William Hengerer Company / Lafayette Court -Table of Contents

History - William Hengerer Company / Lafayette Court Building
465 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203

Main source of photos:  PRS Preservation-Ready  (online August 2016)

Mrs. Sarah Lovejoy was the only civilian killed in the December 1813 raid on Buffalo. The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society has marked the site of her residence, which was at 465 Main Street in the city of Buffalo.
-  Gilbert Collins, Guidebook to the Historic Sites of the War of 1812, Pub. by The Dunburn Group, Toronto, 2006
See also: Patrick Kavanagh, Sarah Lovejoy
Site history:
1816-1865 - Phoenix Hotel location
1865-1903 - Tifft House location
1903-1981 - Hengerer's Department Store
1981 - Hengerer's merged with Sibley's of Rochester and lost its name Sibley's was then bought out by Kaufman's, which closed its downtown stores.
Mid 1980s - The renamed Lafayette Court building was converted into office space.

Phoenix Hotel

Tifft House  ...  Building at right is the Buffalo German Insurance Co. Building (see below:)

Left: Tifft House: Future Hengerer's. 
Buffalo German Insurance Co. Building   ...   Architect: Richard A. Waite
Photo source: The Buffalo photo collection of Dale and Janice Rossi

Source: Men of Buffalo, Chicago: A. N. Marquis & Co, 1902

1903 building.
Source: "A History of the City of Buffalo and Niagara Falls," Moon, James C., ed.. Buffalo: The Times, p. 189.
Emporis: Year built: 1903-04  ... "As originally constructed, this building had six stories with a main roof height (excluding penthouse) of 105'."


1950s photo.

1938 modernization included a new facade  ...  Photo year?

1938 modernization included a new facade  ...  Photo year?
  (Source: Showcase.com online August 2016)

William Hengerer Company - 260 Main Street

An excerpt from
Nine Nine Eight: The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping
By Michael F. Rizzo.
Pub. by Lulu Inc, 2007, p. 119

One of Buffalo's oldest retail establishments started way back in 1836 when Richard J. Sherman opened a dry goods store at 155 Main at Swan Street in Buffalo. By 1869 he partnered with J. C. Barnes to form Sherman & Barnes & Co.

William Hengerer came to the United States from Germany when he was 10 years old, and when he was 22 he moved to Buffalo from Pittsburgh, joining Sherman & Barnes as a clerk.

He enlisted in the Army and served two years during the Civil War, afterwards returning to his clerk position.

The firm later split. Barnes formed J. C. Barnes & Co. (Illustration) in early1867, followed by Barnes & Bancroft (James K.) in 1869 at 259 Main Street. Hengerer was admitted as a partner in 1873, the firm becoming Barnes, Bancroft & Co.

Barnes and Bancroft Store (Built 1867)
Caption: Store of Barnes and Bancroft Store, 260-266 Main Street, as it was in 1871; rebuilt with iron front, 1875
Source: "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Frank H. Severance, ed. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 84

Barnes and Bancroft Store (Built 1875)
Caption: Hamlin Block, Store of Barnes, Bancroft & Co., 1875. Much enlarged in 1882; burned Feb. 1, 1888; site now occupied by Sweeney & Co.'s store

Source: "The Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo," Frank H. Severance, ed. Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 16, 1912, p. 85 (online)

The Birth of Department Stores

An excerpt from
Second Looks: A Pictorial History of Buffalo and Erie County, by Scott Eberle and Joseph A. Grande. Donning Co., 1993, p. 142

Although the American economy of the later nineteenth century yo-yoed between boom and bust, each plateau of prosperity tended to be higher than the last. Buffalo's economic miracle was part of this jerky upward growth in the American economy. One consequence of greater wealth was a larger and more leisured middle class. More people had more money to spend, and they had more time to spend it in. Middle-class women were especially affected.

The department store, which capitalized these trends, was an invention of the post-Civil War decade. Stores such as Macy's in New York, Marshall Field's in Chicago, and Wanamaker's in Philadelphia became the showcases of new technology and fashion.

In 1876 Buffalo's Adam and Meldrum formed their durable partnership. (The firm became Adam Meldrum and Anderson in 1892). Other Buffalo department stores, Flint and Kent, Hengerer, and the Sweeney Company were particularly successful in the 1880s and 1890s. These new retail ventures offered women an impressive array of goods and services. They offered cooking classes, restaurants, and beauty parlors. The department stores introduced and demonstrated labor-saving devices: washing and sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, and iceboxes.

If the department stores became a kind of social center for middle-class women, they also helped women move out into the wider world in another way. In these stores it was largely women who marketed goods to women. For the working-class woman the department store was a pleasant alternative to the factory. For the middle-class woman it permitted a time away from home between girlhood and motherhood. Although we are likely to notice that women were usually the clerks and never the managers, department-store work was sometimes cheered by nineteenth-century feminists who saw employment there as a stroke for women's equality and self-sufficiency.

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2016
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