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Torn-Down Tuesday: McDougall-Butler’s revolving paint can, Main at Hertel

From a 1921 ad.

The building that was home to the McDougall-Butler Paint Co. at Main and Hertel fell to the wrecker’s ball over the last few weeks, but the real landmark associated with the spot had already been gone for a few decades.

Anyone familiar with the Bennett High School area through the '50s, '60s, and '70s, will remember the big rotating paint can that spun on the lawn just north of the school for a generation.

The Butler family bought out the McDougall Varnish Co. in 1919. At the time, the company had already been making paint, varnish, shellac and other finishes for 30 years in a plant at the corner of Evans and Norton streets, only a few feet away from Buffalo Harbor.

“Buffalo Quality” brand paints were made in Buffalo and sold at AM&A’s and all over the country.

That original factory and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic church were among the buildings torn down in 1950 to make way for the Dante Place (now Marine Drive) Housing Complex.

When operations moved up Main Street, opposite Hertel, the firm’s revolving post-war kitsch marketing became an instant roadside milestone and earned company president E.J. Butler the nickname “the man with the biggest can.”

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