It was barely a week after “Black Tuesday” and the initial crash of the Stock Market that signaled America’s descent into the Great Depression. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle published a full page spread entitled “Odd Business Adventurer Recalled” by John P. Guttenberg. The article was a retrospective of the success and downfall of one of Rochester’s most prominent business figures – Hulbert Harrington Warner.
Although Warner had died in relative obscurity six years earlier in Minneapolis, the article recalled the life of a man, who, only forty years earlier, had commanded tremendous public adulation and whose products had belted the Globe, spanning three continents. Over the past six years, I have attempted to capture the essence of H. H. Warner, to the extent that is possible. Guttenberg’s article does a nice job in a much shorter format. A scan of the entire article is attached.
With the onset of the Great Depression, it is hard to imagine that the article got more than a passing notice by most Rochesterians. Although Warner’s Safe Remedies still likely graced the shelves of local drug stores, the man who had created a global marketing phenomenon had been divorced from the business for over a generation and had faded into obscurity.
Warner’s influence on the landscape of Rochester was also in decline. His sumptuous East Avenue mansion succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1929 and his Observatory a decade later. Only the Warner’s Safe Remedies Building survived and remains to this day.
A special but belated word of thanks to Kevin Taft. Kevin has been kind enough over the years to provide me with some great Warner research and I am most grateful for his contributions.