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 know I keep coming back to this over and over and over again. But I just can’t believe we intentionally reduced this once world-class rail station to rubble only so we could pay tens of millions 50 years later in an attempt to build a much smaller and less impressive imitation of what we once had.
I’m not going to say much more about it. I just wanted to share these recently found photos of Rochester’s half-demolished NY Central (Bragdon) Station. Like a decapitated, rotting corpse left to rot in public as a reminder of a brutal ‘auto’cracy. Most of the building was torn down in the 1960’s but one section stood like this for over a decade before it was finally removed altogether and replaced with the current Amtrak building in the mid to late 70’s. Oy, how painful…
I’m a bit late on this but maybe this will be news to you. Some time last year, a notable infrastructure blog called The Infrastructurist, published a list of the top 10 greatest rail stations ever built. Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest examples of 20th Century American architecture is Rochester’s NY Central Station. What? You’ve never heard of it? That’s probably because it’s not with us anymore — may she rest in peace. The NY Central Station was demolished in 1965. In it’s place, the pretty little Amtrak Station you know and love today. In fact, all of the buildings on the Infrastructurist’s list are no longer.
With the latest wave of federal stimulus , suddenly a storm of ideas and proposals are pouring down on downtown. In one corner, Governor David Paterson and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter are reigniting a movement in support of a new high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City. Slaughter wants to see Renaissance Square funds reallocated toward building a new train/bus station built where the old Amtrak station is now on Central Avenue . In the opposite corner, County Exec Maggie Brooks and Senator Charles Schumer are pushing ahead with demolition plans in preparation for Ren Square. Poor Mayor Duffy doesn’t know whether to take sides or run for cover.*
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
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NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.