Monday, March 8, 2010

The Buffalo Corn Exchange

By Jason Wilson

Located at 100 South Elmwood on the corner of West Mohawk in downtown Buffalo is a four-story commercial building known as the Corn Exchange. Originally built in 1916 as a manufacturing plant, the 36,000 square foot building was most notably home to the Corn Exchange of Buffalo for almost 30 years. Between the late 1930s through the early 1960s, the building was the center for all things grain-related in Buffalo. The Exchange housed a grain commodities trading floor, and also served as an inspection site for samples of corn, wheat and other grains headed to the area's milling operations.

Established in April of 1906, the creation of the Corn Exchange of Buffalo was an effort led by local grain merchants to compete with other large grain centers and to boost the overall commercial interest in the city. Prior to 1906, the functions of the Corn Exchange were the responsibility of the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

Buffalo’s exceptional geographical location on the Great Lakes helped positioned the city as the number one grain center in the region; and the Corn Exchange aided in this great goal.

The story of the Corn Exchange is akin to that of the grain industry in Buffalo. As alternative transportation corridors evolved and eventually circumvented trade around Buffalo, the need for an exclusive grain organization diminished. In the 1960’s the Corn Exchange of Buffalo would move it’s headquarters out of 100 South Elmwood.

After being used as a multi-tenant office building for many years, the Corn Exchange has recently sat vacant for the last several years. As of March 2010 a new owner, 100 South Elmwood LLC has purchased the historic building for $500,000 with no public plans for the structure.

(Sanborn Map V.1 1925 (corrected 1961))

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