Caulkins Building


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Photo credit: John Conlin / WNY Heritage Press, and David Torke, fixBuffalo


85 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY 14203‎
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Ellicott Council District
SBL: 111.46-5-1
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Adjacent to: Denzinger-Sigwalt Building, Genesee Gateway
Across from: Chippewa Market


GENESEE GATEWAY, LLC per City of Buffalo Property Information
Search NYS Corporation Database for GENESEE GATEWAY

Physical Description

Four story brick commercial building with 3 storefronts and a fourth floor “photo light” skylight

Current Condition

Demolished. Surface parking lot.


  • 1886 - Designed by Buffalo architect Franklin Wellington Caulkins as a mixed-use commercial and residential building for Louis Bergtold for a cost of $5,000.
  • The earliest known tenants of the building were the Queen City Hat Manufacturing Company and Frederick Joseph Dorn’s jewelry shop
  • 1886-1950s - Dorn's Jewelry Shop operates from this location
  • The building also served as a well-known photography building
  • 1894-1932 - Primary studio of photographer Joseph Altenberg
  • 1914 - The original cast iron pilasters and street level structural system was retained, but new copper clad storefronts were inserted into the three bays with modifications to allow for more light.
  • 1929 - The building housed Edward Haller’s cigars & tobacco shop, Joseph Heim’s dental laboratory, optometrist Louis Newman, and Marie Fronheider’s gloves and hosiery shop
  • 1937 - Home to Haller’s tobacco shop, Marie Matthies women’s furnishings, and Louis Ulrich’s hemstitching business.
  • 1940 - Walter Kirkpatrick opened his barber shop
  • 1946 - Christine Fuller ran a cigar shop
  • 1970s-1990s - Largely vacant and unmaintained
History courtesy architectural historian Jennifer Walkowski, and Buffalo Rising

Recent Events and Actions Taken

  • 2000 - The roof collapsed
  • 2001 - Slated for demolition
  • Oct 2002 - Triangle Development purchases and attempts stabilize the building by removing interior portions for bracing
  • Nov 2002 - Wind storm causes further collapse of now modified building, along with damaging adjacent Denzinger-Sigwalt Building
  • 2008 - Purchased by Genesee Gateway LLC
  • 2010 - Attempts to stabilize the shells of 85 and 91 Genesee failed and the buildings were demolished

Other Pertinent Facts


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Added 2013-09-06 • Last changed 2014-07-08