In January 2003, just a year after founding JFG, equal partners Carmel Cerullo-Beiter and Jack Martin purchased and settled the company into its 165-year-old limestone and brick headquarters in Lockport, NY. Built in the 1800s not long after the Erie Canal was carved across New York State, the building stands just west of Locks 34 & 35.
Then, in 2005, Beiter and Martin purchased the adjacent buildings and connected them into one main complex. The buildings, among the last original ones in Lockport, remain a cornerstone of the neighborhood and of the agency’s persona.
When you look at all the businesses that were located here over the years, it makes you think of all the hopes and dreams that have lived within these walls. It also makes you humble to realize how lucky we are to now have the opportunity to add to the long, storied history of hard work and dreams. So enjoy this brief history of our buildings, along with some interesting facts about Lockport and the Erie Canal:
On October 26, the Erie Canal officially opens turning Lockport into a boomtown.
First recorded use of building at 12 West Main Street in the Sanborn Map of 1851 – William Chase opened a tailor shop.
After a major fire in the city of Lockport, a new law was enacted stating that all new buildings must have a brick front and stone sides. The building at 12 West Main Street was already constructed as such and therefore survived the blaze.
J.M. Lindsley Boots & Shoes opens in 12 West Main Street.
First enlargement of the Erie Canal is completed to 70-foot width and 7-foot depth.
McMaster Merchant Tailors – Men’s & Boys Clothing now occupies 12 West Main Street.
Hoffmaster & Beccue Grocers opens at 12 West Main Street.
Perry G. Wadhams Groceries takes over at 12 West Main Street. He also lived above the store until 1887, and then moved to 26 Chapel Street in 1888.
Perry G. Wadhams also served as a Section Superintendent for the Erie Canal.
Mrs. Mary Archer, dressmaker, lived on the second floor with daughter Martha, also a dressmaker.
Philip Heary Groceries & Saloon opens at 12 West Main Street. He now lived on the second floor. The saloon entrance is on the West side of the building in the rear, presumably to serve those traveling along the Tow Path, which was just outside the saloon’s doors.
West Main Street was changed to West Avenue.
Philip Heary moved to 110 Webb Street. The upstairs was vacant.
Burr Addison ran the saloon at 12 West Main Street. Burr and John Addison lived upstairs. Bernard O’Hearn was a barber on the second floor.
Second enlargement of the canal is approved, deepening it to 9 feet.
16 West Main Street is built and soon after houses Cavagnaro’s Confectioners. The Cavagnaro family lives upstairs.
Philip Heary moved back on the second floor and took over the saloon once again.
New York State Legislature approves third enlargement of the Erie Canal, which resulted in the new name of Erie Barge Canal.
The building at 14 West Main Street is constructed and houses a barbershop. The saloon and grocery store at 12 West Main Street is now only accessible via the front door.
Upson Building (currently owned by Attorney Henry Schmidt) was moved 40 feet West to butt against 12 West Avenue. This was necessary because of the widening of the canal and the new Big Bridge, which becomes the widest bridge in the world. Four-story back porch was added to the building, adding an additional eight feet to the building – although the land is still owned by the New York State Canal Authority. Other buildings along West Avenue soon followed suit.
Also in 1910, a fifth floor was added to 12 West Avenue to raise it to the height of the Upson Building.
Third and final enlargement of the canal is complete.
The saloon at 12 West Main Street is closed during prohibition, which lasts from midnight January 16, 1920 until 12:01 a.m. on April 7, 1933. The grocery store continues in operation during that time.
From the Big Bridge to Transit Road (Rt. 78) the name changed back to West Main Street.
Philip Heary dies.
Philip Heary’s widow, Margaret, ran saloon and grocery.
George C. Walling took over the grocery store at 12 West Main Street. It was no longer a saloon. Margaret, M. Frances, M. Edmond (Deputy Sheriff) Heary all lived upstairs. The Heary’s still owned the building.
M. Edmond Heary becomes Superintendent of the Niagara County Court House. He and M. Francis Heary still live above the store. Margaret Heary dies.
John Barone Shoe Service at 12 West Main Street.
M. Edmond is now the Deputy Niagara County Sheriff. He and Henry Heary live above the shoe store.
M. Edmond is now the Building Superintendent for Niagara County. He and M. Frances live above the shoe store and own the building.
Justin J. Burns Realty operates from 12 West Main Street. M. Edmond Heary, now Building Superintendent for the Niagara County Court House, still owns the building and lives upstairs.
M. Edmond Heary is now a maintenance man at the Niagara County Court House and Deputy Niagara County Sheriff. He still owns and lives at 12 West Main Street.
12 West Main Street is valued at $6,440.
M. Edmond Heary is now the Court Officer at the Niagara County Offices.
Building at 12 West Main Street is vacant.
Anna Kohl buys 12 West Main Street in October.
Walter A. Kohl establishes Kohl’s Motorcycle Sales and Service at 12 West Main Street.
Walter Kohl moved his motorcycle shop to Richmond Avenue.
Walter Kohl used 12 West Main Street for storage of antique motorcycles and parts.
West Lane, Inc. bought 12 West Main Street on November 30 and began remodeling.
Frame & Save framing company opens at 12 West Main Street.
The Gallery Twelve, an art gallery, opens at 12 West Main Street.
Attorney Henry Schmidt buys 12 West Main Street on October 1.
West Lane Gallery, an art gallery, opens at 12 West Main Street.
The Art Loft, an art gallery and framing shop, opens at 12 West Main Street .
Carmel Cerullo-Beiter and Jack Martin buy 12 West Main Street on January 17 and begin remodeling.
J. Fitzgerald Group moves its offices into the building on June 1.
Carmel Cerullo-Beiter and Jack Martin purchase 14 and 16 West Main Street from Henry Schmidt and begins remodeling. Later that year, the three buildings are connected via the second floor of the main building at 12 West Main. The renovation more than doubles JFG’s office space.