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You know those faded advertisements on the sides of old brick buildings? You may have heard them referred to as ghost signs because they’re usually just barely there, hanging on like spirits of a bygone era. Yeah, I love those things. Probably because they combine my two favorite hobbies: graphic design and local history.
The building I work in (in the High Falls neighborhood) has one of these signs on it. So naturally I took notice when someone began painting over it…
All the controversy over whether or not to demolish the 120 year-old brewhouse at 13 Cataract Street got us thinking. Those in favor of demolishing the building say it’s an eyesore and a haven for drug dealers; even prostitutes. So, just remove the building and our problems go away.
But if we demolished every eyesore in Rochester, would we have solved all the City’s problems? Or might we end up tossing the proverbial “baby” out with the bath water? For the next two weeks we’ll take a look at some local eyesores …or rather, opportunities, nearly lost.
For a little more than 4 years I’ve worked in the High Falls district of Rochester. Last Thursday afternoon I took my lunch (which I usually eat over my computer keyboard) and I walked down Mill Street to Granite Mills Park. Of course you’ve never heard of it. It’s nothing more than a 50 foot square patch of concrete, a few trees, and 3 or 4 benches—not quite a full fledged “park” in the traditional sense. But on this sunny afternoon Granite Mills Park had transformed into a real urban plaza abuzz with music, laughter, people clapping, and even dancing.
A series of midday concerts presented by Hochstein Music School and WXXI called Hochstein at High Falls had kicked off with music provided by the Po Boy’s Brass Band. I don’t know if it was the glorious weather, the site of the surprisingly huge lunch-time crowd, or the sound of those trombones, but think I caught a glimpse of what the future might be like for that neighborhood by the falls…
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.