When an electrical fire decimated the original downtown location of the Sibley, Lindsay and Curr department store, a relocation became inevitable.  The new location they chose is home to where Sibley’s is still located today; the corner of East Main Street and Clinton.  This disastrous event is historically referred to as the “Sibley fire” because the store had just received its spring stock of dry goods and other merchandise and suffered an estimated $1.5 million in damages. Luckily, there were no casualties.
After the fire of 1904, the Sibley Building doors opened again in 1906 at 250 East Main street. The new home to Sibley’s was designed by noted Rochester architect J. Foster Warner.  The original plan began as a five-story, Chicago school-style skeletal steel building sheathed in brown Roman brick with expansive deeply set Chicago style windows.  One of the most recognizable features today is the copper topped clock tower and Baroque and Renaissance style details, as well as several other architectural features that have been restored and preserved and remain in the building today.  Some of these features are the original escalators, the famous “meet me under the clock” fixture, United States Postal Service mail slots, hand carved plaster murals, and so much more!  Additions were made to the building in 1911 and 1924 that included the Sibley Tower that reaches 12 stories tall.

By 1940, Sibley’s was the largest such store between New York City and Chicago and it remained in business at the location until 1989.   Sibley’s was the department store that anchored Rochester.  In 1989, the Sibley brand left the building and the company was rebranded as Kaufmann’s.   The Kaufmann brand has evolved and now operates as the Macy’s we know today.  Rochester natives and visitors have fond memories of going to the Sibley department store. Especially popular during the holidays, the storefront windows appealed to all ages and invited passersby into the center city location.  The magical holiday window display continues to live on in these storefront windows each year. 
Today, at 1.1 million square feet, Sibley’s is continuing to evolve with revitalization as Sibley Square; an upscale mixed use building.  The new Sibley Square name focuses on the square atrium around Sibley’s iconic clock where people have been gathering for more than a hundred years. The main atrium “square” will be home to boutique retail and local artisan food products, creating a dynamic urban marketplace.

Sibley Square will also offer luxury apartment homes, Spectra at Sibley Square and 55+ active adult affordable apartment homes, The Landmark at Sibley Square, on floors 7-12. Still the largest, most iconic building in the city of Rochester, Sibley Square pairs modern lifestyle in a historic residence like no other. State-of-the-art amenity packages include first rate fitness centers, Amazon package lockers, pool table, movie theater, game room, community room with kitchenette, indoor dog playground, and tremendous panoramic views of downtown Rochester and the surrounding area all the way up to Lake Ontario on a clear day. Sibley Square’s luxury residences offer a unique blend of historic architecture paired with modern living conveniences; there’s something for everyone at Sibley.  

The 6th floor of the building, once home to the Tea Room of the Sibley Department Store, is now the headquarters for High Tech Rochester’s Finger Lakes Business Accelerator Cooperative, an incubator for high-tech start-up companies.  

Sibley Square represents the entrepreneurial vision that fueled Rochester's past success, and it will once again be at the center of innovation and help move the Finger Lakes forward. This is a true milestone for Rochester and this beautifully restored building listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. 

Click here to visit the Department Store Museum to view the historic store directories! 
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