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20 Responses to “Rochester’s Mercury Statue, Up Close and Personal”

  1. Steven Tryon says:

    A superb series of photo, especially looking down with the Genesee River as the backdrop.
    Steve

  2. Patrick says:

    Is that hole in the elbow supposed to be there, or did someone shoot the thing?

  3. Debi says:

    Gorgeous details, history and perspective. Thank you for sharing these!

  4. Roberta says:

    Wow! What a treat to see this local icon in such detail. Being afraid of heights, those are angles I would never see in my lifetime. Breathtaking!

  5. Maranne says:

    What a remarkable opportunity! Thank you for sharing this story. As a Rochester native, I have always known about Mercury (probably because I was the right age when the statue was re-installed). Having said that, I learned a few things about Mercury today and .I love the iconographic connections made to the Flour City! Thank you, can’t wait to share with my kids!

  6. Jonathan Bouman says:

    Awesome perspective! Another great addition to your website.

  7. Douglas Fisher says:

    Terrific to see these great images!

    Such statuary close-ups would have been interesting to view up close during all those decades that the City kept Mercury lying in that Charlotte warehouse.

    Does any know specifically which warehouse was Mercury’s rest home then?

    The City of Rochester continues to own this Mercury statue, although its supporting tower, and its installation thereon, were paid for by the Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Company (now Thomson Reuters), which owns the tower itself.

    Rather than subject Mercury to the legally-required highest-bidder situation via a sale or lease, the City instead licensed the use of Mercury — and his supporting Zephyr — to Lawyers Co-op.

  8. Douglas Fisher says:

    Lawyers Co-op also paid for the statuary restoration work involved in its 1973 re-emplacement on the Rochester skyline.

  9. Diane Gutierrez says:

    Thanks for the photos, which solved a mystery for me: what happened to the wings on Mercury’s upraised right foot? It is there, smaller and not easily seen from the ground.

  10. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Delighted to see a old friend again .Thank you. Brought back many memories of looking up and seeing him for many years. Was after the tobacco co for I didn’t know that was there earlier I was in the late 30’s 40’s and 50’s I often took the crosstown bus to go home at Exchange and Main St. or some times I took the subway at Broad St. Yes it was a landmark I could never forget.and later it was moved to Lawyer Coop company I had wondered where it was when it disappeared . Thank you for the information. Loved seeing him again like a old buddy of mine. I no longer go downtown now from living in Webster but still have wonderful memories of him. Great old days back then!

  11. Richard Long says:

    Mercury spent his time between removal and reerection in the old City owned Charlotte warehouse that was demolished to make room for the Rochester Terminal of the famed ferry Edmond FitsJohnson.

    The warehouse was originally Rochester’s water port facility which until City Council abandoned the warf and warehouse gave Rochester businesses very low freight rates from all carriers by Federal Regulation. The warf and warehouse were leased by the City to Pittston Stevadore Company who ran it under contract. The City was supposed to maintain the warf and building, but politicians found other uses for the funds and the facility suffered.

    After standing and laying around a few months waiting for politicians to decide where he would rest, Mercury was eventually crated in a skelital fashion so he could breathe and trucked to the warehouse. Pittston didn’t exactly welcome Mercury as he took up space they felt they could use more profitably, so he got pushed to the least desirable space in the building where his only visitors were pigeons and the occasional accountant verifying he was still in residence.

    Pittston pulled out of Rochester when City Council ended the Port designation, and Mercury had only the company of the watchman making clock tours required by Insurance. He moved to a more desirable spot in the building after the watchman put his foot through a rotted part of the floor near Mercury.

    After the move, Mercury shared residence for a number of years with thousands of pallets of Ragu spagetti sauce. The watchman continued to make rounds, and forklifts stopped by from time to time.

    When Lawyers CoOp offered their building as his new residence, Mercury had to be crated and cradled anew for the move because his old crate was falling apart and covered in pigeon droppings.

    He also got to make a stop in a sheet metal shop for some cosmetic work after a good bath on the way to the top of Lawyers CoOp. The Pop rivets and copper colored sealant on his seams are from that low budget restoration. Actually. considering the lack of interest that had been shwn him by Politicians probably came close to sending Mercury to scrap several times.

  12. Dan Klein says:

    If anyone’s still looking at this message thread, I just wanted to add that I work in the Aqueduct Building, and in July 2011 I took a photo of Mercury from near the base while on a tour of the building:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/28147498@N07/5962831455/in/photolist-bUk8tU-a5V53T/ The caption, of course, was “Up close and personal.” A month earlier, when the restoration work was underway, I got another shot of the statue and the work bucket, zooming in from below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28147498@N07/5859332188/in/photolist-a5V53T-a5V56e-9VLBjL-9K8aE3-8Xqbbi

  13. CJ says:

    Need a caption for the butt shot…

  14. karen cusse says:

    wonderful to see my favorite upstate n.y. statue up close. the details are great and so is the scenery

  15. Rick Williams says:

    I’m in my mid 60’s as of this writing. I fondly remember seeing this icon when traveling about Rochester. I never knew its history, nor all the details of its construction until I read this article, for which I am greatful.
    Great companies have risen & fallen, delicious food venues of many nationalities have made good impressions on decades of Rochestarians, yet Mercury outlasts them all. Kudos to the many folks who should take pride in keeping this icon looked up to, even thru many tortuous upstate Winters !

  16. Diane Gutierrez says:

    New York City has its Statute of Liberty, St. Louis has its Gateway Arch, Seattle has its Space Needle. Should Mercury symbolize Rochester likewise?

  17. I’m ok with the idea, but Mercury would be the only thing on that list you can’t go up into… (personal anecdote – I’ve been up in all 3, and each is truly incredible in its own way). Throw the Washington Monument on the pile of epic monuments you can also go up into.

  18. Dan Klein says:

    Though you can’t go up into Mercury, I got as close as most people can ever get as part of the special tour for the building’s employees in 2011. We had to climb a steep metal ladder up to the space in the tower just below the statue’s base: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28147498@N07/5962831591/in/photolist-a5V56e

  19. Melanie says:

    Researching in an 1881 archive and I found an entry where my diarist left work to attend the unveiling of ‘Flying Mercury’ atop the tobacco building on Saturday, January 29, 1881 in the afternoon. Thanks for these photos.

  20. JIm Morris says:

    Thanks for the website – I was visiting Rochester and wondered what the deal was with this statue and why Mercury was so prominently displayed.
    Your website cleared that up.


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