History

The History of the H.H. Warner Lofts

The spectacular, 7 – story H.H. Warner Building was constructed in the late 1800s. It is an elaborately decorated brick building with a cast iron façade and Venetian Gothic details. It is an icon testifying to one of Rochester’s prosperous times and is emblazoned with Warner’s signature “W” logo. The large floor to ceiling windows and interior atrium allowed immense natural light to pour in. Interior details include hardwood maple floors, cast iron columns, and barrel vaulted ceilings.

The H.H. Warner Building was one of the first buildings to have electricity in Rochester, NY. During the late 19th century it was a common sight to see horse and buggy drivers carrying sightseers down St. Paul Street during the evening to view all the lights on in the building — something we take for granted today…

H.H. Warner made his first fortune in the safe business. He used a portion of this wealth to start a patent medicine business in Rochester and built the H.H. Warner Building as the headquarters. An example of his safes can be seen near the lobby of the building today. His medicines incorporated the word “safe” in their names and included Safe Kidney and Liver Cure, Safe Diabetes Cure, Safe Tonic, Safe Bitters and several others. The building was designed with the Warner offices and the Warner’s “Safe Cures” shipping department on the first floor, and the advertising and publishing departments on the second floor. Warner’s mailing department, which distributed millions of pieces of promotional material each year, was located on the third floor. The fourth and fifth floors were the home of the bottling and laboratory facilities, which produced thousands of gallons of Safe Cure per day. Long gone is the daily chatter of people producing and distributing what many today would likely call “snake oil” …

The Warner Building became a symbol of a Rochester empire. Its construction and history make it one of the city’s great architectural landmarks.