Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Main Street Stories: The Reimer Building

The building at 418 S. Main is the oldest structure standing on the east side of Main in the block between Fourth Street and University Drive, and has some ties to one of Rochester's best-remembered local businesses. It was built in the summer of 1885 by Joseph Reimer, who was associated in the hardware business with his son, Cyrus Reimer. According to accounts in the Rochester Era, Joseph Reimer moved into his new store in November of 1885, but sold out to his son, Cyrus, and a partner, Alvin S. Bliss, in June of the following year. Cyrus Reimer was a traveling hardware salesman for the Detroit firm of Buhl & Sons, and because he spent so much time on the road he left the management of the store to partner Bliss. In 1888, Bliss sold his part of the business to Harvey J. Taylor, who eventually bought out Reimer and moved the hardware store to a new building on the west side of Main in 1890. Taylor subsequently sold out to Charles Case, and the company, by then located at 335 S. Main, became known as Case's Hardware.

Meanwhile, the building at 418 S. Main hosted many businesses, including the Drace & Bartholomew meat market. In 1903, it became one of the early locations of George Burr's hardware and implement business. Burr remained there until 1914 when he built a large new store on the west side of Main (the location today of Green's Art Supply). In 1923, the Buchanan & Kemler pool room occupied 418 S. Main. By 1925, it was home of the McKinney Lunch & Billiards establishment. In 1929, Bruno Perna was operating a fruit and produce market there, and in the 1940s Young's Grocery was located in the building. McCotter's Lunch and Grocery and Gerda's Restaurant were there in the 1950s, and Stapp's Shoes was the tenant in the 1960s. During the 1970s and early 1980s, 418 was the home of Trackside Hobbies, and in 1998, The Gilded Rabbit was there. The Sumo Sushi & Seafood restaurant is currently located at 418 S. Main.

The Reimer building celebrates its 124th birthday this summer.

Photo: This view of the Reimer building was taken sometime after George Burr bought it for his implement business in 1903. Over the years, the building has had a least three different brick veneers on the Main Street elevation and the second-floor windows have been completely re-worked at least twice.

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