Have you ever discovered a piece of living history in your own home? It can be a thrilling moment when something that’s been hiding under your feet (or above your head) for decades suddenly reveals itself, opening a little window onto the past.
Last week Brenda Washington sent us these photos and a note that read:
“Hello! I have a home in the Highland section of town (circa 1870) and have a really cool wooden block “for sale” sign that was found in the attic, from Neil Real Estate Co. Its a pretty cool sign… Never have seen one like it!”
We know the feeling, Brenda. And we’re happy to share your discovery. Here are the photos of the sign and an old Rochester business directory Brenda also found from 1921 showing an old advertisement for Neil Real Estate Co…
Last week, Carnegie Place was largely destroyed by fire. Its life spanned some of the most crucial and drastically changing times in Rochester’s history. I had a chance to stop by after the fire and take some photographs of a building I have always enjoyed; in a part of town that was vibrant and still is the heart of the arts movement in Rochester…
Last summer Rochester developer and restauranteur, John Tachin called up RocSubway with a history mystery for us to solve. After four months of digging, we came up empty. But here’s hoping maybe YOU can help us solve the case of the stone lions.
Here’s a fun little history mystery that I could use your help with. Jeannine Klee, owner of Parkleigh on Park Avenue recently acquired this Venetian glass chandelier from a friend who claims it once hung inside the original B. Forman Co. department store in downtown Rochester. The fixture, now on display above the candy counter at Parkleigh, is quite beautiful. But, could it really be from B. Forman Co.?
You may recall last year when Otto Vondrak told us the story of how the sole survivor of the Rochester subway fleet, Car 60, found its way home to Rochester. Since 1998 the car has been at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum awaiting restoration. To be perfectly honest, most of the volunteers who were involved in its return to Rochester passed on, putting restoration efforts on the back burner. But now, finally, this Sunday the museum will kick off a fundraising (and awareness building) campaign to restore Rochester Subway Car 60 for the public to enjoy once again…
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…
In part one of our three part Charlotte bonanza, we looked briefly at the history of Charlotte, from its formation in 1792, through its resort years and annexation in the early 20th century. In part two, we’ll look at Charlotte as it is today. Let’s start with the lay of the land. Shown above is the official definition of the city’s neighborhoods. As you know, Charlotte is the one at the top. Zooming in (and switching to Google maps) here’s what we see…
Welcome, readers, to the first of a three part series on Charlotte. This first part will serve as an introduction to the series and a brief history of Charlotte. The second part will be a survey, in the engineering sense, of the current state of Charlotte. It will include the demographics of the neighborhood and the built environment, as they exist today. Finally, the third part will layout a vision for Charlotte that works to harness all of the potential of the neighborhood. This final part will be broken into recommendations for residential and commercial development, transportation, and governance.
The plans described here will be ambitious, but we shouldn’t let ourselves shy away from ambition – as you may know, Charlotte has recently been in the news over some redevelopment plans. While Filling-In believes both plans have virtues, they both have numerous weaknesses as well. Because we are unassociated with any of the plans currently in play, and will believe they are built when we see it, the plans presented here will assume they did not happen, and instead will show a different vision of Charlotte’s future.
No, the headline isn’t in reference to the recent controversy surrounding the port development. I wanted to take a look back, at the “good ole days,” when Ontario Beach was known as the Coney Island of central and western New York. Here’s a birds eye of view of all the shiny happy fun… The Dentzel carousel. The L.A. Thompson’s Scenic Railway. The Auditorium (a.k.a. the House of Hilarity). Such good times.
Then I noticed the peculiar site of smoke and flames in the background (click the image for a larger view). Holy smokes! Charlotte is burning! Somebody call 9-1-1!!
Many of you kids will be too young to remember this – thank heavens. But five years ago on this very day, Rochester NY made national headlines when it was slammed by one of the worst food shortages in our nation’s history—possibly the world. That’s right. Popeyes up on Lake Ave ran out of chicken…
The other day my three-year-old was shooting video of his stuffed animals with his big sister’s iPad, and a wave of nostalgia crashed over me. I suddenly realized my kids will probably never get to experience joy of film photography. They’ll never understand the thrill of loading a fresh roll into the back of a camera. They’ll never feel those mechanical clicks and vibrations of the film advancing to the next frame. And they’ll never know the excitement of getting a stack of pictures back from the developer.
How would I even explain this antique technology to them? I know, I’ll Google it. Hey what do you know, here’s an old manual for the Kodak Brownie Camera (No. 2)…
Today’s Fun Foto Friday is this 1920’s view of the Erie Canal aqueduct looking east. You’re looking at the covering over the old canal which would soon become Broad Street and the Rochester Subway beneath. In the background (center) is the Osburn House hotel. Eventually Broad Street would be extended eastward, right through that hotel. The stairwell to the City Hall subway station can be seen at the street corner. And next to the stairs, notice the construction site…
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.
The Ehrmentraut Farm Bridge is easily one of the oldest and most unique bridges in the entire United States, and that kind of distinction is something that piques my interest. There isn’t exactly a ton of information out there on the internet about old bridges on private property, but I’ve managed to piece together its pretty cool history, and then went to check it out myself…
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…
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.