Pictured is the former Brennan Motor complex, a total of four buildings with the earliest structure being built during the beginning of the Erie Canal-era. Located at the corner of Water and Townsend Street, the historic buildings are an example of Syracuse’s rich manufacturing history.
In 2007, Dennis Connors prepared a report for the Syracuse Landmarks Preservation Board that tells us that the block was originally known as the “Circus Lot,” an open field that was used by traveling performers.
In 1865, the Empire Windmill Manufacturing Company commissioned the initial building in order to move operations from Marcellus, New York, to the city of Syracuse. Further research by Connors states that Empire Windmill was originally established to produce a windmill patented by Emroy Wilson Mills of Amber, New York. Mills would grow into a renowned manufacturer being credited with several other inventions. Industrialist, Henry Ford once referred to Mills as, “a genius fifty years ahead of his time.”
Many other individuals and companies would come to call the buildings home as the complex expanded in the 1880s, including Huntington B. Crouse and Jesse L. Hinds, whom in 1897 moved in and formed the Crouse-Hinds Electric Company.
Starting in about 1904, the site housed the Brennan Motor Company. Brennan built motors and engines for canal boats and automobiles before closing in 1972.
Often the topic of renovation, the buildings have suffered decades of neglect, resulting in severe deterioration. Structurally compromised and unfit for renovation or reoccupation, the city announced that they will begin demolishing the property today, Monday, January 16th.
Pictures below were provided by Jordan Harmon.