With all of the recent flooding in our area, RocSubway reader Michael Delaney wrote in and suggested, “a great idea for an article would be about the history of flooding in Rochester and the civil engineering that has gone into solving the issue. Beyond the dams, I’ve heard that there are huge storm sewer tunnels underneath the city. It would be very interesting to know more about it.”
Situated at the intersection of the Genesee River and Erie Canal, Rochester’s geography has blessed—or cursed—us with a long long history of great floods. Before the construction of the Mount Morris Dam (1948-1952) records indicate the City of Rochester had experienced severe flooding about every seven years between 1865 and 1950. Talk about a pesky problem.
Digging into all of the engineering marvels that have spared modern Rochesterians from most of these high waters could easily span many pages. And I promise to dedicate future posts on the subject. But for now, I want to show just how bad this problem was by highlighting just one flooding disaster that occurred in late March, 1913…
I often get asked if there are tours of the Rochester subway. The short answer is no. The longer answer is while there is no official tour of the “subway,” every October there is usually a tour of the “historic Erie Canal aqueduct.” And it’s coming up this weekend…
This Wednesday night, SyFy Channel will air a new episode of Ghost Hunters featuring Rochester’s Rundel Library (and possibly the subway tunnel). Sally Snow, Assistant Director at Monroe County Library, says the show approached them initially about the abandoned Rochester subway. “As scary as the subway is, the library is where the real haunting action is,” Snow said. “All I can say is that they found stuff, for sure. I can’t say what until the show airs.”
The Ghost Hunters team spent two full nights investigating the tunnels and the Rundel building. Sally says she’s never experienced paranormal activity in the library first hand, but she has seen security camera footage of a door opening and closing by itself. “This is a door that usually requires a really good tug to get it open. It’s very strange.”
Now personally, I’m not saying I believe in this stuff, but here’s the story of one mysterious death which occurred on this very spot in 1902…
I’ve had this postcard in my collection for a few years now and it’s one of my favorites for a couple reasons. It’s late 1920’s (or early 30’s) and depicts the brand new (at the time) Broad Street and Rochester subway tunnel. The Rundel Library is not shown where it normally would be (to the right of Broad Street) because it hasn’t been built yet. But I also love this card because of the handwritten message on the back. It’s always been very mysterious to me — because it’s in German!
Rich Rolwing, a RochesterSubway.com reader, recently emailed me and very excitedly offered to translate the message. And so the mystery has finally been solved! Here it is, as written in 1938 from Karl (presumably visiting Rochester from Chicago)…
Thank you for your letter and also that letter from Foley. Noch immer nichts gehoert f.P. Vielleicht heute oder morgen. Lass dir dann gleich wissen. Waren gestern beim einen Park picnicen. Paul hat jetzt Vacation diese und naechste Woche. hat immer noch Halsweh. sonst alles schoen auch Beer.
Greetings from Rochester! Lately you may have noticed lots of old images stuck to the sides of the buildings downtown. The images are actually larger reproductions of old postcards—some a century old—and they pay homage to the gorgeous buildings that once lined Rochester’s streets. For the past two years I’ve been collecting a lot of these same vintage postcards. I like to say “vintage” instead of “old” because most of them are new to me – plus I can’t imagine these incredible images ever getting old in the other sense of the word.
Well, I finally did it. It was a monumental task but now you can flip thru my entire collection of vintage Rochester postcard images right from your computer. All 178 views – scanned, uploaded, and labeled for your viewing pleasure…
Two weeks ago the World Canals Conference took Rochester by storm and offered the public a glimpse inside the Broad Street Aqueduct Bridge and abandoned subway tunnel. Thousands attended and many tour-goers shared their great photos on our Facebook page . Did you miss all the fun? Well I’ve got good news for you. This Saturday, October 9th, you’ll have another chance to explore Rochester’s historic underbelly…
Once-in-a-lifetime opportunities don’t come along very often—that’s why they’re referred to as such. So clear your calendar, put the dog out, and grab your coat and hat… preferably a hard-hat.
After our subway excursion was squashed last Spring, many of our readers feared that they had missed their last chance to see the inside of the Rochester subway tunnel with their own eyes (and smell it with their own quivering noses). But this Summer the stars have aligned. Here come not one, not two, but THREE rare opportunities to go inside Rochester’s seldom seen subway… legally!
Oh, and did I mention, a lucky few* will get to enjoy cocktails and a catered dinner party INSIDE the tunnel? Yummy! Okay, here we go… these may be your final chances to experience the Rochester subway tunnel…
I’ve never shared this with anyone before… but I have a disorder. I’m an excessive wallpaper changer. I’m in therapy (and doing a little self-medicating) but still, I have a hard time keeping one background graphic on my computer desktop for more than a day or two (at most). Maybe I have ADHD? Or maybe I just need a life. I CAN’T HELP IT! I just get bored staring at the same image for too long. I tear through so many wallpapers I’ve had to start making my own…
Recently we acquired this postcard (shown above) of the Rochester subway entrance at Court Street. And while I was reading up on the history of Rochester and the Erie Canal, I came across some pretty neat photos of downtown, the old canal, and later the construction of the Rochester Subway. These images say a thousand words so I’ll just start the slide show with this incredible panorama of Rochester from 1906…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.