Rochester’s Pulaski Library (originally the Hudson Avenue branch) was the second permanent library constructed by the City. As explained here , the library was closed in 1994, and has sat unused until last week when the City opened the doors to potential buyers. If you’re interested, the City wants your proposal by March 4. $1,000 to buy it, but you’ve got to show you’ve got a serious plan to rehab the property. Historic tax credits and grants could help take a bite out of the million dollars it could cost you when all is said and done. If you missed the open house, here’s a look inside…
Prior to construction at the corner of Hudson and Norton Avenues , the library system consisted of twelve temporary sites and the newly constructed permanent Monroe Avenue branch.
In 1931, 46 Polish organizations and churches from this densely populated Polish community petitioned to have the branch named after Revolutionary War hero Brigadier General Casmir Pulaski, a native of Poland who journeyed to America to join the war for independence.
The City turned down the request to name the library after General Pulaski saying it would ruin the precedent of naming branch libraries after the building location. Although they were turned down, citizens were allowed to mount a big bronze plaque on the library wall in honor of General Pulaski. Hidden inside the wall behind the plaque was included a time capsule with mementos from the Polish community.
50 years later, in 1981 the Polish community again petitioned the City. This time their name change request was approved. And, on the library’s 50th anniversary the time capsule was removed from the wall. I’m guessing that hole in the wall over the door (shown above) was where the plaque and time capsule were located.
Newspaper accounts indicate that this library was larger than most of the other libraries because it was expected to be busy due to its proximity to the new, and very large, Benjamin Franklin High School.
According to the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form on this building from 2001, “The Pulaski Library has for 70 years been a city landmark and source of pride for local residents of Polish heritage.” What does it say about us as a community if this is how we treat our most prized landmarks?
Tags: American War of independence, Brigadier General Casmir Pulaski, George Washington, history of Rochester, Hudson Avenue, Norton Avenue, Pulaski Library, Revolutionary War, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Rochester Public Library, urban exploration
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