A third-generation Buffalo metalworks manufacturer has renovated the family's original Buffalo homestead as its new headquarters.
Eberl Iron Works spent 17 months refurbishing the red-brick Italianate-style home at 124 Sycamore St., which had been in the family for generations, including as their home from 1896 to 1963. Eberl has kept its manufacturing operations and offices on an adjacent property, just east of downtown Buffalo.
The house was originally constructed in 1855, and acquired by George J. Eberl in May 1896, two years before he married Elizabeth Koebel and made it their home. Now renamed Eberl Heritage House, it will formally reopen as new offices on Sept. 25.
"Our grandparents raised their eight children there, and it was a place where family memories were made,” said CEO John Eberl. “We’re very pleased to give the old homestead new life.”
Founded in 1923 by brothers George and Frank Eberl, the metal company began as a small welding shop that produced wrought iron railings, exterior fire escapes and miscellaneous iron products. Today, the 96-year-old firm – run by Chief Executive John and Chief Financial Officer Nora Eberl, grandchildren of Frank Eberl – operates four divisions for rooftop support systems, traffic safety products, Unistrut Buffalo Supports and metal fabrication services.
"It was a true labor of love," Nora Eberl said. "It makes us feel closer to our ancestors who made the house their home."
Workers on the project found they had to modernize the structure, which was built before electricity, concrete or mass-produced goods. "The boards were cut by hand and beams were mortised and tenon together," said construction manager Matthew Plizga. "Nails were handmade square from the blacksmith. Mortar was lime instead of cement.”
New structural steel and wood joists – made to look old – were added to reinforce the floors, while new plywood subfloors were installed and windows were replaced. "The front was from the 1850s, the middle portion was circa 1910, and the rear portion was from the 1930s,” Plizga said.