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Posts Tagged ‘history of Rochester’...

Meet the Babcocks: A Typical American War Worker’s Family

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

The Babcocks, an American family. Rochester, NY. March, 1943. [PHOTO: Library of Congress]
Yesterday, the archival photo blog, Shorpy external link, shared a great photo of the Babcock family from Rochester NY. The image is one of a collection of 38 photographs external link by Ralph Amdursky for the U.S. Office of War Information. The series shows how the Babcocks, a “typical American war worker’s family,” lived in 1943 during the height of WWII…

(more…)

Sunday, January 27th, 2013
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Posted in Art + Culture, Rochester History, Rochester Images | 12 Comments »

RochesterSubway.com Talks at TEDxRochester

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Mike Governale at TEDxRochester. Mike is a designer, blogger, and founder of a local public transit advocacy group, Reconnect Rochester. [PHOTO: Jeffrey Hamson]
Last November I had the ridiculously huge privilege to give a talk at TEDxRochester. The gravity of the honor may have been too much for my little brain to comprehend. In fact, when they initially asked me to do it I said “no thanks” – twice. Long story short, I gave in. And I’m glad I did, because the experience was one of those “once in a lifetime” things.

Since much of my talk was influenced by you, RocSubway readers and participants, I thought you’d like to watch (and share) the official video which has just been released. A word of caution: I’m not the most riveting public speaker, but there is lots of good stuff buried within this 12-minute presentation, so watch thru to the end if you can…

(more…)

Monday, January 21st, 2013
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Posted in Opinion, Rochester History, Rochester News, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development, Video | 4 Comments »

Saving Car 60: The Last Passenger Car From Rochester’s Subway

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The last remaining Rochester subway car... #60. [PHOTO: Christopher Hauf, Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum]
Hopefully you caught yesterday’s story, “Rochester’s Adventure in Optimism” about the defunct Rochester subway. If you missed it give it a read. Originally published in the City Newspaper in 1983, the article mentioned the sole surviving subway car, car #60, and the effort to bring it back to Rochester and restore it to working order. Yesterday I received a more detailed explanation of those restoration efforts from Otto M. Vondrak, one of the trustees of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum in Henrietta, NY. Here’s the story of subway car #60 from Otto…

(more…)

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
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Posted in Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester News, Rochester Subway, Rochester Subway Stories, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure | 2 Comments »

West Main Street. c1908?

Friday, January 11th, 2013

View of Main Street, Rochester, NY. c.1908. [PHOTO: Detroit Publishing Co. via Library of Congress]
Here’s one heck of a photo – Rochester’s Main Street around the turn of the last century. It was snapped from a fire escape at 102 W. Main, near the corner of N. Plymouth Avenue, looking east. Make sure you click on the image and zoom all the way in for all the incredible detail. Across the street you’ll notice some pretty major landmarks. The most obvious one being Hotel Rochester on the far right…

(more…)

Friday, January 11th, 2013
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | 16 Comments »

Left for Dead: Rochester’s Union Depot

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Rochester's NY Central (Bragdon) Station half demolished, c.1970? [PHOTO VIA: John R. Stewart]
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 external link 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…

(more…)

Friday, November 9th, 2012
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Posted in Rochester History, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 11 Comments »

Snapshots of Rochester’s Labor Days

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Six unidentified female railroad workers pose at Lincoln Park Station. The railroad line is the Buffalo, Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway Company. In 1917-1918, many jobs traditionally held by men were filled by women, while the men served in the Armed Services in World War I. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone Collection]
“I believe when we’re born into this world we’re entrusted with certain things. Our grandparents trust that we’ll work hard to keep and maintain the world that they’ve broken themselves to build. And our children need us to preserve it, and leave it a little bit better than how we inherited it. Preservation is often difficult. But in many ways it’s all we have to keep us grounded; as a society and as people. Future generations need to know what came before them. What was it that made this city great? Who designed and built this place? Who worked here and why? If we destroy the evidence, we cut our children off from the answers forever; and impede our own ability to progress.”

These are words I live by. They’re also the reason I keep this web site. While my family and I are enjoying this sunny Labor Day weekend on the shores of Lake Ontario, I’ll take pause to think about why we have it so damn good in this time and place. For me, the answer can be found in the portraits that follow. These are some of the men, woman, and even children who labored to make the way of life we enjoy today…

(more…)

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | 6 Comments »

Today, August 25, in Rochester History: Railroad Disaster Claims 29; Injures 62

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Scene of terrible disaster on Lehigh Valley Railroad near Rochester N.Y. on August 25, 1911. [PHOTO: A. Newman, Copyright 1911]
One of the deadliest accidents* in our area’s history took place exactly 100 years ago today. 29 people were killed and 62 injured when a Lehigh Valley Railroad train derailed about 20 miles east of Rochester. According to investigators at the time, it was a defective rail on a 400 foot bridge in Manchester, NY that shattered into seventeen pieces and sent at least 3 of the cars into Canandaigua Outlet. Newspaper reports described the scene as a “twisted and splintered mass of wreckage.”

(more…)

Thursday, August 25th, 2011
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Train/Railroad Stuff | 17 Comments »

55th Anniversary of Rochester’s Darkest Day

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

These notices were posted in anticipation of the end of passenger service in the Subway on June 30, 1956. [Image from Railroad.net]

As we look back on 55 years without our subway, the U.S. Highway System celebrates its 55th birthdayexternal link. Coincidence?

Some old photos of Rochester’s lost subway after the jump…

(more…)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester Subway, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure | 7 Comments »

Vintage Views of Rochester; 178 and counting…

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Greetings from Rochester! Now you can flip thru my entire collection of vintage Rochester postcard images on Flickr. New views will be added regularly.
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…

(more…)

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | 3 Comments »

Today, February 26, in Rochester History: Rochester Swept by Great Fire

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Fire fighters on Main Street using hoses in an attempt to douse the embers of the February 26, 1904 Sibley Fire. In this view, the Granite building is to the left. This photo was actually taken the day after the fire from the top of the Whitcomb House (Feb. 27, 1904).

On February 26, 1904 a fire leveled 1¾ acres of the Main Street shopping district. The fire started in the Rochester Dry Goods Company and the flames quickly spread west to Saint Paul Street and north across Division Street via a footbridge. Faulty electrical wires in an elevator shaft were to blame. More photos after the jump

(more…)

Saturday, February 26th, 2011
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | 3 Comments »

Rochester’s (inspiring) Old Railroad Stations

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

The interior of Rochester's missing rail station. The main waiting room with high arching windows and ornate ceiling would rival New York's Grand Central Station if it were around today.Lots of news has been brewing lately over the future of Rochester’s beat-up, 32-year-old Amtrak station on Central Avenue. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter recently announced that a $1.5 million federal stimulus grant has been awarded to New York state to plan for a new multi-modal station on the site. A $2.5 million appropriation to pay for the station design is expected to pass Congress next month. And Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has just made it abundantly clearexternal link that New York will take whatever federal money is left on the table by newly elected GOP governors in Ohio and Wisconsin.

So for now, let’s just assume that something very interesting is in the works for our pitiful excuse for a train station. This is the perfect time to take a step back in time—to be inspired by Rochester’s grand old stations…

(more…)

Saturday, November 6th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Train/Railroad Stuff | 20 Comments »

Struggle in Smugtown: A History of Rochester’s Working Class

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Shawn Wilkinson, a friend and member of Reconnect Rochesterexternal link, recently tipped me off to this documentary; Struggle in Smugtown. “Smugtown” is the not-so-flattering nickname given to Rochester by newspaper writer G. Curtis Gerlingexternal link and also the title of his book Smugtown, USA. The “Struggle” refers to that of the working man and woman. I think you’ll find this to be a fascinating look into the social and economic history of our little town.

Watch all 15 segments of this film
(including this one on Transportation in Rochester).

(more…)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images | No Comments »

Summer Subway FREEBIES! Free Rochester Wallpapers

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Dress up your PC with free Rochester wallpapers.
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…

(more…)

Saturday, July 31st, 2010
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Posted in Freebies, Rochester Images | 11 Comments »

Today, June 30, in Rochester History: Final Day of Subway Service.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

On this day, June 30, 1956 in Rochester history…

The last car—the last run—midnight June 30, 1956. Car 68 is pictured at Rowlands ready to depart on the last trip to General Motors. The farewell trip was well attended by members of the Rochester Chapter, NRHS and subway employees (photo: John Wilkins, Shelden King Collection)

Service on the Rochester Industrial and Rapid Transit Railway (the “subway”) ended. According to several accounts, the public came out in force to bid farewell to the Rochester subway and an extra car had to be added to handle the crowds. Fifty members of the Metropolitan New York Railway Association held a chartered fantrip, and people crowded platforms and overhead bridges all along the subway route to get their last pictures…

(more…)

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester Subway, Train/Railroad Stuff | 2 Comments »

Rochester: A City of Quality (1963)

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

Rochester: A City of Quality (1963)
In light of some of recent civic developments in our town over the past few months (high speed rail, transit centers, new theaters, etc.) I thought it appropriate to pull this old film out of the archives to take a look at the history of Rochester through the eyes of some good old-fashioned propaganda. Rochester: A City of Quality is the title of a film made in 1963 by Rochester Gas and Electric. The film presents Rochester in the most glowing light possible through a narrative that is clearly a product of Cold War industrialism. In one section the narrator declares “Rochester has made peace with the automobile”. And in another, “Change is necessary to keep competitive in industry as well as cities. If you don’t change, change will change you.”

(more…)

Saturday, June 19th, 2010
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Posted in Art + Culture, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Video | 2 Comments »

Rochester’s 7th Most Beautiful Train Station in the U.S.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

An old photo of Rochester's Bragdon NY Central Station. Ranked #7 on a recent list of top 10 most beautiful demolished rail stations.
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.

(more…)

Thursday, January 7th, 2010
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure, Urban Development | 17 Comments »

1906 Panorama and More Old Photos of Rochester, NY

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

Here's a vintage postcard we recently acquired depicting the south entrance to the Rochester Subway (circa 1928).
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…

Here's a vintage postcard we recently acquired depicting the south entrance to the Rochester Subway (circa 1928).
(more…)

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester Subway | 6 Comments »

Tokens of Rochester’s Past

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Various Rochester transit tokens from the collection of RochesterSubway.com. All tokens are available for purchase.

We’ve been scouring the internet, libraries, archives, and antique shops all over western New York in search of anything we can get our hands on that may have had anything to do with Rochester’s subway. It’s all fair game— from old photos, postcards, tickets and passes—even stories and opinions from our readers. In our searching we’ve learned that the tiniest subway finds are usually the coolest. Case in point—tokens—at just 16mm (that’s millimeters), many of these coins are small enough to get stuck up your noseexternal link. But don’t try it. Trust us.

(more…)

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester Gifts, Rochester History, Rochester Subway, Train/Railroad Stuff | 2 Comments »

Rochester Subway on StrangeMaps

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Cover of the book,

Recently, a popular blog known as Strangemaps external link posted an article about our 2008 Rochester Subway map called “Pipe Dreams, or the Rochester Ghost Subway” external link.

(more…)

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
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Posted in Rochester Gifts, Rochester History, Rochester Subway, Transit + Infrastructure | 4 Comments »

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