Rochester Subway
Subscribe for Email UpdatesBecome a Facebook FanFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed Rochester History + New Ideas. Fresh from the Rochester Subway.

Topics


Rochester Subway Gift Shop


¤ Visit the Gift Shop
¤ See Combo Deals & Offers


Modern Rochester Subway Map

Modern Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Neighborhoods Map

Rochester Neighborhoods Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Map, 1928

1928 Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway DVD

The End of the Line - Rochester’s Subway (DVD)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Landmarks Poster

Rochester Landmarks Poster

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

¤ View All Spaceman Art


Old Rochester Photos<br>and Historical Views

Old Rochester Photos
and Historical Views

(Framed Reprints Available)

¤ View All Rochester Photos


Rochester Subway Cap

Embroidered Subway Cap

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway T-Shirt

Rochester Subway T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway Token T-Shirt

RTC Token T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester RTC Token

RTC Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Roch. & Brighton Token

Roch. & Brighton Token
(1887-90)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Railway Co. Token

Rochester Railway Co. Token (1900-09)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Rochester School Fare Token

School Fare Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester NYS Railways Token

NYS Railways Token (1909-38)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Poster + DVD Combo

Rochester Subway
Poster + DVD Combo

¤ 

Add To Cart

 (Save 10%)


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1941),
Rochester Rail Equipment

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1938),
Subway & Broad Street

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1942),
Rochester City Hall & Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1912),
Rochester’s Four Corners

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1905),
Erie Canal Aqueduct

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1928),
South Entrance to Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway + Trolley Transit Passes

Original Subway, Trolley,
and Bus Weekly Transit Passes

¤ View All Transit Passes





Rochester’s 7th Most Beautiful Train Station in the U.S.

January 7th, 2010

An old photo of Rochester's Bragdon NY Central Station. Ranked #7 on a recent list of top 10 most beautiful demolished rail stations.
I’m a bit late on this but maybe this will be news to you. Some time last year, a notable infrastructure blog called The Infrastructurist, published a list of the top 10 greatest rail stations ever built. Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest examples of 20th Century American architecture is Rochester’s NY Central Station. What? You’ve never heard of it? That’s probably because it’s not with us anymore — may she rest in peace. The NY Central Station was demolished in 1965. In it’s place, the pretty little Amtrak Station you know and love today. In fact, all of the buildings on the Infrastructurist’s list are no longer.

New York's old Pennsylvania Station before it was torn down in 1963.
The article is verbosely titled Demolished! 11 Beautiful Train Stations That Fell To The Wrecking Ball (And The Crappy Stuff Built In Their Place) external link and it ranks the old Rochester station at #7, just after such famous structures as New York City’s old Penn Station and Chicago’s Grand Central. A few of the stations on the list exist today in much more modest forms but most are now either parking lots or vacant lots. Penn Station, for example, is now mainly a network of underground railroad and subway stations beneath a glass office tower and Madison Square Garden arena. If you walked past the 7th Avenue site today you’d see no remnants of the architectural treasure once described by Senator Daniel Moynihan as “the best thing in our city.”

UPDATE: Infrastructurist.com no longer exists, but you can view an archived version of the old article here external link.

The interior of Rochester's missing rail station. The main waiting room with high arching windows and ornate ceiling would rival New York's Grand Central Station if it were around today.Likewise, if you’ve ever been to the dingy Amtrak station (shown below) on Central Avenue in downtown Rochester today, you’d probably piss yourself with amazement to learn that this once was a majestic, 4 story, stone building with several high arching windows and a main room that was reminiscent of New York’s Grand Central Station. I apologize for the profanity, but seriously, look at it!

The article by Yonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed external link explains, “Rochester’s principal train station opened in 1914, with New York Central Railroad connections to New York, Albany, and Buffalo. The elaborate curved brick exterior made a prominent mark on downtown. But the decline in passenger traffic emptied the station by the late 1950s, and the building was razed in 1965. In its place? A parking lot.”

Here’s a little more history on this grand station. In 1854, New York Central Station was constructed on Mill Street at the edge of High Falls where it served as the community’s transportation center for 30 years. In the 1880′s the railroad tracks were elevated and the station was relocated to the east side of the Genesee River (on Central Avenue at St. Paul Street) among the thriving breweries and clothing factories. This second station served New York Central’s needs for just over 20 years, when they decided to build a new station on the north side of Central Avenue, between North Clinton Avenue and Joseph Avenue. A well known New York City architect, Claude Bragdon designed the third station, referred to as Union Station or the Bragdon Station, and it opened in 1914.

In place of the Bragdon Station now stands this uninspiring Amtrak building.But sadly this grandest of stations, busy for four decades, lost most of its passengers to the new interstate system as well as the airlines. The New York Central sold the building in 1959, and the Bragdon Station was demolished in 1965.

I’m not going to run down the rest of the list of demolished stations here. You’ll have to read the article external link yourself. But I will tell you that Rochester is not alone and is in good company. Cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Memphis, and Atlanta are all noted for the same horrific blunder. I for one hope we’ve learned a lesson. Even if it is a day late.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 7th, 2010 at 10:54 pm and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “Rochester’s 7th Most Beautiful Train Station in the U.S.”

  1. Andrew says:

    I saw this a while ago. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  2. Bob says:

    Utter tragedy.

    This now begs the question whether we are a serious and/or mature enough society to ever build anything of that quality again. I don’t consider Syracuse’s intermodal station far north of the city center something to emulate.

    I think the best example of new rail station construction is the new Albany-Rensselaer station. I say this only from an architecture standpoint and only by today’s standards. Unfortunately the urbanist treatment is still putrid. It is located ACROSS THE RIVER from downtown Albany and primarily serves parking lots.

    Each Rochesterian should travel to Toronto via Amtrak/Via Rail at least once in their life. Now THAT is arriving in a city core!

  3. I dedicated a chapter of my book on Claude Bragdon to the train station–a remarkable building. See _Crystal & Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture_ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).

  4. I can still remember my first time in the NYC Station with my Aunt for my first train ride. This was probably 1949 and we just took a trip to either Buffalo or Syracuse and back. The high point was lunch on the train in the dining car. I remember taking the train from there when I was at Aquinas for a football game in Erie.

    Then the last trip was probably in 1968 when I had to go to Poughkeepsie but the snow kept me from driving. As I recall the station was nothing more than a hallway from the station building left. It was an eventful ride back to Rochester that evening. As we approached Rochester, the conductor told me that they were late and wanted to make up the time before they got to Buffalo. He noted that I was the only passenger getting off in Rochester and he wondered if I cared if the train just slowed down rather than stopping. I was in my late 20′s then so I told them that it was no problem. Not sure I could do it now!

  5. Carlos Mercado says:

    A downtown train station was the Formal Gateway to a city and also a railroad’s statement to the community of its power and importance. Great architects were engaged to make this statment come alive.

    Today, corporations export our jobs to China, pay their executives 450 times the average worker’s wage, and hire draftsmen to draw rectagular glass boxes.

    As a child in Philadelphia, I fondly remember the greatness of train stations, movie palaces, department stores and other public spaces. They gave a sesnse of beauty and grandure to all who came, regardless of station in life. We no longer have this, and it has hurt us greatly.

  6. Larry Champoux says:

    Why not have a design competition of a sort for the possible new train station that challenges current architects to design an architectural tribute to Claude Bragdon’s station so that we can properly recall and respect our rail history while meeting the challenges of the future.

  7. admin says:

    Larry, that is a really good idea. The stars have aligned for Rochester and we’re now at a critical decision-making time for this transit station.
    1. High-speed rail just became reality
    2. RTS is actively hunting for a new downtown site for its bus terminal
    3. Trailways & Greyhound are virtually homeless (operating out of a temporary location).
    4. In addition, the inner loop—which runs right in front of the Amtrak station—is going to be filled and brought to street level.

    This entire section of downtown will look, and function completely different in just 5-10 years time.

    If the citizen’s of Rochester don’t make their voices heard right now here’s what will happen: RTS will build its own separate bus terminal somewhere near Main and Clinton, possibly as part of Midtown redevelopment or behind Mortimer. Amtrak will get a modified version of what is already there—with very little consideration for the surrounding area. And if Trailways/Greyhound are not included in the discussion, who knows, they might move to Victor for all we know. So we’ll end up 3 orphaned transit stations (maybe connected a shuttle bus) in 3 desolate locations, just like we had before!

    RochesterSubway.com is making this a priority but I’ll need help. I’ve already made a plea to Rich Perrin at the Genesee Transportation Council to consider an inter-modal station. But my plea will fall dead if we don’t take action ourselves. I think a design competition or a design charrette is a great idea because it gets the ball rolling and people involved and invested in the project. I will take this to the RRCDC and see if they can help.

    If anyone has ideas or would like to get involved please contact me.

  8. Stephen Trinder says:

    Could you put up a list of the other demolished stations? The article doesn’t exist anymore. Thanks.

  9. Ok, we’ve had several people point out that the Infrastructurist web site no longer exists. You can view an archived version of the old article here external link.

    Thanks to http://www.Archive.org external link

  10. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Yes it was a beautiful train station. Many Soldiers and sailors used it during the second world war.

  11. What a waste of a marvelous piece of architecture. I used to go to the station to pick up my grandmother in my younger days and my neck still hurts from looking up at the true craftsmanship of the day.


Post a Comment...



  You May Also Like...
  Most Popular...
  1. Boy Lived in NYC Subway for 11 Days
  2. Pot Holds Bowie in Rochester
  3. Inside Rochester's Terrence Tower
  4. University of Rochester's Lost Swimming Pool
  5. Rewind: High Speed Rail Art from 2002
  6. The Old Barber House
  7. Rochester Mafia, the Banana King, and the Infamous "Barrel Murder"
  8. Rochester's 7th Most Beautiful Train Station in the U.S.
  9. RGRTA Digs Up Rochester's Old RKO Palace Theater
  10. Subway Tunnel To Be Filled. This time they mean it. Probably.
  11. A 100 Ton Discovery at the Port of Rochester
  12. 1906 Panorama and More Old Photos of Rochester, NY
  13. Rundel Library on Ghost Hunters: 'Due Date with Death'
  14. Exploring the Caves of Rochester, NY
  15. Never Before Seen Photos of RKO Palace Theater
  16. Genesee Brewery to Demolish This Building
  17. What Is This Strange Water Feature?
  18. Rochester 2020 - Rail vs. Fast Buses?
  19. Rochester's Case for a Streetcar
  20. Irondequoit Square
  21. Drunk Woman Nearly Flattened by Boston Subway Train
  22. Rochester's (inspiring) Old Railroad Stations
  23. ROC Low Line: A (new) Proposal for Rochester's Abandoned Subway
  24. A Better Bus Stop Sign for Rochester
  25. Inside the Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium
  26. Give Me City Gate
  27. History of Seabreeze Amusement Park
  28. Inside the Pulaski Library
  29. A Tour of Rochester's Times Square Building
  30. Loving Life at Erie Harbor Apartments
  31. Does Rochester Have a Parking Problem?
  32. Fortified Rochester
  33. Imagine, Rochester's Historic Brewery Square
  34. Manhattan Square Park Mural Erased
  35. Who is Spaceman?

Topics

  • Art + Culture (66)
  • Events (62)
  • Freebies (9)
  • Interviews (29)
  • Opinion (80)
  • Reader Submitted Stories (76)
  • Rochester Destinations (55)
  • Rochester Gifts (14)
  • Rochester History (151)
  • Rochester Homes for Sale (4)
  • Rochester Images (162)
  • Rochester News (215)
  • Rochester Subway (40)
  • Rochester Subway Stories (12)
  • Subways Around the Globe (9)
  • Train/Railroad Stuff (32)
  • Transit + Infrastructure (131)
  • Uncategorized (1)
  • Urban Development (165)
  • Urban Exploration (31)

  • Rochester Subway Information

    Get Email Updates...
    Stay up-to-date on Rochester-related stories, artifacts, and ideas that you won't find in the mainstream news. Totally free, never spammy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


    ¤ See Past Issues
    ¤ Our Privacy Policy

    Links

    Get Involved...

    ¤ Reconnect Rochester

    Related Blogs...

    ¤ A Town Square
    ¤ Moderate Urban Champ
    ¤ Our Tiny Earth
    ¤ The Rochesterian
    ¤ RocVille
    ¤ Rust Wire

    Resources...

    ¤ RochesterDowntown.com
    ¤ Rochester's Public Library
    ¤ ROCwiki



    Want to Advertise
    on RocSubway?
    Drop us a line.


    Other ways to follow RochesterSubway.com...

    Subscribe for Email Updates

    Email

    Become a Facebook Fan

    Facebook

    Follow Us on Twitter

    Twitter

    RSS Feed

    RSS

    Questions + Comments

    For questions about the Rochester Subway Poster or about your order, please email info@rochestersubway.com.

    Want to SAVE Shipping Costs?
    Buy our Subway Posters at these local shops...

    About the Rochester Subway Poster...

    ¤ Parkleigh [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Poster Art [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Rochester Public Library Store [ ...map it ]
    ¤ The Center at High Falls gift shop [ ...map it ]

    ¤ Rochester Subway Poster Press Release
    ¤ Article by Otto M. Vondrak
    ¤ Design by Mike Governale

    More About The Rochester Subway

    Help Support...

    ¤ Rochester Subway (Wikipedia)
    ¤ The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway, DVD
    ¤ Abandoned Subway Photos (Opacity.us)
    ¤ Walking the Rails (YouTube Video)

    Our Partners

    ¤ See a full listing of all Partners + Friends of RochesterSubway.com