Originally settled in 1804, the Armory Square district began to take its current shape in the mid-19th Century. The area’s proximity to the Erie Canal and major rail lines made it an ideal location for industrial operations. Most of the neighborhood’s historic buildings were constructed between 1860 and 1890 as factories or warehouses.
At the turn of the century, the area was densely built up and bustling with activity. There were more than twenty hotels in the neighborhood, servicing the railroads. The Jefferson Street Armory, built around this time, is actually three buildings and was once used to quarter the cavalry and the infantry. As the railroads declined in the 1930s, the majority of industries and hotels relocated or ceased operation. Between 1940 and 1960, many buildings were vacated or demolished.