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Former Wonder Bread bakery among three sites recommended for historic preservation

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Favorite photos of 2018: John Hickey

The former Wonder Bread Bakery on Fougeron Street.

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Three Buffalo landmarks have been recommended as additions to the State and National Registers of Historic Places, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

The three nominated properties – including a Buffalo bakery that helped introduce Wonder Bread to America – are among 19 statewide that were made by the state Board for Historic Preservation. 

"New York's historical places are priceless treasures that help us connect with the past and our state's rich heritage," Hochul said in a statement.

"These nominations reflect the fantastic breadth of the state's history and the prominent role New York has played in events that helped to sculpt our nation. These additions to the historic registers will help ensure there are resources available to protect these iconic places and that their stories will inspire us long into the future," she added.   

The three local properties are the Continental Baking Company Factory, 313 Fougeron St. on Buffalo's East Side; the Perot Malting Company, 100 Childs St. in Buffalo's First Ward; and the St. John Kanty Roman Catholic Church Complex, 101 Swinburne St. off of Broadway in Buffalo's Old Polonia neighborhood. 

The Continental Baking Company Factory was built as the headquarters of the Ward & Ward baking company in 1915. The industrial bakery helped introduce Wonder Bread to America in 1925. Later, the plant produced sliced Wonder Bread, helping coin the phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread." At its peak, the factory could produce up to 6,000 loaves an hour in its massive ovens. The bakery closed in 2004 after its parent company filed for bankruptcy. The property is now being rehabilitated under the historic tax credit program.

Perot Malting Company Facility was first included on the National Register in 2012, the listing for American Grain is being expanded to include the adjoining Perot Malting Company facility, which reflects the city's early 20th century rise in the grain processing and shipping industry, as well as malting and beer-making. The intact Perot facility, dating to 1906, includes the grain elevator, malthouse and railroad tracks. The facility was used for production of Genesee beer starting in 1984. It was closed in the early 2000s but is now being rehabilitated under the historic tax credit program.

The St. John Kanty Roman Catholic Church Complex was initially constructed in 1891 and finished in 1966. It includes a Gothic Revival church building, a Federal Revival rectory, a convent and a lyceum or lecture hall. The growth of the complex reflected the growth of the Polish immigrant community on the city's East Side from the late 19th to early 20th century. By the time of the church's construction, there were about 80,000 Polish Americans living in the area, making it one of the largest Polish communities in the United States.

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