I received an email last week from George Conboy, Chairman of Brighton Securities. He asks, “Have you seen anywhere a photo of the transportation mural that was behind the long ticket counter at the old airport? I remember it as a vaguely Art Deco theme of general transportation with an emphasis, of course, on air transport.”
Mr. Conboy explained that he used to fly a lot during the “glory days” of air travel back in the 1960s when he was a kid. “I just liked that old mural. I used to see it all the time and it has always been in my mind.”
This is a great question. I had been told of this mural before but have never seen it myself. Photos of it online are practically non-existent, so this one will require some digging…
First, let’s take a look at the airport terminal Mr. Conboy is talking about. It used to be known as Rochester Monroe County Airport, and in 1953 the building shown above was built on Brooks Avenue to replace a few smaller ones on Scottsville Road .
The red-brick, single-level passenger terminal is a pretty typical example of post-war modernist architecture. The style would be familiar to most suburban grade-schoolers today. But at the time this was a very exciting improvement, and undoubtedly a state-of-the-art facility.
But what about the mysterious mural? We still have no idea what that looked like or where it was. Well, with the help of a few friendly librarians at Rochester’s Central Library, I found this…
So I think this was only a sketch, but the finished piece was probably pretty darn close to this.
Some of the vehicles and scenes depicted include a packet boat gliding through Rochester on the Erie Canal, the old trolley line to Sea Breeze, the Wright Brothers “flying machine,” and the Empire State Express steam locomotive setting a record speed of 112 mile per hour in 1893.
The murals were created by Marjorie Lapp, Elmer Lapp, and Walter O’Brien for Clifford P. Hayes of the Hayden Company. Hayden Company was a highly regarded cabinet and furniture manufacturer based in Rochester from 1847-1955. The company also handled the interior design and furnishings for the terminal.
Click on the panels below to see larger views of each…
As far as photos of the mural inside the terminal building, this was all I could find. This photo was taken in 1953 a little bit before the terminal opened. To the right of the big picture windows, and behind the pile of boxes, there is a set of doors. Those doors led out to a great covered porch with a view of the airfield. On the wall just above the doors, an outline of the mural can be seen.
If anyone reading this has a photo of the mural or the old airport itself, please drop a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: airport, art, Art Deco, Brighton Securities, George Conboy, Greater Rochester International Airport, history of Rochester, infrastructure, Monroe County Airport, mural, old photos of Rochester NY, Rochester, Rochester history, Rochester NY, rochester photos, transportation
This entry was posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 at 8:39 pm and is filed under Architecture, Art + Culture, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Transit + Infrastructure. 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.