The Hall-McChesney Building was built in two sections, one in 1892 and the other in 1906. If you look closely, you can see the architectural differences in the two sections. It was named for the Hall-McChesney Publishing and Printing Company, which first occupied it. At the start of the Armory Square revitalization in the late 1970s, this was the first building to be rehabilitated for new uses. Edward Butler purchased the building and created residential, office, and restaurant space.
Artists’ communities, where painters, performers, musicians, and other artistic people come together to work and live are common in many urban centers throughout the world. The creative environment of these communities is conducive to a freedom of expression that helps to inspire artistic activity. It is not coincidence that artists often create the first spark that ignites new interest in the re-development of depressed areas.
In the 1970’s, a group known as the “League of Loft Artists” became tenants in the Hall-McChesney building, which was known as the old vacant warehouse of the Salt City Movers and Storage Company. At the time, the South Franklin Street building was little more than a glorified pigeon coop. Soon, the Packing House Row Café opened in the building, and became a popular gathering place in the neighborhood.
The interior of the packing House Row Café
The Hall-McChesney building was remodeled, along with much of the rest of Armory Square, starting in the 1980’s, helping to turn this part of Syracuse into a popular and attractive section of the city.