Here’s one heck of a photo – Rochester’s Main Street around the turn of the last century. It was snapped from a fire escape at 102 W. Main, near the corner of N. Plymouth Avenue, looking east. Make sure you click on the image and zoom all the way in for all the incredible detail. Across the street you’ll notice some pretty major landmarks. The most obvious one being Hotel Rochester on the far right…
The Hotel Rochester was built on the site of the National Hotel in 1907. This is what leads me to believe this photo was taken soon after. That, and also the streetlights shown are of a style replaced at the end of 1913. Hotel Rochester was nine-stories tall and occupied the corner of Main Street West and S. Plymouth Ave. until December 1999 when it was imploded . Check out the cute little horse-drawn U.S. Mail wagon parked in the street.
Immediately to the left is the National Theatre (duh) with its wonderfully ornate marquee and signs. And to the left of it, was a building occupied by C.B. Woodworth; a perfumery business. According to this article , Woodworth was a big deal in the world of cosmetics. “By the end of the American Civil War, with branches in New York City, Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans, the company was rated as one of America’s leading perfumers.” They were well known for their innovative vanity case designs which were both functional and beautiful – items women were proud to show off. That led to a big business which was eventually acquired by the French perfume house, Bourjois. Woodworth was the first American perfume company to ever “suffer” this fate.
I love the little building wedged between Woodworth’s and the big Rochester Savings Bank on the corner. It reminds me of the narrow houses lining the canals of Amsterdam. Wonderfully urban! They used every square inch of available real estate and they did so with pride. I also love the stray dog running loose in the street.
And then of course is the Rochester Savings Bank on the corner of Main and Fitzhugh. Built between 1853 and 1857, the original bank building (designed by Henry Searle) was three stories high and topped by a large dome-shaped roof. In 1875, the building was enlarged and fireproofed under the supervision of Henry Searle, Jr. Another story was added as well as a metal roof, with statues and a pair of giant clocks.
Tags: C.B. Woodworth, Detroit Publishing Co., downtown Rochester, Henry Searle, history of Rochester, Hotel Rochester, Main Street, National Theater, old photos of Rochester, old photos of Rochester NY, Plymouth Theatre, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester NY, Rochester Savings Bank
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