Old First Ward artist Chris Kameck yesterday completed a nearly life-sized mural of an Erie Railroad steam locomotive on a 110-year old landmark at Hamburg, Republic, and Vandalia Streets. Known to locals as The Barrel Factory, the 45000 SF, multi-level brick structure housed the Quaker City Cooperage Company for many decades.
The historic structure is undergoing redevelopment. The building will include a new distillery. The building’s owner, Lazarus Properties, also is in talks with several breweries interested in expanding their operations and local presence. Discussions are also underway with additional artisan/craftsman-type potential tenants including a coffee roaster, cheese maker, special event caterer, and a perfumery. Lazarus closed on the property on July 11th, and has cleaned up the grounds and parking areas which were overgrown after years of little upkeep.
In 1903, the City of Buffalo granted private railroad rights along Tecumseh St., now Republic St., to Quaker City Cooperage. Erie Railroad connected to the company tracks. Kameck’s wheat paste mural is on the Hamburg St.-Republic St. corner of the building. The iconic tavern, Gene McCarthy’s, is located across Hamburg Street. The new Mutual Riverfront Park (and boat launch) is just 100 yards from the building on the Buffalo River. The building is also a stone’s throw from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (1897).
Assisting in the research for the locomotive mural were Buffalo history researcher Dana Saylor and Ron Dukarm of the WNY Railway Association.
Additional, temporary murals are planned for the building in the coming months, according to Tara Sasiadek, art director for The Barrel Factory.
Steve Bystran, managing member of Lazarus Properties, is very excited to be involved in the revitalization of Buffalo’s Old First Ward. “It’s really refreshing to be part of this re-birth,” he said.
More information on The Barrel Factory is available on the building’s web site www.BarrelFactory.com and its Facebook page www.Facebook.com/BarrelFactory.