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Historic Brighton Village

February 25th, 2013

Former site of historic Brighton Village. March, 2010. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
This weekend, Wegmans closed their current East Avenue store so they could transition into their new, larger building external link. The new store replaces a historic area that was once the center of Brighton in the 19th century. The old Village of Brighton was served by the Erie Canal (now I-490). The canal was rerouted in the early 20th century and the entire area was annexed to the City of Rochester in 1905…

Former site of historic Brighton Village. March, 2010. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
The first town meeting of Brighton was held in April 4, 1814 at the tavern owned by Orringh Stone. The town, which once stretched from the western banks of the Genesee River to Irondequoit Bay, and from Lake Ontario to the Henrietta town line, was named by William Billinghurst for his home in England. The village was officially incorporated in 1855 and Brighton gradually became smaller, beginning around 1823, when the City of Rochester began appropriating land. In 1905 the city annexed the Village of Brighton itself, located at the present-day site of Winton Road and East Avenue. The village was moved to the Twelve Corners area.

Streetview panorama of historic Brighton Village. [IMAGE: Google Streetview]
This poorly stitched together panorama (from Google Streetview) shows the buildings on the north side of East Avenue, including the original Wegmans at 1750 and the shuttered businesses of Old Brighton Antiques at 1794, Cyrus Oriental Rugs at 1796, Janet Bakel interior decorators at 1802, Safelink Supply and Upstate New York Alarm at 1806 and Fountain Bleu Coiffures at 1812. (Click the panorama for a larger view. Some scrolling required.)

This is a series of pictures taken by Andy Olenick (April, 2011) in an effort to document the buildings before they were torn down. This view, looking northeast, shows the buildings on the north side of East Avenue, including the shuttered businesses of Old Brighton Antiques at 1794 East Ave. and Cyrus Oriental Rugs at 1796. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The following is a series of pictures taken by Andy Olenick (April, 2011) in an effort to document the buildings before they were torn down…

The interior of 1794 East Avenue... The former Old Brighton Antiques. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The interior of 1794 East Avenue… The former Old Brighton Antiques.

The interior of 1796 East Avenue... Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The interior of 1796 East Avenue… Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs.

The interior of 1796 East Avenue... Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The interior of 1796 East Avenue… Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs.

The interior of 1796 East Avenue... Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The interior of 1796 East Avenue… Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs.

The interior of 1796 East Avenue... Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The interior of 1796 East Avenue… Former Cyrus Oriental Rugs.

This view, looking north, shows a detail of the building at 1800-1802 East Avenue, once Janet Bakel Interior Decorators. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
This view, looking north, shows a detail of the building at 1800-1802 East Avenue, once Janet Bakel Interior Decorators.

The original entrance of 1800-1802 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The original entrance of 1800-1802 East Avenue.

The original entrance of 1800-1802 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The original entrance of 1800-1802 East Avenue.

Decorative ceiling inside 1800-1802 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
Decorative ceiling inside 1800-1802 East Avenue.

The second floor at 1800-1802 East Avenue. The stairway to attic. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The second floor at 1800-1802 East Avenue. The stairway to attic.

The hallway of 1800-1802 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The hallway of 1800-1802 East Avenue.

One of the rooms on the second floor of 1800-1802 East Avenue. Looking at front windows. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
One of the rooms on the second floor of 1800-1802 East Avenue. Looking at front windows.

The building which formerly housed Safelink Supply and Upstate New York Alarm. The building once housed a bank. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The building which formerly housed Safelink Supply and Upstate New York Alarm. The building once housed a bank.

A detail of the entryway at 1806 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
A detail of the entryway at 1806 East Avenue.

The vault at 1806 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The vault at 1806 East Avenue.

The vault at 1806 East Avenue. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The vault at 1806 East Avenue.

The Fountain Bleu Coiffures, shortly before it closed to make way for the new Wegmans. [PHOTO: Andy Olenick, Rochester Public Library]
The Fountain Bleu Coiffures, shortly before it closed to make way for the new Wegmans.

This plat map (1910) shows the area of old Brighton Village shortly after it was annexed by the City of Rochester. [IMAGE: Rochester Public Library]
This plat map (1910) shows the area of old Brighton Village shortly after it was annexed by the City of Rochester.

The opening of the fire station for Hose Co. No. 19 on East Avenue (c.1909). The station was taken over from Brighton. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone Collection]
This was the fire station for Hose Co. No. 19 on East Avenue. It stood where the current Wegman’s parking lot is near Probert Street. This photo was taken at the opening of the new fire station (c.1909). The station was taken over from Brighton.

This was 25 N. Winton Road, north of East Avenue. The building began as Brighton School District No. 2. and became the Brighton branch of the Rochester Public Library after the village was annexed by the City of Rochester. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone Collection]
This was 25 N. Winton Road, north of East Avenue. The building began as Brighton School District No. 2. When the area was annexed by the City of Rochester it became Rochester Public School No. 1 in 1905. Martin Brewer Anderson School No. 1 replaced it in 1922. The building opened as the Brighton Branch of the Rochester Public Library on Jan. 2, 1923. This library was in use until plans were announced to replace it with a new branch on Winton Road. A public auction of the building and land was held on June 6, 1967. The buyer was obliged to demolish or move the building. The demolition occurred sometime in the last week of October, 1967.

A group portrait of children at Brighton School No. 2, accompanied by their teacher, Kate Lotz (later Mrs. Lays). The school was located at North Avenue (later Winton Road) in Brighton Village. 1902. [PHOTO: Brighton Municipal Historian Collection]
This is a group portrait of some children at Brighton School No. 2 (1902). Their teacher was Kate Lotz (later Mrs. Lays).

The new East Avenue Wegmans as seen from Winton Road and University Avenue. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
This is the same corner as seen today.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 25th, 2013 at 7:56 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, 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.

18 Responses to “Historic Brighton Village”

  1. Sarah says:

    awesome – always loved those second floor rounded windows at 1800-1802

  2. Hanan says:

    I remember tromping up to the 2d floor of the library as a small child in the early 60s. The kids books were on the 2d floor.

  3. mike b says:

    Much of the 20th century was not kind to the Village of Brighton. Much can be said about the role of NYSDOT in altering the character of land east of Winton. It appears Brighton Presbytarian and the Brighton tavern are the only historically contributing buildings left.

    I predict a mighty preservation battle when the denomination sells that old church. It could be an exceptional mixed use ,building.

  4. Tru says:

    I won’t ever forget those stately buildings, and though I tried to save them I really did !! I still miss that location.
    My business has moved on yet i shared bluWater located in the back of 1800 with Sternberg associates (decorators)
    … In my efforts to bring a little bright middleeastetn decor to the richness of that space I’ll never forget my many occuring and dusty images true I swear to the ghosts that roamed the halls of 1800 ..my poor plumber however had a strange feeling while installing our soaking foot sinks inbetween two bark log floor beams of something or someone breathing right beside him ..
    It freaked him out !!
    I have to say I enjoyed every minute … The sun sets
    over the hill behind 1800 and the railroad tracks and the rythem of the railroad made being in that building so peaceful so much of the time ..
    Progress !

  5. matt r says:

    Thanks, Mike, for this piece. Although it’s heartbreaking, the story and pictures must be shown to fulfill the old maxim of “knowing history prevents us from repeating it.”

    ReHouse had been able to claim some of the elements from inside 1800-1802. For instance, the light had been for sale there for awhile. I’m not sure if it has sold or not.

  6. Jimmy says:

    For the clock tower at the new wegmans, they should have tried to emulate the look of the 1800-1802 building. I don’t think that would be too difficult for wegmans. The new wegmans doesn’t look bad, but it isn’t unique like the buildings that were torn down. A little bit more creative effort by wegmans could have preserved the old look of the old Brighton.

  7. @matt, which light? The black hanging one in the entrance? Is that original to the house do you think? It looks to be in very good shape. I might have to stop by ReHouse and take a look.

  8. gary b says:

    The 1800-1802 East Ave. building was the original WCTU building. I have seen photos of that magnificent wooden structure before it was defaced by adding the storefront. An effort was considered to prevent demolition, but was abandoned after a close look determined the building was too compromised to merit the effort. The small trees growing out of the gutters and moss growing on the roof didn’t help.

    It’s my understanding that the church some time ago received offers from a potential developer assembling parcels for a big-box chain store. Those offers were declined. But a rather large business could potentially be accommodated. The entire land between the Chinese take-out and the fitness club now has only two owners – a private business and the church.

    The original (Congregationalist) church is the second-oldest in the region, preceded marginally by the Rochester church at Spring and Plymouth, downtown. Orringh Stone was a founder. The Brighton Church, as it was once known, originated south of the Erie Canal (now I-490). Hoyt Place ends at the Brighton Cemetery. The earliest church buildings were adjacent, as the cemetery was a churchyard. Then the congregation moved to the current location. The former church manse was near (or possibly replaced by) the laundromat at the west of the lot, with an older, smaller church building attached to the current sanctuary. Both the old church and the manse were demolished to make way for the brick 1954 Educational Wing and current entry. The stone sanctuary and tower areas were built shortly after 1900 and all other parts are newer. I believe it’s the 4th or 5th structure to house the congregation.

  9. gary b says:

    When Wegmans was initially shopping the idea of the new store to various groups and agencies, their architects showed a marvelous plan for the tower, patterned after the old Erie Railroad Station on Court Street. I thought it was an exciting urban design. Robert Wegman thought otherwise and rejected the idea, instead replacing it with the standard suburban Fantasyland tower we now see.

  10. Brian says:

    The new Wegmans design (unfortunately) looks right in step with many other urban grocery stores, with the exception that the main entrance doesn’t face the street or completely build out to the frontage at least on East or Winton. That historic buildings were demolished would almost be acceptable if the new construction respected the historic urban form.

    I don’t see why Rochester couldn’t hold Wegmans to construct a store like this Whole Foods in Philadelphia (http://s3-media3.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/bgnFRMWZi2Vl81kTul_pcA/l.jpg). Same bad architecture, but respectful of the surrounding urban form. New construction should be a step forward in remedying the streetscape rather than the step back that we have witnessed here.

  11. Chris Brandt says:

    To add to the the accruing of knowledge from these posts. 1800-1802 East Avenue served as the Town of Brighton’s first town hall. Although not expressly built for that purpose, it served as such until the present day Malek’s Bakery on Monroe Avenue was built as the town hall. Needless to say, some seriously irreplaceable cultural heritage has been lost courtesy of our friendly monopoly grocery.

  12. Ed says:

    Another great piece–thanks, Mike. I sadly disagree that the new Wegmans offers even the weak compromise of “the standard suburban Fantasyland tower”–at best it’s Fort Wegmans from Frontierland, but really, it’s equally the guard tower on the Robert Wegman Correctional Facility.

  13. chase tyler says:

    This is the reason people don’t go to Rochester. Everything touristy is going down the drain. For wegmans. We all hate you now, Wegmans.

  14. matt r says:

    @rochestersubway: yes, the black one hanging in the entrance. The light may have sold by now. I remember seeing it for sale when ReHouse was on E. Main St. I don’t think I’ve seen it since they’ve moved to W. Ridge Rd.

  15. Jim Fraser says:

    Since the day the project won approval about 2 years ago, my household has taken its business elsewhere, to local venues – farm markets, bakeries, coffee shops, spices – when we can, to competing grocery chains when we must. We’ve reconfigured our diet around locally available foods where possible. A few things we just get along without.

    Our near-boycott has cost the Wegmans chain about $75 to $100 per week over that time. Small for them, big for us. I loved shopping at Wegmans, but I love Rochester and sound, sustainable urban design more. Okay, lots more.

  16. chase tyler says:

    Looking back on my previous comment, Wegmans also owns the original Mother Of Sorrows church in Greece at the corner of Mt. Read and Latta Road. That church is over 150 years old and is probably the only historic site in Greece. The demolition problem is out of control!

  17. Joel Helfrich says:

    It would be nice to see an entire column regarding the First Presbyterian Church — now the Central Church of Christ, correct?

    We need to be more proactive about preserving history and creating and/or maintaining sustainable communities that truly support the goals of economics, society, and environmental protection.

    I would also like to help write a column regarding the Iola Tuberculosis Sanitanium on the corner East Henrietta and Westfall. The buildings are crumbling more and more daily. Nobody within the City seems to care. It will be another example, when the developers (Anthony Costello & Son) get around to it, of “these buildings are too run-down to save” and “nobody cared about these buildings for years.” The City is not even requiring its own codes to be followed. Otherwise, all of those buildings would be secure from the elements and people. The developer should be fined and required to board up/secure all properties. Let us “people who care” preempt future demolition requests!

    http://rochester.ynn.com/content/top_stories/502610/citygate-plan-moving-forward/

    http://abandonedplaces.livejournal.com/2490209.html

    http://www.pbase.com/joldfield/iola

  18. Well, write it up man!


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