Sweeney’s Garage is located in the Southeast corner of the Town of Tonawanda, bordering to the South with Buffalo and to the East with Amherst. Sweeney’s is built in the area of the town known as the “Kenilworth” area.
Beginning in 1902 Kenilworth was the site of a large horse racing track, shown in green on the map below, owned by The Buffalo Racing Association, staked by wealthy financiers, the notable August Belmont and Walther Luttgen.
The race track operated for just a very short period, until 1908, when changes to New York’s gaming laws prohibited betting on horse racing. Interestingly, the Kenilworth track played host a very early automobile race hosted by the AAA in August, 1905.
After the demise of the race track, the land was sold to Buffalo retailer John G. Sattler who quickly subdivided the track into mostly residential parcels. The parcel on which Sweeney’s Garage sits appears to be an obscurity on the boundaries of the great track. Evidence suggests the property was used for some sort of agricultural purpose, with animal remains found in the basement and the main floor supports being reused post and beam remnants from an earlier structure.
Most recently an adjacent wood frame structure dating back to the early part of the 20th century was purchased, demolished and additional parking added. It is interesting to note the wood frame structure that was demolished sat atop an earlier foundation of an undocumented building.