Our location at 94 Genesee Street in Utica is a reflection of our love for the area and our desire to develop a sustainable business. The Tailor & The Cook is housed in a building as old as the city itself. Rather than construct a new location, we decided to retrofit an existing structure in a way that would respect the environment and our area’s history.
Below is a history of Bagg’s Square and our location that local historian and writer Bren White was kind enough to put together for us using sources from the Oneida County Historical Society. We’d love to hear your comments, memories, or any additional information you might have on 94 Genesee St or the Square.
History of Bagg’s Square and 94 Genesee Street (The Tailor & The Cook)
94 Genesee Street is located in historic Bagg’s Square, surrounding Utica’s Union Station in Upstate New York. This neighborhood, a 20-block area of downtown Utica, has traditionally been Utica’s commercial, industrial, and transportation center – where transportation arteries connect and adjacent to Utica Harbor and the Barge Canal.
In 1795, stage lines began to run through Utica and by 1829, the Bagg’s Square district had two considerable groceries stores as well as leather, drug, tin, furniture, and other establishments. In the early 1800s, trains brought more and more people to Utica. The Bagg’s Square marketplace became a city plaza. Because of the proximity to the train station, this neighborhood saw many famous people such as Vice President Aaron Burr, President John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Washington Irving, and Charles Dickens (just to name a few). For more than a century, this neighborhood was the center of trade and commerce for Utica.
Although several fires have devastated Bagg’s Sqaure (the most significant being in 1837 and 1948), this neighborhood has consistently been rebuilt and reestablished as a necessary part of the fabric of Utica.
The building at 94 Genesee Street, like its neighbors throughout Bagg Square, has changed hands throughout the years but has consistently been a quality, local business. This location has been in business basically since the establishment of the City itself. Over the years, it has housed great businesses such as The Ideal Shoe Store (1900), the Lawrence Lunch Room (1906-09), J&M Electric (1906-09), the UTK Tailoring Company, Inc (1910-1940s), Slater Drug Company (mid 1940s), and Western Union Telegraph Company (1960- mid 1980s).
Utica can be proud, once again, of the revitalization of the Lower Genesee Street and Bagg Square neighborhood. In 1983, the Lower Genesee Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of its great significance in the building of downtown Utica. And today we are excited to see the businesses in this neighborhood growing once again.