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Left for Dead: Rochester’s Union Depot

November 9th, 2012

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: John R. Stewart]
I know I keep coming back to this over and over and over again. But I just can’t believe we intentionally reduced this once world-class rail station to rubble only so we could pay tens of millions 50 years later in an attempt external link to build a much smaller and less impressive imitation of what we once had.

I’m not going to say much more about it. I just wanted to share these recently found photos of Rochester’s half-demolished NY Central (Bragdon) Station. Like a decapitated, rotting corpse left to rot in public as a reminder of a brutal ‘auto’cracy. Most of the building was torn down in the 1960′s but one section stood like this for over a decade before it was finally removed altogether and replaced with the current Amtrak building in the mid to late 70′s. Oy, how painful…

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station interior.
This is what the interior of the station looked like in its glory days (above). And this is what we did to it…

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: John R. Stewart]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: John R. Stewart]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: Christopher Playford]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: Christopher Playford]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: Christopher Playford]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: Christopher Playford]

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station, 1914. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Would it not have been better to leave this station to rot indefinitely? At least the possibility of restoration would still exist. As in Buffalo where the Central Station Restoration Corporation external link has been slowly but steadily working toward restoring their once grand NY Central Terminal.

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station, birdseye view.
Mr. Bragdon, we are so unworthy!!

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 9th, 2012 at 8:04 am and is filed under Rochester History, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “Left for Dead: Rochester’s Union Depot”

  1. Christine says:

    Presumably the Bragdon plans still exist. Why couldn’t we resurrect them, update them with contemporary conveniences and technology, ensure ADA accessibility, and rebuild what once was wonderful?

  2. Wonderful idea Christine! What a tribute to Mr. Bragdon and our rich architectural history.

  3. @Christine, we actually did bring this exact idea to the table early on in the scoping process. It was not seriously considered because to rebuild the same structure today we’d be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.

    We’re looking at a budget of $22 Million (maybe less) to complete the new station. That doesn’t build much in the way of “grand” anymore.

  4. L.Eric says:

    What’s needed is to replace some of the station tracks. So we would have a place to make up trains. Add cars, and have emergency equipment. Place for private passenger cars, special trains. A place to do business! Also Amtrak plans to scrap older cars. When the few new cars come must be stopped. We don’t have enough cars now. The railroads, never did this. They kept older cars for holiday rushes extras, emergencys.

  5. phendee says:

    Unfortunately, over the years, our great city of Rochester, NY has lost so much due to mismanagement and sell outs. The Subway was sold out to Detroit for buses and cars. What we were left with is the inter loop. Durand Eastman Park has deteriated to such a point, it too will soon completely disappear into historical photos. The beautiful train station probably left us for similar reasons. As a result, these “Grand” parts of Rochester are gone for good. It cost too much money in todays’ dollars to get them back. Embrace the memories.

  6. Eric says:

    Yes, we can only afford to rebuild railroad stations in the middle east. Like Iraq, after the army and others have blown them up,time and time again. But not Rochester. Or any other American city. The middle east is useing our cars to build their new rail systems. They just don’t want them here.

  7. T$ says:

    Look up St Paul’s Union Depot. After 40 yearz of sitting vacant, it had found new life as multi-modal transit hit for Amtrak, Jefferson Bus, Greyhound, and Metro Transit. These beautiful stations are worth saving!


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