(Summerville) Beach Boy- The Rochester Roots of Al Jardine

The Rochester Music Hall of Fame, which will induct its ‘Class of 2019’ on April 28th, has honored a host of artists whose names are seemingly synonymous with the Flower City, as well as a number of entertainers whose connections to the area are not as readily apparent.

When the organization announced this year’s inductees in February, many locals may have been surprised to see the name Al Jardine on the list.

Jardine_postcard from california

Jardine’s debut solo album, 2010.

Jardine’s band, The Beach Boys, is perhaps as linked with California in the popular imagination as Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean. But before Al Jardine struck fame and fortune on the West Coast, the guitarist spent a few memorable years in Western New York.

Al Jardine was born in 1942 in Lima, Ohio to Virginia and Donald Jardine, a commercial photographer with the Lima Locomotive Works. Donald’s background helped land him a job with Eastman Kodak in 1949, leading the family to move to Rochester when Al was seven years old.

Jardine RIT_1950

Donald C. Jardine. From: Techmila.

Donald soon after joined the faculty of the Rochester Institute of Technology, initially teaching general education classes in industrial organization, English and cost estimating.


Headline announcing Donald Jardine et al’s appointment to R.I.T. Faculty. From: Democrat & Chronicle, September 4, 1949.

Known on campus as “Choo Choo” due to his love of locomotives, Donald Jardine went on to teach in the Photo Technology and Publishing & Printing departments, where he spearheaded the creation of a combination darkroom-cameraroom and designed the first industrial photography course ever offered at the college.


Donald “Choo Choo” Jardine at work. From: Techmila.

The Jardine family initially settled in a little pad on Sunset Street in the 24th Ward, before purchasing a home on Parkview Terrace in the idyllic Summerville Terraces tract of Irondequoit in 1950.

Developed in the 1920s on the site of the old Charles Salmon farm, Summerville Terraces  offered home buyers an enviable location at the juncture of the Genesee River and Lake Ontario.

Jardine_DC__May_7__1922_ tract

Map of the Summerville Terraces tract. From: Democrat & Chronicle, May 7, 1922.

An advertisement from May of 1922 boasted, “The view of the hills and the lake will appeal to your sense of the beautiful. The situation of Summerville Terraces, in the heart of the Summerville district, will convince you of the desirability of these sites as an investment… it is close in, at the edge of the most desirable part of the lake shore, and lots are rapidly being picked up. Get yours.”


Another advertisement showcasing Summerville’s merits. From: Democrat & Chronicle, May 28, 1922.

The subdivision’s unique offer of “lakeside privileges and city conveniences,” still held appeal when the Jardines purchased their Parkview Terrace home three decades after the Summerville lots first went on the market.

summerville map_2_irondequoit_1959

The fully developed Summerville Terraces subdivision  in 1959. From: Plat Book including Towns of Irondequoit and Brighton, Monroe Co., New York, 1959.

The locale’s lifestyle certainly appealed to young Al Jardine, who frequently played on the nearby beach and beat the heat by swimming in the cool, cool water of Lake Ontario.

“I had some great summers on Lake Ontario when I was 7 or 8,” he informed the Democrat & Chronicle in 1986, “but those winters—oooh, they were nasty.”

Al likely passed some of the time during those long nasty winters plucking away at the ukulele that his parents purchased him in Rochester, amassing skills that he could later transfer to the guitar. His musical inclinations also led him to learn the clarinet–his grandfather’s instrument–and join his elementary school orchestra, but his interest in the woodwind soon waned.

Whether or not these early local forays in musicianship proved formative to Jardine’s future as a rock & roll star, he later claimed that he “spent the best part of my young life” in Rochester and that the Summerville neighborhood “was the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived.”

Although Al’s beachside boyhood home was ideal, his father’s job at R.I.T. must have left something to be desired, as he took a position with a San Francisco-based company in 1952 and the family left Summerville for the even sunnier climes of California.

Jardine-west coast move

Headline from R.I.T. Reporter, June 6, 1952.

Three years later, the family moved to Hawthorne, California where a teenaged Al Jardine would meet fellow football player and aspiring musician, Brian Wilson.

And the rest, as they say…

IMG_2404 (1)

Al Jardine, furthest to the right, on the cover of one of the greatest albums ever recorded.


-Emily Morry



Published in: on April 4, 2019 at 5:30 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great Article!
    This is one of my favorite bands. I thought I knew everything about them but I didn’t know that Al lived in Rochester.
    Nice Job, Emily!

  2. thanks so much for your kind words mike! the beach boys are one of my favourite bands too.

  3. Hello Emily–On one of the film clip interviews with Al Jardine, from the recent Rochester Hall of Fame awards, Jardine mentions that his dad wrote a book, which in turn led to the job offer in San Francisco, forcing the family to move to California. A few fans, including myself, have been on a search for this book or a title. It has to do with either photography, or developing or blueprints or a combo of all of these things. Would you be able to check the Rochester Archives in the Library to see if something comes up for Donald Jardine? We’ve been unsuccessful in our search. Thanks. Panayiotis

    P.S. And please have a look at our website. Me and several other collectors from around the world have contributed to this over the last
    5-6 years, and we add new things every few weeks. Just click on the flag of any country, and then click on the yellow links. Enjoy. http://www.beachboys45.nl/

    • Hello, Sorry for the delayed reply. I was waiting to hear back from the archives at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Their collection includes two books written by Donald C. Jardine, one from 1958 and one from 1966. I’m not 100% positive that either of those titles is the one you’re looking for because Al claimed that his father wrote a book while he was teaching in Rochester, which was during the years 1949-1952. I have a hunch that what Donald Jardine wrote in Rochester was something of a typed up manual that was later published professionally in 1958.

      Here are the titles of the two books:

      Better Line Photography for Reproduction Plants: an advanced manual on some of the techniques of good quality line photography. (Culver City, CA: Scott Blueprint Co., 1958)

      Better Line and Halftone Photography for Graphic Reproduction Plants: an advanced manual on practical considerations, with some theory, for good quality line photography and a discussion of a halftone system tailored to duplicator needs. (Culver City, CA: Scott Blueprint Co., 1966).

      • Thanks for the reply. I think you might be right about the book Donald wrote, that got him the job in SF. These two you mention above were definitely done later. Either way…always good to have more info. Appreciate the effort. P.

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