Posted by Paul Callighan on Sep 04, 2019
When the Sycamore Rotary Club meets over the noon hour on Wednesday’s at Blumen Gardens, Rotarians are treated to a repurposed meeting space with its former factory roots adding a special character to the surroundings.  Owner Joel Barczak treated members to the details behind the bricks and wooden beams when speaking at the September 4th meeting.
According to Barczak, the history of the property first being developed goes back 160 years when Sycamore residents raised $35,000 (equivalent to $1,114,142 in today’s dollars) in order to build a rail spur to connect to the main line in Cortland.  As the local agriculture industry grew and began to become mechanized, Marsh Harvester set up manufacturing on the site in 1869.  Later, Sycamore Mayor Rueben Ellwood used portions of the property for his forged products businesses.  Harvester production ended in the 1880’s and Ellwood’s shops shut down in the 1890’s.  The site then became home to the Sycamore Wagon Works (later DeKalb Commercial Body Corp.).  After the Wagon Works moved to DeKalb, Montgomery Ward used the buildings for a warehouse and then a series of wire manufacturers were located on the site.  However, the buildings were crumbling and a significant environmental cleanup was needed when Barczak and his wife, Joan, took the leap of faith to locate their expanding nursery and landscape business on the property in 1993.
Barczak explained that by 1999 they assembled the full 4.5 acres that makes up Blumen Gardens and includes the renovated meeting space.  Their first big event in the space was a fundraiser for victims of hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the events keep on happening  He noted that on the past weekend four weddings took place, making it a very busy place.  Barczak said he and his wife are thrilled that they have helped create a gathering place that brings people together.