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Powers Building, Main & State Streets, 1968

February 28th, 2014

The Powers Building at Main & State Streets, 1968. [PHOTO: Winters, via Library of Congress]
Check out this great photo of the Powers Building from 1968. Notice the workmen up on the ledge of the Mansard roof. Down at street level a shiny new, streamlined façade as been awkwardly forced on top of this 1869 building…

This pit is where the Elwood Building once stood. Notice the exposed vaults under State Street. [PHOTO: Winters, via Library of Congress]
On the far right is a pit where the Elwood Building external link has just been demolished to make way for the Crossroads Building. The vaults under State Street are left temporarily exposed by the void.

Oh, and I love the old telephone booths on Main Street. You don’t see those much anymore.

Click the photo for a much larger view. And leave a comment below if you notice anything I missed. Happy Fun Foto Friday!

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 12:02 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images, 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.

8 Responses to “Powers Building, Main & State Streets, 1968”

  1. Vicki says:

    “The vaults under State Street…” I did not know that there were vaults under State St. I’m sure that their purpose is quite unexciting, but what were or are they used for? Are they accessible when there isn’t a huge pit dug on the side?

  2. @Vicki, I’m not sure what this particular space was, but I think most of these old buildings had vaults under the sidewalk, usually with an access door in the sidewalk above; for deliveries of goods.

    Here’s one story, in fact, of a sidewalk that collapsed into a vault on South Avenue downtown.

    Most of these vaults were filled in over time. All the ones on Main Street were filled in the 1980’s.

  3. Christopher Brandt says:

    Compared to 1905, there’s a lot missing…
    the roof cresting
    the large gaping window well
    grand corner steps and corner balconies
    bumped out side entries

    You can also catch a glimpse of the buildings which were replaced by the grand white marble bank on State Street

  4. Robert Frank says:

    I always figured the ‘vaults” were to run utilities and allow access to the building’s basement via pop-up sidewalk elevators.

  5. Jason Haremza says:

    So sometime between 1905 and 1968, either the first floor level of the Powers Building was lowered (more likely), or the elevation of the Main and State Street sidewalks was raised (less likely). Somehow, the 3-4 steps up into the building from the sidewalk were eliminated.

    It’s a testament to the 1980s-1990s renovations that so much of the first floor facade was able to be retained/restored. Those 1960s facades are nasty.

  6. Rich Rolwing says:

    I remember seeing this photo on another website and thinking how it would be an excellent fit here–especially of course due to the rare view (albeit extremely partial) of the pit resulting from the demolition of the Elwood Building. Nice to see the larger view too.

    **NITPICKING ALERT** You say the “just demolished” Elwood Building–Looks like it probably was already at least several months that the building had actually been demolished by the apparent neatness of the pit. It’s just that sometimes there doesn’t seem to be concrete dates when exactly some of these buildings were demolished. I know I’ve seen pictures indicating that that whole expanse between State St. and the river (including Front St.) was obliterated at once. I also wonder to what extent the public was informed about the extent of this widespread demolition of so much of the city. It seems newspapers surely must have been full of information heralding the “New Modern Urbanism!!” or some such twaddle. I suppose it would just mean searching through old newpapers. I wonder if pictures of the actual demolition especially of individual buildings was discouraged since there don’t seem to be many that crop up. I’ve always thought it must have been sad to see that truly monumental bank building that sat kitty-korner from the Elwood Building destroyed.

  7. Rich Rolwing says:

    I didn’t notice it at first but you can see a sliver of the Reynolds Arcade building along the right border of the picture(s). I thought at first it indicated too tall a structure for the Reynolds Arcade but there’s a couple details that match up with more recent pics of it–like the dark rectangular section at the bottom and the round fixture about two-thirds up (in the bottom pic). The white strip directly above the dark panel at the bottom is a bit of a mystery however–It doesn’t show up in any of the recent photos I’ve seen of the RA.


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