418 Lafayette Street

Prologue

For nearly three years, dark clouds have hung over Citation Services at 418 Lafayette Street. Today this Downtown Utica storefront boasts three digital screens offering messages to passerbyers; most notably thousands of Utica AUD patrons. Screens warn of pending doom facing this historic address, as urban renewal bulldozers and hospital wrecking balls threatened a former forge - one of Utica's original furnace manufacturing operation.

While a single address, Citation Services property consists of Five Different Parcels, sitting on a 0.5 acre, and Situated Between Lafayette Street & Carton Avenue.

Below you'll read how present day Citation Services has preserved the former Carton Forge, and how a very bright future is not hard to imagine. Owner Joe Cerini does not wish to be displaced and shares his Letter to NYS Comptroller.

Will Utica bulldoze more memories and historical past for an increased number of non-taxed acres? Or will 418 Lafayette Street, and the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood, be allowed to further redevelop and enhances all the changes surrounding downtown's epicenter, the Busy Corner?


From Settlement to Bustling City (1750 to 1811)

Erie Canal History - Forever cemented in history as a worldwide engineering achievement and famous for establishing New York City, as well as the reason our new county was able to expand westward. Emigrants came and built businesses and buildings, and laid the foundation of so much.

Fledgling settlement map of 1806 depicts Utica as a...

XXXX - ....

1876 - Red Star indicates Carton Furnace Company's location in the City of Utica in year of 1876 and proposed hospital district outlined in red.

Carton Furnace Company/Proposed Hospital Locations on a 1876 Map

Downtown Utica Became Manufacturing! (1812 to 1955)

One can easily link these facts with the current-day Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood. Original buildings, streets and alleys are ready to take their place next to the reawakening Downtown Utica. Take furnaces and boilers for example, as a inventor "John Carton" and his products "Furnaces" became part of Utica's manufacturing might.

XXXX - Utica boasted 3,XXX manufacturers, in the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood one could find producers of; ....

1847 - Mr John Carton invents and begins producing "hot air furnaces" in the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood with help of his sons Edward and William...


1854 - Patent No. 11,411 for a "Carton & Briggs Hot-Air Furnace", inventors listed are one John Carton and Joseph Briggs...


Carton Furnace Company Patent

1884 - In this year The Carton Furance Company and Russell Wheeler & Son were producing furnaces and boilers, powered by coal that arrived from Pennsylvania via the Chenango Canal...

Carton & Wheeler Furnace Companies On Banks Of Erie Canal

For greater map details, this link offers a Full Resolution Map

The Carton Furnace Company's buildings are the manufacturing site of some of Utica's first "boilers". This catalog illustrates the wide variety of cast iron products produced by the Carton Furnace Company...

Carton Furnace Company">Carton Boiler Catalog

Below is a page from the Carton Boiler Catalog shown above, offering a Carton C-Series Steam Heater

Carton C-Series Steam Heater

View a December 1885 Advertisement For Carton Furnace, in Building Age, "Carpentry & Building"

Lafayette Street, at the time Fayette Street, was the main entrance for people seeking out the business. However, the most action took place on Rome Road and the Erie Canal behind the Carton Furnace Company as the following pictures illustrate.

Erie Canal Looking West

1898 - The International Heater Company was organized on June 10, 1898. This new firm was engaged in the manufacturing, marketing and sales of heating equipment for homes. The principal place of business was in Utica, where they purchased property and remodeled a hotel at 418 Lafayette Street for a new showroom. Products offered were from five different companies that became one:

Russel Wheeler & Son, established in 1842

The Carton Furnace Company, established in 1847

J. F. Pease Furnace Company, established in 1870

Howard Furnace Company, established in 1888, and

Kernan Furnace Company, established in 1890

All from Upstate New York, these firms were engaged in the manufacture and sale of furnaces, boilers, and other heating equipment for homes. They agreed to merge their respective businesses and to convey their properties into the International Furnace Corporation. An additional warehouse was constructed behind the showroom for shipping of their products nationwide by way of the Erie Canal.

1897 - Another "operational schematic" of a Carton Hot-Air and Combination "C" furnace. Clearly showing, "Patented August 17, 1896" on the cast iron face...

Carton 1897 Hot-Air Combination Furnace

Passage from CFC's 1897 catalog and price list...

Carton Passage from 1897 Catalog & Price List

1907 - Another illustration (looking east) shows the location of the Carton Furnace Company near the banks of the Erie Canal...

Carton Furnace Co. On Banks of Erie Canal

Where did the Carton Furnace Company (now part of International Heater Company), fit into heating history? Read Fires, Furnaces & Forges: A Heating History to understand how the industry emerged.

Manufacturing's & Downtown's Decline (1956 to XXXX)

1949 - "Take Utica for Instance (PDF, 7.95MB)" was the title of a Fortune magazine article in December 1949. The International Heater Company is mentioned...

Fortune Magazine, December 1949

This story tells of Utica's manufacturing heyday and great resilience it showed in 1949. Download and read the Fortune Magazine, December 1949; Take Utica For Instance (PDF, 7.95MB). This period was very good for Utica, but trouble loomed ahead.

Utica's "canal economy" was surpassed by the railroad, then motor vehicles, as manufacturing began a long period of decline. In 1949 things we good, but industry was looking to the South.

XXXX - ....

Ripped-down & also Built-up (1956 to 1976)

As manufacturing departed and people fled to the surrounding suburbs, the dense buildings of downtown were vacated, many fell into disrepair. Neglect in some cases destroyed the roof and over time buildings were lost. However, others stood strong, but fell to wrecking balls as part of new concepts. Other investors saw large, brick structures, in the heart of downtown a great place to setup shop. Still other buildings in various conditions offer hope for reuse and redevelopment.

1976 - In his book, "Utica: A City Worth Saving", Frank E. Przbycien, P.E. writes the many reasons why historical buildings and neighborhoods should be protected and restored. On page 294, the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood is shown in "Utica's Preservation District"...

Utica's Preservation District

Also included in the "Utica's Preservation District" was Genesee Street (from Bagg's Square, south to the New Hartford village line), and the "Rutger-Steuban Park" areas.

XXXX - AUD

XXXX - Police & Courts in Gateway era

Not "Crushing Blight" nor "Functionally Obsolete" (1977 to 2017)

Vacant buildings and some empty lots where buildings once stood, but certainly not "Crushing Blight" or "Functionally Obsolete" as described in the MV500 funding application of 2016. Utica's dense downtown buildings gave way to rag-tag, gap-toothed, streets. Yet many neglected buildings found new owners and a significant amount of commerce continued. Yes, some buildings were lost, but strong brick structures attracted investors that kept the heart of downtown, the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood a great place to do business.

1977 - ....

A Perfect, Historic, Mixed-use Future (2018 & 2013)

Citation Services - Today, a small business in the Columbia Lafayette Neighborhood occupies the former Carton Furnace Company’s facilities. This company is Citation Services; a service based firm providing office equipment repair, sales and services. When owner Joe Cerini purchased the building it had a failing roof and deteriorating brick walls. The buildings are now stable and stand as a testament of so many small businesses that have invested in building for the unique opportunities they offer; low cost, plentiful space, room to grow, and a huge opportunity for future returns- not to mention a chance to take your place in the history of Downtown Utica and its Erie Canal heritage.

Patents and old catalogs of the Carton Furnace Company are easily discovered on the Internet. Today the facilities where the products were produced and distributed are solid - historical brick structures surrounded by an original canal-era cobblestone road, Carton Avenue.

One can quickly walk the neighborhood and arrive at many millions of dollars of downtown investment and improvements made within the last ten years. Joe’s efforts have preserved a significant piece of Utica and Erie Canal history and are indeed history worth saving.


We're not opposed to a new hospital... just don't bulldoze Downtown Utica's Historic Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood! "Build It At St. Luke's!"



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