The Franklin Buildings, constructed in 1834, consisted of a much larger row of buildings than now exists. They made up the first shopping center in Syracuse. The four-story structure that now houses Koolakian and Manro Menswear is the only one that remains at its original height. Its Federal Style façade, marked by the white window lintels, is the only one of the three that was executed in stone.
This was Syracuse’s first shopping center. It was built in 1834 and originally was a longer row of buildings. One of the structures is now Koolakian’s Mens Store. It was built as a free-standing structure known as the Granite Block.
It’s been owned by the Koolakian family since 1956. Research by a family member, Robert Koolakian, shows that their landmark likely held the city’s first photo studio. George Barnard, the famous Civil War photographer, had his suite here in the 1850s. The Koolakians have been making and selling clothing in Syracuse since 1905.