In 1867 Gustav Dentzel founded the Dentzel Carouse Company in Philadelphia, PA. In 1905, Gustav’s “Duchess” menagerie carousel opened at Ontario Beach Park where it has since entertained many generations of Rochesterians.
Recently, a debate has erupted concerning one of the ride’s painted panels; two black children—or more accurately, picaninnies—being harassed by a rooster. Stereotypical depictions of black children such as these were intended to dehumanize blacks and provide entertainment for whites at their expense. There’s no debate here. It is what it is. The question is what do to with the panel…
Some have called for it to be removed or replaced with something different. Others believe it should be preserved – either in place, or in another setting where it can be used to educate future generations about America’s history and the pitfalls of racism and bigotry.
Bill Dentzel is the great-grandson of Gustav Dentzel. In a letter to Rochester’s Preservation Board dated August 4, 2015, Bill suggests that the panel may be moved, but should not be discarded as “garbage”…
For those in the Rochester community who have a hard time understanding why the Dentzel carousel painted picaninny panel disallows African-American families and children from a carefree experience at Ontario Beach Park, I encourage you consider that you are not the butt of the joke…
The City of Rochester has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) to adaptively reuse, redevelop, and operate five former bus shelters on Main Street in downtown Rochester, NY. The deadline to respond is June 26 and successful proposals are expected to be announced by July 31…
The image above was created by Tristan O’Tierney last October in the Rochester Subway. Tristan attached a common kitchen whisk to some string, put some fine grade steel wool inside the whisk, lit the wool on fire, and then swung the whisk around for a 30 second exposure. The result is perhaps the most beautiful version of spin art we’ve ever seen.
From local development, to just plain news of the weird, here are your RocLinks for this past week…
Here’s an update to last Friday’s story about Marilyn Casserino, 79. Marilyn is the girl in the dark dress in the center of the photo above. This picture was taken c.1939 on the roof of the Children’s Building at Iola Tuberculosis Sanitorium where Marilyn was a patient, along with her mother Vivian.
Unfortunately, Marilyn’s mom passed away while at the hospital. Marilyn was just 6 at the time. Looking back at those days, she now wishes she could remember more – about her mom, and about this place where they were treated for well over a year.
For starters, she wanted to try and find out who the other girls in the photo were. Would you believe in less than one week we’ve now identified two of those girls…
A couple months ago we took a look inside the Iola tuberculosis hospital on Westfall Road. The buildings have since been demolished. But for Marilyn Casserino, 79, those photos triggered memories, and questions that will linger on…
I stopped by Iola on Sunday to check on what’s left, and I snapped these pics. In front of the main building there was once a circle with concrete benches and lamp posts. To be perfectly honest I coveted the abandoned lamp posts and thought of ways I could possibly “reclaim” them, but my conscience always prevented me from doing so. Well, I should have because the picture above shows the careful attention the deconstruction crew is taking to features that could be re-used. That’s the base and the flattened steel post is above it. I think my reclamation would have been better than this treatment. Damn conscience.
Last winter the City of Rochester made a Hail Mary pass to save the historic Pulaski Library. They posted an offer to sell the vacant building for a thousand dollars to anyone with a serious plan to fix it up. I’m not sure how many proposals were submitted, but I’ve learned that Providence Housing Development Corporation has been given the green light.
Providence Housing has worked on similar adaptive reuse projects such as Paul Wolk Commons on State Street, and the Holy Rosary Apartments on Dewey. Although Pulaski may be smaller, it could prove to be a much bigger challenge…
RocSubway fans, This past Sunday morning (6/2/13), I went with a friend of mine to check out the Iola Campus site . I have lived in Rochester all my life and I have always been intrigued by those buildings (my aunt actually used to live in the apartments across the street). About 6 months ago, I started a little urban exploring group with some friends and coworkers; Iola was one of the first places of interest. With the CityGate project fast approaching, I knew I had to take the risk and visit Iola while I still could. Rather than taking a big group, just two of us went since we were not sure what the security situation would be like. The whole campus was great. A lot of the buildings had pretty easy access points, but there were a couple we could not get in to, due to time constraints (and proximity to the main road!). I hope that you all enjoy the shots! - Sarah Barnes
Oh 1926, it seems like you were only 87 years ago. Oh wait, what, it was only 87 years ago? Ok then. Well, since the Neighborhood of the Arts is receiving so much press these days, let’s take a look at a piece of the neighborhood from then and see what was happening.
Welcoming Costco and RGRTA to CityGate is great. Ignoring walkability and losing all historic buildings isn’t. Our community needs walkable places. We need development that calms traffic and makes walking easy and safe. Moreover, our community needs to preserve its historic fabric. We need development that repurposes old buildings for new uses…
A great deal has already been written about the development planned at 933 University Ave. (see: here , here , and here ). Even so, it is important that we take a step back and really think about the kinds of arguments that are being made. Further, let us consider how the neighborhood could benefit from this development, how George Eastman House can meet its needs going forward (and better integrate with Neighborhood of the Arts, as they express a desire to do), and how to move the entire neighborhood towards the increased success it deserves…
The Landmark Society is partnering with the Park-Meigs Neighborhood Association to hold a public forum on the evening of Tuesday, May 21 at 597 East Avenue . Up for discussion: the timely and controversial topic of new development in preservation districts. This is a community conversation you will NOT want to miss.
A panel of speakers, representing developers, homeowners, business owners, urban planners, and The Landmark Society, will offer their perspective, followed by an open question and answer session. Speakers include Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of The Landmark Society; Glenn Kellogg, Urban Advisors; Joe Hanna, Hanna Properties; Steve Vogt, Rochester Young Professionals. RocSubway contributor, Matthew Denker will also weigh in. Can new development benefit preservation districts? How can the new co-exist with the old? What is “good” development? These are some of the questions this forum will attempt to address.
Okay, so I’m on the fence – sort of. Remember this proposed apartment complex at 933 University Avenue? After the Eastman House and other neighbors complained about the design, Morgan Management went back to the drawing board (or Photoshop or whatever) and they came back with this…
Last week Rochester’s Zoning Board heard public testimony, both in favor of, and in opposition to a developer’s plan to demolish a historic church at 660 W. Main St. in Rochester and replace it with a Dollar General store. Of all the comments made during that 2-3 hour hearing, the one drawing the most buzz was made by a member of the Zoning Board itself, Patrick Tobin . As an article in the D&C recounted, this board member expressed frustration that, “while preservationists and others urge them to protect these buildings, little is done to keep the structures from falling into severe disrepair.”
Mr. Tobin’s comment is similar to one I hear in the comments section of this blog quite frequently where preservation vs. demolition cases are discussed. Let me paraphrase… “If you loved the building so much then why didn’t you ‘preservationists’ do something about it until now? Why’d you wait until the property owner wants to tear it down?” There are so many things wrong with this line of thought there isn’t a comment box big enough for me to fit an answer in to.
Coincidentally (or should I say, as luck would have it), Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society, stepped up to the podium immediately after Mr. Tobin’s comment was fired at the preservation community. And, as I expected, Goodman took great exception to the remarks.
So I reached out to Goodman and asked him to help us understand why preservationists don’t do a better job of keeping these “historic” buildings from falling into disrepair. Goodman sent me the following statement…
“Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a city landmark, the old Federal Building is considered a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. No one’s particularly interested in using it, however, because inside it’s dark, gloomy, usually uncomfortable and just plain ramshackle. Blow it up. It’s an ugly thing…and not particularly interesting inside or out…It should be demolished. A modern, tax-producing building would be a better use for the site and would give more new life to that section of downtown…”
It had been assumed among some preservationists that Mayor Thomas Richards was directly responsible for pressuring the Zoning Board and Planning Commission prior to their respective votes to allow the demolition of the historic Cataract Brewhouse. That was the unofficial word coming from people inside City Hall, and it’s no secret that big business executive types like to stick together. Now, after the dust from that battle over preservation has finally settled, and the rubble has been cleared away, the Mayor is affirming those assumptions and declaring all out war on preservation.
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.
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