The Kilmer Building.
Interior lobby area of the Kilmer Building.
Backstory and Context
As reported in 1917: "When you step off the railroad train, the Swamp-Root laboratory is the first striking object that confronts you - a beautiful, white, high-towering building. In many respects this building stands unique. The main office is wholly unlike anything of the kind in the country. The massive columnns of solid marble and beautiful hand-carved molding, cornices and ceiling, and the marble mosaic floor, is of a type that forces admiration."
Built in 1903 as the manufacturing facility for "Dr. Kilmer's Swamp-Root", the six-floor fireproof building was Binghamton’s first skyscraper. Swamp-Root, a patented mixture of natural herbs, oils and grain alcohol, was marketed as a kidney, liver and bladder cure. It was concocted by Sylvester Andral Kilmer, a medical doctor who moved to Binghamton in 1879. Andral and his brother Jonas formed a medicine business to produce and sell the product.
In 1892 Jonas' son Willis Sharpe Kilmer took over the firm's advertising department and transformed the small company into a multi-million dollar enterprise. Within a few years the company was shipping several rail-car loads of Swamp-Root out of Binghamton each day, to destinations as far away as Europe, South America, and Australia.
Following Willis' death the Kilmer Building changed ownership. It was ultimately acquired by the Lander Company and used for manufacturing and bottling perfumes. The Lander company eventually moved and the building sat vacant for nearly two decades.
In 2004 the building was purchased and renovated. Today it is occupied by several businesses, including The Goldsmith jewelry store, and Remlik’s Grille & Oyster Bar.