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 & the Erie Canal:

19th Century

1825

On October 26, the Erie Canal officially opens turning Lockport into a boomtown.

1851

First recorded use of building at 12 West Main Street in the Sanborn Map of 1851 – William Chase opened a tailor shop.

1854

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.

1861-1862

J.M. Lindsley Boots & Shoes opens in 12 West Main Street.

1862

First enlargement of the Erie Canal is completed to 70-foot width and 7-foot depth.

1868-1869

McMaster Merchant Tailors – Men’s & Boys Clothing now occupies 12 West Main Street.

1874

Hoffmaster & Beccue Grocers opens at 12 West Main Street.

1875-1890

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.

1880-1881

Perry G. Wadhams also served as a Section Superintendent for the Erie Canal.

1888

Mrs. Mary Archer, dressmaker, lived on the second floor with daughter Martha, also a dressmaker.

1891-1893

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.

1893-1930

West Main Street was changed to West Avenue.

1893

Philip Heary moved to 110 Webb Street. The upstairs was vacant.

1894

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.

1895

Second enlargement of the canal is approved, deepening it to 9 feet.

1896

16 West Main Street is built and soon after houses Cavagnaro’s Confectioners. The Cavagnaro family lives upstairs.

1897-1930

Philip Heary moved back on the second floor and took over the saloon once again.

history-19th-century

 

20th Century

1903

New York State Legislature approves third enlargement of the Erie Canal, which resulted in the new name of Erie Barge Canal.

1903

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.

1910

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.

1910

Also in 1910, a fifth floor was added to 12 West Avenue to raise it to the height of the Upson Building.

1918

Third and final enlargement of the canal is complete.

1920

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.

1930

From the Big Bridge to Transit Road (Rt. 78) the name changed back to West Main Street.

1934

Philip Heary dies.

1934-1938

Philip Heary’s widow, Margaret, ran saloon and grocery.

1938-1941

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.

1939

M. Edmond Heary becomes Superintendent of the Niagara County Court House. He and M. Francis Heary still live above the store. Margaret Heary dies.

1942-1954

John Barone Shoe Service at 12 West Main Street.

1947-1951

M. Edmond is now the Deputy Niagara County Sheriff. He and Henry Heary live above the shoe store.

1952-1953

M. Edmond is now the Building Superintendent for Niagara County. He and M. Frances live above the shoe store and own the building.

1955-1961

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.

1957-1959

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.

1960

12 West Main Street is valued at $6,440.

1961

M. Edmond Heary is now the Court Officer at the Niagara County Offices.

1962-1968

Building at 12 West Main Street is vacant.

1965

Anna Kohl buys 12 West Main Street in October.

1969-1973

Walter A. Kohl establishes Kohl’s Motorcycle Sales and Service at 12 West Main Street.

1974

Walter Kohl moved his motorcycle shop to Richmond Avenue.

1974-1986

Walter Kohl used 12 West Main Street for storage of antique motorcycles and parts.

1987

West Lane, Inc. bought 12 West Main Street on November 30 and began remodeling.

1988-1989

Frame & Save framing company opens at 12 West Main Street.

1990-1997

The Gallery Twelve, an art gallery, opens at 12 West Main Street.

1998

Attorney Henry Schmidt buys 12 West Main Street on October 1.

1999

West Lane Gallery, an art gallery, opens at 12 West Main Street.

21st Century

2000 -2002

The Art Loft, an art gallery and framing shop, opens at 12 West Main Street .

2003

Carmel Cerullo-Beiter and Jack Martin buy 12 West Main Street on January 17 and begin remodeling.

2003

J. Fitzgerald Group moves its offices into the building on June 1.

2005

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.
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