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June 7: An Old Building and New Cars

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

wurlitzer-plaque-donation-loresForrest Gump was right: Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. When I began this trip I never expected to be on the front page of a town’s newspaper. As I noted yesterday, I feel fortunate it was a slow news day! I did note there were a few quotes attributed to me worded in a way that I’d never do, but that’s the good/bad of being interviewed.

On Friday morning Ann and I were scheduled to visit the Wurlitzer Building in North Tonawanda and enjoy a brief tour by the President of the company that owns and operates it. While many square feet have been turned into office space that’s leased to companies, thousands of square feet remain empty, awaiting a reason to transform it back into something leasable. At building is huge (I can’t remember the exact size), but at one point it employed over 3000 people. You can read a fuller history of the Wurlitzer Company in North Tonawanda from 1892 to 1942 here.
Below are a few photos:

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This is only part 1/5 (?) of the Wurlitzer building in North Tonawanda, NY. It’s the entrance.

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Here is organ restoration specialist Jeff Weiler and I in front of the entrance. Ann and I plan to meet up with Jeff and see his restoration shop in Chicago during our trip back home.

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This is President of The Wurlitzer Building Tom Austen, who showed us around a portion of the building.

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This is one wing of the 3rd floor that is empty (except for some file storage).

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This third story wing was where some of the theatre organs were built.

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Another empty wing of the third floor. This is only a part of the factory. Can I say ‘huge’ too many times?

A reader named John suggested that many some people might not have heard the different types of organs Wurlitzer made. So, here are a couple links to videos of a carousel band organ and a theatre organ.

Following our tour of the building (and after lunch) we met up with a new reader named TJ. He operates TJ Hirsch Enterprises, a company that specializes in auto storage. A long time car enthusiast, TJ started the company by storing just a few cars in a small warehouse space. Over the last few years he has successfully expanded beyond storage to detailing, appraisals, garage construction and more. As you can see from the cars TJ houses, there are many customers who have a great deal of confidence in his ability to care for premium vehicles. Here are a few of the cars he stores at his place in Getzville, NY:

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One thing TJ didn’t know a lot about was vintage jeeps. After doing research for a customer, he found eWillys and asked me to drop by and take a closer look at the jeep he had for sale. It’s one of those pleasant surprises where the quality of the build matches the pictures which were posted. It’s a slightly modified 2A that looks well built. For the right person it should make a good jeep.

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Thanks to TJ for showing us around and explaining what he does. It’s not a bad day when you get to hang around with these beautiful cars (and a jeep).

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Saturday will be part of a house tour in North Tonawanda. There likely won’t be much to report from that. On Sunday we’d been scheduled to see a concert, but that felt through. My wife wants to  go to Canada for the day to locate some Canadian Maple Syrup and get some pictures of Niagara from that side of North America. It’s best that she get to do something she wants to do. I hope they let us back in.

 

5 Comments on “June 7: An Old Building and New Cars

  1. Craig B.

    Wow, front page in color too! We’re all proud! That area of the country has been hit hard by progress. We have a couple of Tonawandaians that are transplants at our plant from a closed transmission facility up there. It’s nice to see that there are keeping up the old Wurlitzer building and finding new clients. Really like the car storage facility too. All those high dollar cars there and what’s sitting on the turntable??? Willys Jeeps always “Stand Tall”

  2. mom

    I hope readers will open the links you have to the organs. They were pretty neat and have a feeling most have not seen the carousel organ in action. Pretty amazing. It also coincides with the paper roles you had on your web site yesterday (?). The mighty Wurlitzer was also pretty cool though you certainly cant get the full experience of the huge sound they provide thru the video.

  3. SE Pennsylvania Steve

    Your mom’s right, Dave. A friend of mine owns a fully restored Wurlitzer band organ almost exactly like the one in the second video, and that thing is LOUD!!!

  4. TJ

    Great to meet you and thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed the shop tour and the Jeep!

  5. mmdeilers Post author

    TJ,

    We definitely enjoyed the tour. You have a great place! Good luck and I’ll let you know if I have any questions.

    – Dave

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