The Butler Brothers Warehouse (later the Morgan Industrial Center), 350 Warren Street in the Jersey City Historic Warehouse District, is one of the most imposing brick buildings in the city.

It was constructed about 1905 for the Chicago-based Butler Brothers retailing and wholesaling company.

Butler Brothers was a retailer and wholesale supplier based in Chicago. It was founded in 1877 as a mail-order company by George H. Butler and Edward Burgess Butler.

In the 1920s, Butler Brothers moved into retailing with a chain of “Scott” and “L. C. Burr” stores. In the early 1930s, they developed theBen Franklin Stores and Federated Stores, both of which were franchised five and dime stores. Most were in small towns. By 1936 there were 2,600 Ben Franklin stores and 1,400 Federated stores.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Butler Brothers was one of the largest wholesalers in the country. Unlike many modern franchises, which seek to present a uniform identity to consumers, the Ben Franklin franchise largely benefitted dime store owners by making weekly shipments from their warehouses, where tens of thousands of items were kept in inventory. Not only could a store owner order merchandise on Friday and receive it on Tuesday to replenish empty shelves, but by consolidating shipments, saved a considerable amount on freight, and found it easier to manage his inventory.

Butler Brothers also organized special sale events every few weeks. Stores could order salebills with their own names on them, and in many cases, with sale prices they chose for the merchandise. Manufacturers would offer special prices to get the extra sales inherent by being included in such large promotions, which Butler Brothers would pass along,

In February of 1960 the company was bought out by City Products Corp of Ohio, a company which had been in existence since 1894 as an ice company, for $53 million plus assumption of Butler Brothers liabilities. wikipedia

I say this every year, but I’d like to investigate the Forgotten wonders of the New Jersey cities just across the Hudson from NYC more often.


Categorized in: One Shots


  1. Old Skool says:

    Kevin. you could always follow a PATH across the river. HA!

  2. Jim says:

    There is still a lot of old Jersey City industrial building left in downtown Jersey City, making J.C. one of the more interesting cities in the NY area. Keep in mind that all the railroads stopped in J.C., and NYC commerce was delivered either by railroad cars being ferried across the harbor or by truck through the Holland Tunnel.

    Unknown to a lot of people, P. Lorrilard Tobacco used to ship tobacco leafs up to Jersey City where cigarettes were actually made in the industrial area of J.C., and shipped to NYC and by train to many point west.

    If you’re going to check it out, make it fast. A lot of these buildings are being torn down (and most have already) and some converted to residences.

  3. Chris says:

    This is presently being converted into beautiful loft apartments, with all of the original timber beams, columns, and roof timber being exposed.

  4. Joan Ross says:

    My father worked for “Butler Brothers” ,possibly here in the 1920’s working on radios. I think he put the parts together and sometimes came up with some good changes and was thanked for them. Could this be the same co. He lived in Hoboken.

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