Full Remarks: Johnnie Ryan Bottling Co.

Hello, I am Christiana Limniatis, Director of Preservation Services for Preservation Buffalo Niagara

I come to my position with PBN with over 12 years of Preservation Planning experience in both the in both non-profit advocacy and private consulting, as well as my coursework completed towards an MA in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University.

On behalf of PBN and our membership, I am here to ask you to vote YES to landmarking the former Johnnie Ryan Co. Bottling Plant.

As provided in Chapter 1335 Section 05 of the Niagara Falls city code, 822 Niagara Street successfully meets three of the five criteria, specifically that it:

  • Is associated with the life of an individual, or a group of people, or events significant in the national, state or local history
  • Embodies the distinctive characteristics of an architectural style, a period, or method of construction
  • Because of unique location or singular physical characteristic, represent an established and familiar visual feature of the neighborhood

822 Niagara Street successfully meets these 3 criteria not just through its cultural significance but also its architectural integrity.

Cultural Significance:

The building was built c.1946 for local soda company Johnnie Ryan Co. and served as its sales and manufacturing headquarters for over 30 years. This building is a lasting testament to Niagara Falls’ entrepreneurial and industrial history, providing a unique glimpse into the history and industry of post-WWII Niagara Falls.

Additionally, the founders of Johnnie Ryan Co., the Janik Family, were prominent members of the Niagara Falls community. Walter Janik was a former director of the Niagara Frontier Association of Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages, appointed to the Niagara Falls Advisory Board of Industrial and Convention Activities, and served as Postmaster of Niagara Falls.

Architectural Integrity:

The building is an excellent example of Art Moderne commercial architecture. While there are several examples of neighborhood commercial structures which exhibit some Art Moderne elements, there are only two, of what we would consider high-style examples of Art Moderne style in Niagara Falls, this building and the former Niagara Dairy Co-Op at 8450 Buffalo Avenue.

Art Moderne Style is closely rated to its sister Modernistic style of Art Deco. Together both styles were popular nationally from 1920s-1940s, with Art Deco developing first and then Art Moderne.

Art Moderne borrows many of the ornamental elements generally associated with Art Deco but combines them with the sleek and streamlined modernity of 1930s and 40s industrial designs. Art Moderne style buildings exhibit smooth wall surfaces, curved corners, a horizontal emphasis, and glass block windows or sections of walls. 822 Niagara Street express all of those character defining features.

I do not want to tip toe around the obvious, this building will be demolished unless you vote yes to this landmarking designation. The developer has previously stated that that the reason for the demolition is to lower his tax bill.

Voting No to this landmark designation lets every property owner in the city know that shrinking their tax liability is more important that retaining the built environment of Niagara Falls 

Voting No takes dollars away from Niagara Falls public schools

Voting No takes dollars away from Niagara Falls public works

Voting No takes dollars away from Niagara Falls parks

You should vote YES because this building successfully meets the criteria for designations specified in the city code

You should vote YES because adaptive reuses have brought over a BILLION dollars in economic development across WNY and there is no reason that Niagara Falls should be left out of this important economic development tool

You should vote YES because this is a culturally and architecturally significant resources that enhances and supports the history, beauty, and identity of Niagara Falls

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