. They specialized in the design of machines that made wooden barrels. Forgotten Buffalo
  • The Holmes brothers, Edward and Britain, were among the thousands who came to Buffalo following the growth of the Erie Canal as a highway for commercial and economic growth in the nineteenth century. E&B Holmes was once the country’s leading barrel-making company and later became one of the country’s leading woodworking machine manufacturers, with numerous patents to its credit. The company was located at the site from the 1850's until 2001, when it downsized to a machine shop and moved from this location. (River Lofts Buffalo).
  • From Richard Rockford: "They didn't really move or downsize after 2001. The owners, Dave and Andy Krafchak, went to work at Jentsch machine shop around the corner, bringing with them clients from E+B. By this time there was really no E+B, just a two or three man machine shop. Actually, up until almost that time, orders came in to replace parts that the Krafchaks had original drawings for. YES, this means that until the 90s, E+B would occasionally be asked by a distillery to replace an 80 to a 120 year old part! American stuff made after 1880 was just crap and would only last a century or so."

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2005 - Purchased by Newark Niagara LLC, headed by preservation architect Clinton Brown, for $30,000. Buffalo Rising
  • 2008 - Currently known as The Cooperage. “We’ve taken out hundreds of tons of junk and debris” said Clint Brown "that had accumulated since E&B Holmes moved out in 2001." Buffalo Rising
  • October 2008 - The Preservation League, a non-profit based in Albany, provided a $200,000 short-term loan under its Endangered Properties Intervention Program.
  • 2009 - Preservation League of New York State helped with the additional shoring and stabilization of the building.
  • February 2009 - Metro Contracting & Environmental Inc. filed a $149,000 mechanics lien and in May of that year filed a Lis Pendens. Buffalo Rising
  • April 2011 + February 2015 - Payment motions filed on the 2009 lien according to County Clerk records. Buffalo Rising
  • January 2013 - Safespan Scaffolding LLC filed a $563,000 mechanics lien that appears to be unresolved. Buffalo Rising
  • January 30, 2013 - Public meeting on the the reconstruction of Ohio Street sponsored by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
  • July 16, 2013 - Community Meeting at the Old 1st Ward Community Center to discuss new plans for The River Lofts at the Cooperage on Chicago Street.
  • April 12, 2017 - Business First's news feed reports that Ellicott Development will buy the Cooperage site in First Ward. 'Paladino wants to restore as much of the dilapidated factory as possible. Ellicott's plans call for market-rate apartments and, potentially, a restaurant anchoring the building.' Business First

Other Pertinent Facts

  • It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.


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Added 2013-01-10 • Last changed 2017-04-12