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55th Anniversary of Rochester’s Darkest Day

June 30th, 2011

These notices were posted in anticipation of the end of passenger service in the Subway on June 30, 1956. [Image from Railroad.net]

As we look back on 55 years without our subway, the U.S. Highway System celebrates its 55th birthdayexternal link. Coincidence?

Some old photos of Rochester’s lost subway after the jump…

Well-dressed men line up to climb a wooden ladder out of an excavation. The large area, bordered by steep stone walls, is part of the subway excavation. [Image from Albert R. Stone collection]
On September 12, 1923, Mayor Clarence Van Zandt led a party of business men and city officials on the first official inspection of the completed portion of the new subway construction areas. A photograph from that visit was printed in the Rochester Herald, September 13, 1923.

Ernest Marshall, an expert steam shovel operator on the site of the great subway construction project. Printed in Rochester Herald, December 2, 1923. [Stone photographic series, 'Men who built the subway'. ]
An image from the Stone photographic series, “Men who built the subway”. This is Ernest Marshall, an expert steam shovel operator on the site of the great subway construction project. Printed in Rochester Herald, December 2, 1923.

This is the grand opening of the new 'subway street' (Broad Street bridge). [Image from Albert R. Stone collection]
This is the grand opening of the new “subway street” (Broad Street bridge). Mayor Van Zandt (not identifiable in the photo) has just opened the gate at the South Avenue end of the bridge. A parade is crossing the bridge as a crowd watches from both sides. Written on a large bill board at right is “Bengas starts easier, goes farther, try it”. Similar to other photographs printed in Rochester Herald, August 15, 1924.

A bustling subway station scene, showing people crowding the platform, and passengers lining up to leave the subway car. The scene is the underground City Hall station located at Broad and Exchange Streets. The eastbound car is heading for the end of the line at Rowlands. [Image from Rochester Municipal Archives]
A bustling subway station scene, showing people crowding the platform, and passengers lining up to leave the subway car. The scene is the underground City Hall station located at Broad and Exchange Streets. The eastbound car is heading for the end of the line at Rowlands.

The Rochester City Hall building, as seen looking north from S. Fitzhugh Street and showing the subway entrance on Broad Street. [Image from Rochester Municipal Archives]
The Rochester City Hall building, as seen looking north from S. Fitzhugh Street and showing the subway entrance on Broad Street. Notice the gas station across the street from the subway entrance.

Children pose on the steps of a footbridge over the Rochester Subway, just west of the Monroe Avenue Station near Adwin Place. [Image from Rochester Municipal Archives]
Children pose on the steps of a footbridge over the Rochester Subway, just west of the Monroe Avenue Station near Adwin Place. September 22, 1950.

A view looking east along the Rochester Subway bed from the Monroe Avenue bridge, showing the stairway leading from the bridge to the Monroe Avenue subway station. The station has been partially dismantled, in preparation for the construction of Interstate 490 in the subway bed. [Image from Rochester Municipal Archives]
A view looking east along the Rochester Subway bed from the Monroe Avenue bridge, showing the stairway leading from the bridge to the Monroe Avenue subway station. The station has been partially dismantled, in preparation for the construction of Interstate 490 in the subway bed.

Now a moment of silence.

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See also:
Rochester Subway Historyexternal link

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This entry was posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 12:03 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester Subway, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure. 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.

7 Responses to “55th Anniversary of Rochester’s Darkest Day”

  1. Caros Mercado says:

    A day that will live in infamy. Such a shortsighted decision but understandable in the light of the times.

  2. Mittens says:

    Someday we’ll learn from our mistakes, hopefully soon.

  3. Matt says:

    How’s the high-speed express bus with surface loading thing working out on the highway?

  4. Well, bus rapid transit appears to work in many cities around the world. See Curitiba Brazil. But we don’t see a lot of it here in the U.S. And we sure as hell haven’t seen it on I-490. We were flat out lied to.

  5. Matt says:

    Well, the 22 Express Route certainly runs on 490, even if it doesn’t stop there. I’m not sure where buses would ever have stopped on the highway. I suspect there was, for a time, some kind of bus service down the highway, but I also bet it disappeared rather quickly.

    BRT itself is a fine transportation option when not used as a cheap alternative to fixed guide way systems. Unfortunately, this country generally builds it to be cheaper, then cuts costs to be even cheaper still.

    Some good combination of BRT and fixed systems in Rochester would do wonders to revitalize downtown. The more I think about it, the more I think some kind of profitable fixed route combined with some possibly unprofitable BRT routes might serve the widest audience. I’ll continue to think on it, though, and maybe I’ll have some ideas mapped out soon.

  6. I’d love to see them Matt. BTW, you should consider getting with Reconnect Rochester if you haven’t already. We could use your brain.

  7. I’m with Matt. I think a combination of some BRT routes and some fixed route would be valuable as transportation options and would help to revitalize the Downtown area of Rochester.


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