The Larkin Company was one of the largest employers in Buffalo during its successful years, 1910 - 1926. Its enormous
mail order business, originally devoted to soap, had expanded into household goods of all types through the vision of founder
John D. Larkin. In 1919, 2,225 were employed at the Buffalo complex, 64% of them young, single women. In South Buffalo,
the saying went that young women went to work at either the H-O cereal company or, preferably, the Larkin Company.
In 1912, John D. Larkin commenced construction of one of the last buildings in the complex, the Terminal Warehouse.
The 10-floor, 600,000 square foot structure was designed by the Boston firm of Lockwood and Greene Co. Ninety percent of
the exterior was comprised of windows, and the ground floor had four train tracks along its entire length to permit efficient,
sheltered loading of mail-order goods.
After a number of years in decline, the Larkin Company began to sell its real estate in the 1940's to avoid bankruptcy. The last
building to be sold was the Terminal Warehouse, in 1967, to its largest tenant, Graphic Controls. That company occupied the
building until 1999.
In June 2002, City View Properties purchased the building for a little over 1 million dollars. The company replaced all the
windows with new aluminum-framed windows and had to pour new concrete floors throughout. In all, around $40 million
dollars was invested in the rehabilitation of the building.
In 2006, the building is occupied nearly at capacity and has proven to be a successful reclamation of existing city buildings.
For more information on the Larkin at Exchange building, see the Larkin Development Group site here.
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