Out of the Loop Pt. 4: A Look at the Neighborhoods of the Inner Loop

As we saw in parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, the construction of the first three sections of the Inner Loop required a massive amount of property demolition and resulted in the remapping of Rochester’s center city. The route’s fourth segment, completed in 1962, proved even more destructive than its forbears.

The .9 mile arc more or less ran along the original route of Cumberland Street, beginning at Front Street on the City’s west side and ending at North Street on the east.


“A” marks the fourth leg of the loop. From: Democrat & Chronicle, August 20, 1958.

As the route cut through a densely populated, mixed-use area, it necessitated a considerable amount of property razing. More than 250 residential and commercial buildings were toppled to make way for the new loop segment.

In the spring of 1957, four blocks worth of businesses near the New York Central Railroad Station met the wrecking ball.

Not everyone was sad to see the aging structures go.

A pro-loop editorial published in the Democrat & Chronicle that November referred to the razed edifices as “architectural monstrosities and crumbling flea bags.”


The Post Office is at the center of this circa 1960 aerial photograph depicting the dramatic demolition done in the name of the Inner Loop. The New York Central Railroad Station is at top right.  From: Democrat & Chronicle, July 26, 1960.

Among the bygone buildings in the train station neighborhood was the Railroad YMCA at 9 Hyde Park Street, a short road that once stood on the west side of the central Post Office (visible in the photo above).

The original Railroad YMCA branch was founded in the early 1900s to cater to transient railroad workers, offering them room, board, and entertainment. But by the time the branch moved into the Hyde Park structure in 1932, train crews had begun to bypass Rochester, and the institution’s import started to fade.

In 1955, the location ceased functioning as the headquarters for railroad men and was converted into a boarding house. Two longtime railroad worker residents refused to relocate, and remained tenants of the timeworn hostelry until its demolition in the fall of 1957.


The last location of the Railroad YMCA at 9 Hyde Park Street. From: Democrat & Chronicle, March 24, 1957.


Demolition of the YMCA as seen from the rear of the building. From: Democrat & Chronicle October 25, 1957.


The current site of the Railroad YMCA near Joseph Avenue in the vicinity of the New York Trailways station. Googlemaps, 2018.

Not far from the Railroad YMCA stood another longtime neighborhood institution, The Hotel Gilliard.

Il4_gilliard map 1935

The Hotel Gilliard, later the Saeger Hotel, stood at 218 Clinton Avenue North. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.

The establishment at the northeast corner of Clinton Ave North and Cumberland Street was founded in 1886 by Valentine Gilliard, a German immigrant who had previously worked in a number of local saloons. His three story hostelry boasted 20 rooms in addition to the tavern on its main floor.


Hotel Gilliard circa 1916. From: The Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, N.Y.

Valentine Gilliard ran the family business until he took ill in 1893, and, in a bout of apparent insanity brought on by his physical suffering, tragically shot himself on the roof of the hotel.

The Gilliards later sold the inn, but it retained the family name through the Prohibition era, during which the hotel endured several raids by dry agents. The hotel continued operations till the State claimed it in 1957.


The Hotel Gilliard appears on the right side of the street on the far side of the intersection pictured in this circa 1890 photograph.


The site today. Googlemaps, 2019.

Following the decimation of the railroad station neighborhood, a host of businesses and residences on St. Paul Street and Water Street met their fate.

Some did not go gently into the good night, however.

The Joseph A. Schantz Furniture Company had maintained two sizeable edifices at the intersection of St. Paul Street and Central Avenue since 1911. An eponymously named commercial building stood on the east side of St. Paul Street, while the company’s six-story furniture warehouse, stood on the west side.


The Schantz company owned two buildings that faced each other on St. Paul Street at Central Avenue. Note the original location of the Frederick Douglass monument between the Schantz structures. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.

The former came down fairly handily.


The Schantz Building stands on the left side of this photograph from October 1958. From the Collection of the Rochester Public Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division.


The same site from a slightly different angle in 1960, sans Schantz Building. From the Collection of the Rochester Public Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division.

The warehouse was more stubborn.

Neither cranes nor steel balls proved able to destroy the edifice. Construction workers were eventually reduced to using torches to slash the building’s reinforcing rods, before cranes could be brought in to rip out the rubbled pieces.

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The Schantz warehouse building lies behind the Douglass monument in this circa 1941 photograph.

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The approximate site of the Schantz warehouse today lies at the corner of St. Paul and the rerouted Cumberland Street. Googlemaps, 2019

In addition to the hundreds of buildings it consumed in its wake, the loop’s fourth section was also responsible for gutting one of the city’s oldest parks.

Franklin Square (now known as Schiller Park) located between Cumberland and Andrews Streets, was opened to the public in 1826.

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Franklin Square circa 1833. NB: Cumberland Street was formerly called Bowery Street. City of Rochester Map, 1833.

In addition to providing 19th century downtown residents with a pastoral setting in which to unwind, the small park hosted amateur baseball club games in the 1850s and 1860s and later served as the site of numerous political demonstrations.

The following century, Franklin Square became home to the city’s Spanish-American War Memorial, a bronze eagle designed by noted sculptor, Carl Paul Jennewein.


The regal eagle standing atop a reflecting pool at the northern end of Franklin Square. Note the Post Office and St. Luke’s Church in the background.   From: Democrat & Chronicle, July 6, 1941.

In 1960, less than twenty years after the bronze eagle landed in Franklin Square, the northern half of the historic park was lobbed off to make way for the loop, and the Spanish-American eagle took flight.

IL4_post-franklin square

The site today. Googlemaps, 2018.

Franklin Square was decimated.

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The original layout of Franklin Square seen in the late 1940s. From: Democrat & Chronicle, January 4, 1948.


The stub of the square that remains post-loop, now called Schiller Park. Googlemaps, 2018.

The eagle fortunately found a new perch beside the Community War Memorial (now Blue Cross Arena).


From: Democrat & Chronicle, August 18, 1960.


The eagle in its current home beside the Blue Cross Arena. From: Morry.

After almost three years worth of demolition carried out in its name, construction on the loop’s fourth arc finally began in March 1960.

Despite the extensive destruction that the new route had wrought, many maintained that the Inner Loop offered a path to progress. As one Democrat & Chronicle writer opined in March 1961: “We look at the loop now—the finished part of it—and we use it with the realization that Rochester would be literally choking to death on traffic without it. Every day the genius of this loop concept becomes more apparent.”


The next post in this series will detail the changes brought about by the loop’s fifth and final segment.

-Emily Morry





Published in: on February 26, 2019 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

“The Doctor Who Would Come”: Anthony Leopold Jordan (18 September 1896-19 December 1971)

Heading east on Route 104, between Greece and Irondequoit, off to the right at 800 Carter Street, one can see a health care facility. Now called the Joseph C. Wilson Health Center, for several years in the early 2000s it was named the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center, the second such facility before Jordan Health expanded to incorporate the multiple locations it operates in Rochester and Canandaigua. According to its website, the mission of Jordan Health is “steeped in service to underserved and uninsured residents, meeting their need for comprehensive health services.” But who was Anthony Jordan? Why was the health center named after him and what contributions did he make to the Rochester area?


Dr. Anthony L. Jordan (Democrat & Chronicle, March 26, 1967)

Anthony Leopold Jordan was born on September 18th, 1896 in Georgetown, Guyana, where he attended Queen’s College. It is said that following graduation he taught at the college for some time, but a desire to receive training as a lawyer encouraged him to emigrate. He arrived in the United States on June 27th 1919, having sailed to Miami via Havana, Cuba.

Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at Howard University, a Historically Black College in the nation’s capital. His legal training was cut short, however, when he was informed that law was not a “Black man’s career,” and that Black lawyers often had few clients. Seeking a more lucrative profession, Jordan changed his focus to medicine.

Graduating from Howard in 1926, he pursued a medical internship at Richardson Memorial Hospital in Greensboro (Guilford County), North Carolina and later established his practice at High Point in the same county. The family was not happy with the climate there (perhaps racially as well as meteorologically), and so they moved north. They first settled in Newburgh (Orange County), New York, and later relocated to Rochester in 1932.

Setting up a solo practice at the height of the Great Depression was perhaps not the wisest approach for a young and struggling physician. Establishing himself at 136 Adams Street (in Corn Hill, Rochester’s renowned Third Ward), he soon found that much of his business came from the city’s Seventh Ward, a multicultural area in northeast Rochester including  North Clinton, Joseph and Hudson Avenues. Then as now, the neighborhood was largely working class and poor, and though many doctors would not serve its population, Dr. Jordan did. He was known as “the doctor who would come,” when and where he was needed. He continued to make house calls (though many of his colleagues didn’t) until the end of his life when his failing eyesight forced him to stop practicing medicine.

anthony jordan_map3

Portion of the 7th Ward, focus of Dr. Jordan’s practice.

Even before Dr. Jordan was financially stable, he offered his services free of charge to patients in need. He spent many Sunday afternoons giving free examinations to college students and to children going to summer camp. Later in life, he not only provided free medical services to his more indigent patients, but he would also dip into his own pocket for them.

After the establishment of Medicaid in the 1960s, his devotion to the underserved in Rochester was rewarded as he became one of the physicians paid by the county to treat individuals receiving government assistance. He was also honored with a Presidential Citation from the New York State Medical Society for outstanding service.

Dr. Jordan was as committed to education as he was to medicine. He was an active supporter of the United Negro College Fund, which provides funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He was also a major financial backer of the Ralph Bunche Scholarship, established by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The scholarship provided financial assistance for inner-city youth to attend college, regardless of race, color, ethnicity or gender.

Jordan supported additional uplift efforts through his involvement with the NAACP. Throughout the 1950s, he and other members of the organization worked for greater minority hiring in the city. One of his principal concerns was the lack of African American officers on the Rochester police force. He was also a big proponent of young Black professionals in various fields, serving as a mentor to help them establish a foothold in the local economy.

Dr. Jordan is said to have been a member of half a dozen different community organizations. The only thing that eventually managed to slow him down was his failing health. Two months before his death, he entered Genesee Hospital for cancer surgery. Upon release, he was transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City for cobalt treatments. He was never discharged. He died from his ailment on December 19, 1971 at age 75. Today, his mortal remains are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

The year after Dr. Jordan’s death, the People’s Health Council, upon a motion of board member David Gantt, unanimously agreed to name the new health center on Holland Street in his honor.


Anthony L. Jordan Health Center at 82 Holland Street.

-Christopher Brennan

For More Information:

“About Us,” Jordan Health (http://www.jordanhealth.org/about-us/#history : accessed 6 January 2019).

“Dr. Anthony Jordan,” [obituary], Democrat and Chronicle, 20 December 1971, p. 3B.

Hamm, Mrs. James H., [Letter to the editor], Democrat and Chronicle, 2 January 1972, Section F, p. 3.

Neighborhood and Its Health Care: Annual Report of the Anthony L. Jordan Health Center (Rochester, New York : The Center, 1972).

“Today’s Bouquet,” Democrat and Chronicle, 17 February 1965, p. 8.

United States Naturalization Service, Declaration of Intent, no. 143915 (1919), Anthony Jeopold [sic] Jordan; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 January 1919).


Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 10:00 am  Comments (1)  

Down on the Corner: Taverns and Transformations in the Bull’s Head Neighborhood

bulls head_plaza now

Bull’s Head Plaza (Googlemaps, 2019)

Bull’s Head Plaza, which has stood on the southeast corner of West Main and Genesee Streets since the early 1950s, will soon undergo a transformation as part of an Urban Renewal plan designed to revitalize one of Rochester’s oldest neighborhoods.

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The Plaza and the surrounding Bull’s Head neighborhood. City of Rochester Map, 2019

The Plaza has been a fixture in the area for over half a century, but the corner on which it stands is no stranger to change, having experienced a number of metamorphoses over the past 200 years, going back to when it housed the very tavern that gave the Bull’s Head neighborhood its name.

According to the 19th century reminiscences of Rochester resident George W. Fisher, “In the early settlement of the country before Rochester was a village, an old wood building stood at the intersection of Genesee Street and Buffalo Road, kept as a country tavern. Suspended from a post on the road side hung the ponderous tavern sign, lettered on both sides ‘Bull’s Head Tavern.’”

Sources vary on the tavern’s establishment date, but it was likely erected sometime between 1808 and 1813, when Buffalo Street (now West Main Street) was a crude, forest-enveloped stage road leading westward to Batavia and points beyond. Genesee Street and  Brown Street, also well traveled thoroughfares at the time, provided passage to developing settlements to the north and south.

The Bull’s Head Tavern thus became a popular stopping point for travelers heading to and from Rochester, and served as the namesake of the nascent neighborhood surrounding the crossroads.

The advantageous location was not lost on Derrick Sibley and Joseph Field, two settlers from New England, who envisioned the hub as a bustling cattle market on Rochester’s outskirts, akin to the Brighton Market just outside of Boston. In 1827, the pair purchased several acres of property at the tavern site and replaced the old wooden frame building with a three-story stone structure.

bulls head-tavern drawing

A sketch of the stone version of the Bull’s Head Tavern (From: Bull’s Head Economy-Aide, February 6, 1936, Vol. 1, No.2)

Legend has it that a salt-laden spring in the area was reserved for bovines bound for Rochester, and that the quadrupeds were encouraged to drink from it handsomely, thus inflating their weight (and value) by the time they reached the market scales.

Though the enterprise attracted additional settlers to the Bull’s Head neighborhood, the cattle market did not prove successful, and by 1831, Sibley and Field had decided to pursue other ventures (Field went on to become Mayor of Rochester in 1848).

bulls head_1831 ad

From: Rochester Republican, May 10, 1831.

The tavern didn’t stay on the market long. In 1832, new proprietor John Masury posted an advertisement painting the Bull’s Head Tavern as an idyllic getaway for Rochester residents and passers through alike. The ad boasted:

“This establishment has lately been fitted up as a pleasant retreat from the noise and bustle of business—about one mile from the center of attraction—on the Buffalo Road. It is hoped that the present occupant will receive encouragement suitable to his exertions.”

The stone building would go on to house a different kind of retreat the following decade, when it was purchased by Dr. Hatfield Halsted.

Halsted, who billed himself as a “Magnetic Physician,” had previously operated a drug store on Buffalo Street for a number of years, where he sold “electric pills” and three different varieties of “Magnetic Ether.” In 1844, Dr. Halsted purchased the tavern property with the intent to transform it into a “Motorpathic Institute and Water Cure,” taking advantage of the nearby sulphur spring and ample supply of rock water.

As Halsted explained in a Rochester Daily Advertiser promotional article from 1846,  “I have become convinced that I can have access to as good, and all things considered, better water at this location, for treating all kinds of disease in the most successful manner, than can be obtained in any other situation.”

bulls head_halsted ad

A circa July 1852 advertisement for Halsted’s practice featured in the Rochester Daily Democrat.

Halsted claimed that by combining Hydropathy (water therapy) with his “Magnetic Remedies,” he could help cure a host of ailments including gout, dyspepsia, St. Anthony’s Fire, St. Vitus’ Dance, nervous diseases and “female difficulties.”[1]

The doctor welcomed patients at Halsted Hall until 1854, after which he moved on to a new water cure practice in Northampton, Massachusetts.

bulls head_halstead hall

Bull’s Head area circa 1851, featuring Halsted Hall on the southeast corner of Buffalo (now West Main) and Genesee Streets. From: Plan of the City of Rochester, N.Y./surveyed & drawn by Marcus Smith & B. Callan. New York: M. Dripps, 1851.

The building Halsted left behind served as a quasi-medical facility once again in the 1860s, as it housed the overflow of wounded Civil War soldiers seeking care at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Following the war, the edifice was remodeled as St. Mary’s Boys’ Orphan Asylum. In 1871, a new orphanage building was constructed beside the former tavern, which was repurposed as a branch of St. Patrick’s Parochial School.

bulls head_1875 map

St Mary’s Boys’ Orphan Asylum, including the stone tavern structure on the left and the new orphanage building on the right, circa 1875. From: City of Rochester Plat Map, 1875.

The historic tavern building remained at the corner of West Main and Genesee Streets until 1909, when it was torn down to make room for the orphanage’s expansion.

bulls head_1910 map

The expanded St. Mary’s institution, along with St. Patrick’s Orphan Girls’ Asylum, in 1910. From: City of Rochester Plat Map, 1910.

The orphanage met its fate a few decades later, when it too was razed, making way for the much anticipated Bull’s Head Plaza.


-Emily Morry


[1] St. Anthony’s Fire, in addition to being a stellar potential band name, refers to poisoning by ergot, a fungus grown on rye grass. St. Vitus’ Dance, also a decent candidate for a band name, is an antiquated term for Sydenham’s Chorea, a neurological disorder characterized by rapid movements of the limbs and face. “Female Difficulties” (not recommended by this author as a band name), may have referred to any number of gynecological conditions.

Published in: on January 31, 2019 at 9:24 am  Comments (1)  

Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!

If you grew up in Rochester in the last quarter of the 20th century, there’s a good chance you took at least one ride on the monorail at Midtown Plaza.

Midtown’s monorail figures prominently in the holiday memories of many Rochesterians, but as it happens, the mall’s elevated train was not made locally, nor was it unique to Rochester.


The colorful monorail in 2007. Photographer: Ira Srole.

The first kiddie train of this kind was developed in the 1940s. Illinois-based inventor, Clinton B. Clark, got the idea for the tot-sized tram while working for a department store in Milwaukee. The company’s president expressed the desire for a train that would run above the store’s display cases, thereby conserving floor space for retail items.

Clark put his tinkering skills to work at his home in Oak Park (that’s a suburb), and in 1942, filed a patent for his overhead monorail train.

He spent the 1940s and 1950s hanging monorails from the ceilings of the toy departments of several major retailers including Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia, Sears in Chicago, and Rich’s in Atlanta. Clark claimed that his invention attracted about 100,000 riders to each store annually (and by gum, it put them on the map!).

Clark’s monorail instantly attracted Midtown Plaza’s promotional manager when he saw one on display at the convention of the International Council on Shopping Centers in 1968. As Robert M. Fender explained to the Democrat & Chronicle, “The other items displayed for promotional purposes were ice shows and puppet shows and similar items…Then I saw this monorail and just knew Midtown couldn’t go through another Christmas without it.”

Apart from being infinitely more exciting than a puppet show, the monorail bore additional advantages to retailers.

Not only did the overhead train allow stores to maximize their floor space for purchasable goods, but it also gave its little passengers a panoramic view of these same products.

Clark maintained that the monorail would attract repeat visits from children, who, in turn, would draw their pocketbook-toting parents into the store.

Construction on Midtown Plaza’s bonafide electrified monorail began in September 1968, and its last piece was put in place mere minutes before the store opened for the train’s grand debut on November 29th.


Children lining up to ride the train in 2007. Photographer: Ira Srole.

Featuring two trains of two cars each, Midtown’s monorail accommodated 32 passengers at a time, and traveled three miles an hour along a circular route above the mall’s central concourse. The elevated train became an instant fixture of the holiday season in Rochester, drawing thousands of children every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


The monorail gliding above the central concourse during its final season in 2007. Photographer: Ira Srole.

The ride was briefly retired in the late 1990s, but resurrected during the 2000 Christmas season.

The revival was short-lived.

The train made its final stop on Christmas Eve 2007, two months after the plans to demolish Midtown Plaza were announced. The monorail was dismantled piece by piece and placed in a storage facility, where it sat untouched for years.

During the demolition of Midtown Plaza, the City made arrangements with the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation, which allowed the City to donate the train as long as it was exhibited in a publicly accessible space and not used for profit. The City offered the artifact to a variety of local institutions, but the train had no takers until this year.

This past summer, City Council voted to send the relic railcars to the New York Museum of Transportation in Rush, NY. A car will also be on display at the Roc Holiday Village in Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park this December.

Though the monorail won’t run again–it wouldn’t meet the current electrical code–visitors can catch a glimpse of the timeworn train and relish in the memories of rides past.

-Emily Morry




Published in: on November 21, 2018 at 9:49 am  Comments (1)  

ABC: The American Brewing Company and Beer Brewing in Rochester, 1855-1950, Part 2

What does one do when the central focus of one’s manufacturing facility and very reason for being, is declared illegal? What is a businessman to do when his product has been banned outright, and if he continues to make the product, he risks going to jail? Many brewers faced this dilemma in 1917 when the Prohibition amendment was approved by Congress and passed to the states for ratification. The amendment passed in 1919 and went into effect in January 1920.

Fortunately, the officers of these firms had warning and had time to plan for an orderly transition. Some simply acquiesced to the new law and went out of business. Some, like Budweiser, refocused on the essential ingredients of their product. Anheuser-Busch sold malt extract and yeast (both legal products), which could be used to make varieties of bread. Of course, members of the public could (and did) use both products to make their own home-brewed beer!

ABC2-cider ad

Advertisement for Rochester Food Products Corporation,
Prohibition-Era Successor to the American Brewing Company
(Democrat and Chronicle, 27 October 1920)

Other companies went into business making other legal products. Rochester’s largest pre-Prohibition brewer, Bartholomay Brewing Company, was converted into a company selling dairy products (specifically milk, cream, butter and ice cream). In the case of the American Brewing Company (ABC), they diversified their manufacturing. They changed their name to the Rochester Food Products Corporation, selling malt extract (like Anheuser-Busch), as well as apple cider, vinegar, and Rochester Special “near beer,” a legal product that contained less than ½ of 1% (0.05) alcohol. Brewing of near beer meant the brewery was ideally positioned to commence brewing beer anew when restrictions were lifted in 1933.

Officially Prohibition ended  December 5, 1933 when the 21st Amendment (repealing the 18th Amendment) was ratified, but for beer manufacturers and drinkers it ended earlier. The Volstead Act (the enabling legislation of the 18th Amendment) had defined “intoxicating liquors” as having alcohol content above ½ of 1%. The act was later amended by the Harrison-Cullen Act, which stipulated that products with an alcohol content of 3.2% and below were not intoxicating. The latter act became effective on  April 7, 1933, legalizing beer sales. In recent years, the day has been celebrated as “National Beer Day.”

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Advertisement for Liberty Beer by ABC’s Elmira Distributor
Robert G. Jennings (Elmira Star-Gazette, 19 May 1933

As noted earlier, five Rochester brewers resurfaced after Prohibition. ABC was one of them. Among their many post-1933 brands were American Bock Beer, American Porter, Apollo Beer, Liberty Beer and Seneca Ale. Arguably their most famous label was Tam O’Shanter, under which a number of different varieties were produced, including Bock Beer, Dry Hopped, Extra Pale Ale, Stock Ale, and Porter.

For nearly two decades thereafter, the firm operated profitably; however, by 1950, their market share had declined. Two factors, coming close together, pushed them toward dissolution. The first was a decline in available bituminous and anthracite stocks due to a nationwide coal strike that reduced available supplies. The firm applied to the Emergency Fuel Office for additional allocations for production purposes, but was refused. The other factor was the decision of Rochester brewery workers (by a vote of 519 to 8) to join the International Union of Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drinks and Distillery Workers.

In June 1950, the American Brewing Company’s officers notified the board that a vote would be held to liquidate the business. Days later, the stockholders voted to liquidate the company’s assets. A skeleton crew remained thereafter to conclude the remaining business, but by the end of June 1950, the doors at 440 Hudson Avenue were closed forever on what was once the oldest brewery in Rochester.

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Remains of The American Brewing Company (2018)
440 Hudson Avenue.

-Christopher Brennan


For More Information:

“Brewery Bares Plan to Go Out of Business,” Democrat and Chronicle, 1 June 1950, p. 26.

“Brewery Workers Vote for Union Shop Setup,” Democrat and Chronicle, 1 April 1950, p. 12.

A History of the Brewery and Liquor Industry of Rochester, N.Y. (Rochester, New York: Kearse Publishing Company, 1907).

Skeeter McDaniels, Brewed in Rochester: A Photographic History of Beer in Rochester, New York, 1885-1975 (Rochester, New York: Mountain Air Books, 2008).

J. Gordon Meier, The Story of the Genesee Brewing Company Incorporated of Rochester, New York (Rochester, New York: Meier, 1963).

“Plant, Offices Turn Down Heat to Conserve Fuel,” Democrat and Chronicle, 2 March 1950, p. 1.

Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck, “A Brief History of Brewing in Rochester,” Rochester History 54, no. 2 (Spring 1992).

Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck, “A Brief Look at the 20th Century Through the Lens of a Camera,” Rochester History 61, nos. 3-4 (Summer-Fall 1999).

“Stockholder Vote End of Brewery,” Democrat and Chronicle, 6 June 1950, p. 21.


Published in: on November 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wanted: Dead or Deader

Anyone who has spent time poring through historical newspapers has likely come across an intriguing headline or two. I’ve seen a fair share of them myself, but recently I stumbled upon something in an old want ads section that is truly in a league of its own.

On August 5th, 1920, the Democrat and Chronicle published the following advertisement:


From the Democrat & Chronicle, August 5, 1920.

The eyebrow-raising ad undoubtedly also raised questions among its readers. Was it the world’s most bizarre personal ad…man/woman seeks date with a ghost? Or did the paranormal house hunter have other ideas in mind?

The peculiar post, which hailed from an unknown person, became the subject of a few newspaper articles that August. The day after the ad was published, the D&C speculated as to its writer’s motives. Staff surmised that perhaps the individual was “an author looking for atmosphere,’’ or “a person with an unbalanced mind,” or just someone “seeking to escape the platitudes of politicians.”

To help readers identify the kind of building that might house a free-floating vaporous apparition, the newspaper offered a few guidelines.

Such a house, the D&C indicated, should have creaking stairs, strong drafts emanating from all doors, and a fireplace (so that the phantasm could be seen amidst the flames). The article also suggested that “some kind of power plant should be established outside to keep the wind howling around the corners.”

Missing from the aforementioned list were additional supernatural warning signs such as self-cooking poultry products, rogue refrigerators, and generally any kind of behavior that one would not expect to see in a major appliance.


Headline from the Democrat & Chronicle, August 18, 1920.

Within the week that the want ad was published, the D&C’s business office received 20 letters to be rerouted to the “ ‘man of mystery’ seeking the haunted house.”

The “man of mystery,” as it happened, turned out to be a woman. May Francis, the operator of a boarding house on Marshall Street, identified herself to the D&C following the commotion her ad had caused.  She confessed that she was “just seeking the chills, the thrills and the ghosts of a haunted house.”

HH-marshall map

The Ghost-curious Mrs. Francis ran a boarding house at 10 Marshall Street. The building and the block on which it stood no longer exist today. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.

Mrs. Francis informed the paper that she had encountered a few individuals over the years that had experienced apparitions or heard the clanking of chains in homes.

Her whole plan, Francis explained, was to “meet a real ghost in a real haunted house.”  In so doing, she hoped that she might discover whether ghosts were white or grey, and what accounted for the spooky noises that accompanied their appearance.

The boarding house proprietor ended up receiving several offers from area residents willing to assist her with her quest.

A typical letter read:

“Regarding your advertisement for location of a haunted house, let me lead you to one in Stone Road. All the thrills and the chills can be obtained here. Meet me by appointment—midnight preferred.”

For whatever reason, call it fate, call it luck, call it karma, one local resident did seemingly come through for Mrs. Francis.

The D&C insinuated as much in an article published on August 20th, which inquired, “now that the modest-appearing Marshall Street woman has her haunted house, what is she going to do with it?”

As Mrs. Francis owned a boarding house, the reporter wryly opined that “perhaps there is to be a boom in haunted houses…if the demand grows, development experts will throw in a few ghosts with the clothes chute or sleeping porch, and abandoned cemeteries will bring top-notch prices when cut up into building lots.”

The newspaper did not reach the ghost hunter for comment on her paranormal experience. Perhaps it had a greater effect than she had anticipated…

Happy Halloween!

-Emily Morry

Published in: on October 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

ABC: The American Brewing Company and Beer Brewing in Rochester, 1855-1950, Part 1

Although a number of newer, smaller, more specialized craft breweries have opened in the Rochester area in recent years, the Genesee Brewing Company remains the most influential member of the Rochester brewing community. Founded in 1878 (and celebrating its 140th anniversary as this is written), it is the oldest and largest brewery in New York State. For many people, when asked “How many breweries does Rochester have?” their answer will be “One.”

Given that perception, it may be surprising to know that in the lifetime of many older people, Rochester had as many as five major breweries after Prohibition: American Brewing; Cataract Brewing; Genesee Brewing; Rochester Brewing; and Standard Brewing. The latter closed its doors in 1970, leaving Genesee as the sole survivor of the group. What may be even more surprising is that in the 19th century, Rochester had as many as two dozen breweries!

The reality of that fact came home to this author when a library patron came in to ask about a long-gone beer brand, Tam O’Shanter Beer. The brand belonged to one of the five post-Prohibition companies, the American Brewing Company (ABC). ABC followed a path similar to many of the breweries in Rochester and elsewhere, and so will serve as a useful case study in Rochester’s brewing history.


Advertisement for Tam O’Shanter Lager Beer and Ales,
Brewed by the American Brewing Company, Rochester, New York
(1949 Rochester City Directory)

The earliest brewery in Rochester was the Aqueduct Spring Brewery, opened by Nathan Lyman on South Water Street in 1819. The later growth in breweries was due to the influx of Germans to the area, particularly after the Revolution of 1848. Among those immigrants were Christian Meyer (17 September 1818-4 August 1905) and Frederick Loebs (21 February 1830-8 March 1885). In 1855, the partners established their brewery on the corner of Hudson Avenue and Boardwell Street under the name of The Meyer and Loebs Brewery. Six years later, the partners built a larger facility at Hudson and Chemung Street.

In 1877, Loebs’ son, Frederick Conrad Loebs (22 October 1854-5 November 1926), traveled to St. Louis to extend his knowledge of the industry. Returning to Rochester two years later, he entered the family firm and changed the name of the company to the Lion Brewing Company. In 1885, the name was changed again to the Loebs Brothers Brewing Company, and in 1889, the name was changed for the last time to the American Brewing Company.

By 1907, the company had moved yet again and occupied two blocks. The main building was situated on Hudson Avenue, bordered by Merrimac and Wadsworth Streets and split by Gilmore Street.

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The location of the American Brewing Company on Hudson Avenue. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1910.

The ale brewery had a capacity of over 200,000 barrels and the bottling plant had a capacity of 36,000 bottles a day. Its bottled beer took prizes at the Paris World’s Fair (1900), the Marseilles Fair (1900), and the Palestine Fair (1901).

By the early 20th century, brewing was a successful industry in the city of Rochester. In 1909, as a result of mergers with many of the smaller breweries, Rochester had nine in all: ABC; Bartholomay; Enright; Flower City; Genesee; Hathaway and Gordon; Monroe; Standard; and Weinman Brewing Companies.


American Brewing Company Fire, 19 January 1920
(416-442 Hudson Avenue)

That was to change in 1917. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture, transport and sale of all intoxicating liquors, was passed by the U.S.  Senate on August 1st, 1917. By December 17th  of that year, the amendment had been approved by the House of Representatives and passed to the states for ratification. The amendment was ratified on January 16th 1919, and according to its provisions, would go into effect one year later. Dealing with the restrictions of Prohibition would be a fact of life for the American Brewing Company and all the breweries of Rochester.  In the next blog post of this series, we will detail how they did so.

-Christopher Brennan


For More Information:

A History of the Brewery and Liquor Industry of Rochester, N.Y. (Rochester, New York: Kearse Publishing Company, 1907).

“Mortuary Matters: Frederick Loebs,” Democrat and Chronicle, 7 March 1885, p. 7.

“Record of Deaths: Christian Meyer,” Democrat and Chronicle, 6 August 1905, p. 20.

Ruth Rosenberg-Naparsteck, “A Brief History of Brewing in Rochester,” Rochester History 54, no. 2 (Spring 1992).


Published in: on October 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Out of the Loop Pt. 3: a Before and After Look at the Neighborhoods of the Inner Loop

The previous two blog posts of this series, detailing the Central-Plymouth Avenue and Corn Hill neighborhoods, highlighted some of the historic structures that were demolished in the name of the Inner Loop.

The Loop’s third section, which ran from the eastern edge of the Troup-Howell bridge along Howell Street to the corner of Union and George Streets, did not result in the razing of many iconic Rochester buildings, but it nevertheless destroyed a staggering number of residences, and drastically changed the face of the fourth ward neighborhood.


This ca. 1955 aerial photo depicts the route of the third arc of the Inner Loop from the Troup-Howell bridge along Howell Street. The route crosses South, Clinton, and Monroe Avenues before connecting with Union Street. From the collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division.

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The area in question today, after the filling in of the Inner Loop. City of Rochester Maps, 2018. 

Built between 1956 and August 1958, the Inner Loop’s first eastside segment proved its most expensive and complicated section to date. The half-mile arc’s construction leveled over 160 structures in its wake and featured four bridges as well as a complex interchange.

Destruction for the arc began in the fall of 1955. By the time the razing was completed the following summer, swaths of family homes and apartment buildings had been eaten up in the process, forcing countless citizens to move out of the neighborhood, and leaving a desolate rubble-strewn scene behind.



Howell Street in shambles. From the collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division.

Democrat and Chronicle writer, Arch Merrill, went so far to say in 1956: “where loop demolition is underway at the eastern end of the new bridge, it looks like Coventry after the blitz.”


The last house demolished for the third arc of the Inner Loop. Democrat & Chronicle, August 4, 1956.

In addition to countless residences, a number of commercial buildings also met the wrecking ball, including a couple of longstanding businesses.

Rabe’s Complete Auto Service, located at 100 Manhattan Street, was originally a harness manufacturing company when it was founded in 1893. The following century, the firm made the transition from horse wares to automobiles.

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Rabe’s Auto Service (100 Manhattan Street) in the 1920s. From the collection of the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection.


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The location of Rabe’s Auto Service on Manhattan Street, north of Monroe Ave. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.



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Aerial photo of the same area in 2012, prior to the loop being filled in. The Rabe’s site has been replaced with part of Strong Museum’s parking lot. City of Rochester map, 2012.

Another longtime firm to lose its headquarters was Carhart’s Photo Service and Camera Shop, located at 294 South Avenue. Founded in 1914, the family business was once the largest photo developer in Western New York .


Advertisement in Democrat & Chronicle. December 13, 1953.

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Carhart’s photo Service stood at 294 South Ave on the block between Howell and Marshall. NB: South Ave is labeled St. Paul on this map. The “South” pictured is South Street, now St Mary’s Place. “(Green)” is Clinton Ave. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.

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The same area post-Loop construction. Clinton Avenue (albeit a bridge) remains the only constant. City of Rochester Map, 2012.

Notably, one major institution in the area remained in tact amidst the destruction and construction of the Inner Loop: the Fanny Farmer factory at 7 Griffith Street.

As these maps demonstrate, the Fanny Farmer candy studio, was one of the only structures in the vicinity of the Inner Loop interchange to survive. It closed, however, in 1967.


Prior to Loop construction. The Fanny Farmer factory is the pink rectangular building on the south side of Griffith Street. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.



The same area following the development of the Inner Loop interchange. Fanny Farmer Factory in pink. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, ca 1950s.

Almost every other building along Howell Street, Marshall Street, Griffith Street, South Street and Byron Street detailed in the 1935 map was razed.

The Loop interchange also severed Marshall and Griffith Streets. Both roads once ran from South Avenue to Monroe Avenue, but as a result of loop construction, they were both stopped just east of Clinton Avenue.

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Marshall and Griffith Streets run from South Avenue to Monroe Avenue in this ca 1935 map. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.

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Marshall Street and Griffith Streets today. City of Rochester Map, 2018. 



Undoubtedly, the thoroughfare that underwent the greatest change during this phase of loop construction, was Howell Street.


The barren path along Howell Street stretching from South Avenue to Monroe Avenue. Democrat & Chronicle. May 26, 1957.

Like Marshall and Griffith Streets, Howell Street also once ran from South Avenue all the way to Monroe Avenue, but as the loop took its route, it was all but obliterated.


The original route of Howell Street can be seen in this 1935 map. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.


The same section in 2012, prior to the loop getting filled in. A few buildings just below the Inner Loop near its intersection with Monroe are the only edifices remaining from the original Howell Street. City of Rochester maps, 2012.

The neighborhood surrounding the eastern end of the new half-mile arc, running from Monroe Ave to the intersection of Union Street and George Street (which no longer exists), did not experience as dramatic a transformation as its western reach, but still witnessed considerable destruction.

Small sections of Manhattan Street and Savannah Street were lobbed off, while most of the buildings lining the west side of Union Street up to George Street were toppled.

This City of Rochester Plat Map from 1935 and Sanborn Fire Insurance map from the late 1950s below depict how the area appeared before and just immediately after the arc’s construction.

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Manhattan, Savannah and Union Street pre-Loop. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.



The eastern section of the Inner Loop’s third arc cut through portions of Manhattan Street, Savannah Street and Union Street, but left many area buildings intact. Sanborn Fire Insurance map.

This area looks much different today, as the majority of the homes and businesses that still stood after the loop’s construction were later razed and eventually replaced with the Strong Museum property. More recently, of course, this section of the loop was filled in, which will bring further transformations to the surrounding neighborhood in the years to come.

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Strong Museum and its parking lot now occupy the site where several residences once stood. Only a stub of Savannah Street remains while Howell Street has been revived and expanded. Googlemaps, 2018. 

The next post in this series will look at the dramatic changes the Loop wrought in the neighborhood between Front Street to Scio Street…

-Emily Morry

Published in: on September 30, 2018 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Scream for Ice Cream: Abbott’s Frozen Custard

Anyone who has had to endure the deep snow and bone chilling cold of winter has a favorite sign of spring. For some, it is the crocus, pushing its beautiful petals above the melting ice and snow. For others, it is the robin skittering across their lawns. For many Rochesterians, it is the annual opening of the Abbott’s Frozen Custard stand at 4791 Lake Avenue, at the corner of Beach Avenue, in Charlotte. The company is said to trace its origins to 1902, and for many it is a Rochester institution, much like Kodak or Xerox. It may be a surprise, therefore, to learn that the founders were not Rochesterians and the present owner is not named Abbott.


Abbott’s Frozen Custard Stand, 4791 Lake Avenue, Charlotte
(Democrat and Chronicle, 2 June 2016)

Abbott’s was founded by two brothers, Arthur Warren Abbott (14 October 1888-14 April 1981) and Charles Harold Abbott (15 July 1876-14 March 1966). Although the family had a brief sojourn in Minnesota, their father, Frank C. Abbott, was from Maine, where he was a merchant selling dry goods (e.g., textiles, ready-to-wear clothing, and personal care items). By 1900, Frank was also selling ice, an essential ingredient in ice cream.

In 1902, Arthur and Charles started experimenting with various ice cream recipes and products in Rye (Westchester County), New York. The end result was a product that contained 14% butterfat, eggs and a smooth texture. In the ensuing decades, the brothers opened other stands in Coney Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, as well as in Rye.

The original Abbott’s in Rochester was the store at Lake and Beach Avenues in Charlotte. Arthur continued to manage the other stores from his home in Rye, so supervision of the Rochester store was undertaken by Charles, who lived in the Powers Hotel in the summer months, and then returned home for the off-season. There was no other store in Rochester until 1955, when a second Abbott’s opened across from the Rochester Airport on Brooks Avenue.

abbott-arthur and irma

Arthur and Irma Abbott and Their Horse, Blue Man
(Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.), 4 May 1952)

Arthur Abbott, who had always been an avid horseman, wanted to retire and concentrate on his stable. This desire likely intensified in 1952, when his horse, Blue Man, finished third in the Kentucky Derby and won the Preakness Stakes (the first two legs in horse racing’s Triple Crown). By the late 1950s, all the Abbott’s stores had closed with the exception of the two stores in Rochester. In 1958, the Abbott family sold the Rochester stores to a local couple, Leonard Schreiber (15 August 1918-23 December 1979) and his wife Thelma (3 September 1920-6 March 2003), franchisees of the Brooks Avenue store.


Leonard Schreiber, Arthur Abbott’s Successor
(Democrat and Chronicle, 24 December 1979)

It was the Schreibers who developed Abbott’s into the Rochester institution we know today. They began expanding in the late 1970s, opening franchises on West Henrietta Road, Empire Boulevard, Lyell Avenue, and West Ridge Road. By the time of Leonard Schreiber’s death in 1979, there were seven Abbott’s franchises in the Rochester area, as well as one in Wayne County. Thelma (known as “Tiby” to the family) continued to run the business after her husband’s passing. In 1989, she stepped away from day-to-day management of the company, turning control over to her daughter Gail. Today Abbott’s has 36 stores in 6 states, the lion’s share – 26 – in the greater Rochester area.   Anyone for ice cream?


For Further Information:

1880 U.S. census, St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 5, p. 14, dwelling 92, family 110, Frank C. Abbott.

1900 U.S. census, Scarborough Town, Cumberland County, Maine, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 78, p. 140B, dwelling 326, family 326, Frank C. Abbott.

1940 U.S. census, Rye, Westchester County, New York, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 60-326, p. sheet 5B, household 104, Arthur W. Abbott.

“The Abbott’s Story,” Abbott’s Frozen Custard (https://www.abbottscustard.com/our-story/ : accessed 11 September 2018).

Mary Chao, “Abbott’s Looks Beyond Home,” Democrat and Chronicle, 24 April 2004, p. 14D.

Kara K. Choquette, “Abbott’s Cold War,” Democrat and Chronicle, 26 October 1997, p. 1E.

Henry W. Clune, “Seen and Heard,” Democrat and Chronicle, 15 May 1952, p. 23.

“Grand Opening Today,” [advertisement], Democrat and Chronicle, 12 August 1955, p. 7.

John Oller, “He’s Making Frozen Custard a Growing Business,” Times Union, 14 July 1977, p. 1B.

“Nifty Ways to Love Your Summer: To Every Food a Season,” Times Union,  21 June 1979, p. 1C.


-Christopher Brennan

Published in: on September 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Out of the Loop: a Before and After Look at the Neighborhoods of the Inner Loop, Part 2.

As we saw in the first blog post of this series, the Inner Loop dramatically altered the neighborhood surrounding Central Avenue, Allen Street, and Plymouth Avenue North. Longstanding businesses and local landmarks were erased from Rochester’s map, as were a substantial number of residences.  This trend would continue as loop construction made its journey southward in the early 1950s.

The Loop’s second arc, constructed between 1953 and 1955, continued along Plymouth Avenue south of Main Street, then curved along Troup Street in the Corn Hill neighborhood to the Genesee River.


The original second arc of the loop curved at Troup Street, towards the river, leaving the section of Plymouth Ave South below Troup intact. Democrat & Chronicle. September 10, 1954.

This Inner Loop section no longer exists today, as the Loop underwent a western expansion in the early 1970s. The following map details the area where the original second arc once ran:


Today, Plymouth Avenue South is a regular roadway and I-490 follows the path of a section of the original second arc of the Loop. Googlemaps, 2018.

The initial plans for the second section of the Inner Loop required the demolition of over 30 buildings, most of which stood on the east side of Plymouth Avenue South between Spring Street and Troup Street. A number of structures on Spring, School Alley and South Fitzhugh Street also met their demise during this phase of construction.

The photograph below shows the swath of Plymouth Ave South that was demolished for the original course of the loop:


Looking south along Plymouth Avenue from Spring Street. All the buildings on the east side of Plymouth Ave between Spring Street and Troup Street have been torn down. Times-Union. April 11, 1955.

Several apartment buildings on Plymouth Avenue South, such as the Columbia (# 60-64), The Hilton (#110) and Casa Loma (#152), were emptied of tenants and razed, along with a few businesses on Spring Street, including Granger Radio Service (#62) and Levin Painting (#72).


A not so progressive ad for Granger Radio Service. Democrat & Chronicle. November 30, 1947.

Wolford’s Books and Fine Arts Shop, at 67 Spring Street, also met the wrecking ball even though it was housed in what was reported to be the oldest standing residence on the city’s West side.


Democrat & Chronicle. November 30, 1947.

The peak-roofed frame house at 67 Spring Street was built between 1821 and 1823 by blacksmith, Caleb Bicknell. Bicknell built his primary residence, a brick structure, at 63 Spring Street directly beside the frame house. The lot containing both of Bicknell’s homes had previously housed Rochesterville’s cemetery, but upon the property’s purchase by Bicknell in 1821, the bodies were disinterred and moved to the site of the old Rochester General Hospital (now the site of the Anthony Square Apartments).

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This circa 1950 photograph shows the brick house at 63 Spring on the left and the frame house at 67 Spring on the right. From the Collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division.

The site of the Bicknell properties at 63-67 Spring Street was in the path of the original second loop section, but is now marked by the parking lot in front of the Monroe County Jail , as these maps show:


The area in question circa 1935. 63-67 Spring Street stand between Plymouth Ave South (formerly Sophia St) and School Alley. City of Rochester Plat Map, 1935.


The same area in 2018. The church at bottom left remains the only constant. Spring Street ends at Plymouth Ave South and the section of School Alley pictured above no longer exists. Googlemaps, 2018.

One of the more colorful structures that was demolished for the loop’s second arc was the Plymouth Spiritualist Church, which had stood at the northeast corner of Plymouth Ave South and Troup Street since 1856.

The Spiritualist movement took root in Rochester in the late 1840s thanks to the influence of the Fox Sisters, who claimed the ability to speak to the dead. Their latter-day co-religionists moved into the Plymouth Ave church in 1906. They honored the memory of the three sisters with a 25-foot tall obelisk on the property at the suggestion of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes fame).  The church, which went on to become a something of a safe haven for area non-conformists in the first half of the twentieth century, was demolished in 1954. The Fox Sisters monument, meanwhile, was relocated to the southeast corner of Plymouth and Troup, where it remains today.

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Plymouth Spiritualist Church, with its signature spire at the northeast corner of Plymouth Avenue South and Troup St. From the Collection of the Rochester Public Library Local History & Genealogy Division.

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Signs for I-490 and the Inner Loop mark the northeast corner of Plymouth and Troup today.  Googlemaps, 2018.

The southeast corner of Plymouth and Troup was home to a lavish residence once owned by Civil War-era Congressman, Alfred Ely. Though the handsome estate escaped demolition during this phase of loop construction in the early 1950s, it was nevertheless torn down in 1958 to make room for a new loop-adjacent motel. As the wreckers were in the process of razing the house, however, they made a curious discovery. Inside of Alfred Ely’s circa 1849 residence, stood another house.

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Alfred Ely’s residence as it appeared in the late 19th century.

Thomas Pease, one of the first men to own a line of canal boats in Rochester, had built a modest home on the site in the 1820s. Ely bought the former Pease property in 1849, and, seeking something more substantial, built a new shell around the original residence and constructed additional wings, leaving Pease’ house completely hidden from view.

Ely’s doublewide home was replaced with the Mohawk Motor Hotel in 1959, which billed itself as being within walking distance to downtown, the Community War Memorial and several business centers. By the 1970s, however, the motel’s clientele had shifted from traveling businessmen to locals seeking both very short-term and extended stays. The edifice was repurposed as the Plymouth Park West office building in 1977.


An artist’s sketch of the Mohawk Manor Hotel with the relocated Spiritualist obelisk in full view. Democrat and Chronicle. July 26, 1958.


The same structure, now the Plymouth Park West office building, today. The Spiritualist obelisk is just out of view amidst the trees. Googlemaps, 2018.

Just down the block from the Ely homestead, lay the former residence of another local man of note, Lewis Henry Morgan. Morgan, an influential anthropologist, social theorist and lawyer, made his home at 124 South Fitzhugh Street a hub of intellectual activity in the 19th century. Not only did the house host the meetings of various elite clubs, but it was also the site where city leaders first outlined their demands for co-education at the University of Rochester.

In 1938, the significant structure at the southeast corner of Fitzhugh Street and Troup Street was honoured with a historic marker from the New York State Education Department at the prompting of the Rochester Historical Society. The building’s last tenant, Harry Potter (no relation), vacated the premises in 1953 and the edifice was torn down to make way for the Troup-Howell Bridge.


A painting of the Morgan residence by Corn Hill artist, Ralph Avery. Democrat & Chronicle. September 27, 1953.


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A patch of grass along South Fitzhugh Street  and the western approach to the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Bridge mark the site of Morgan’s home today. Googlemaps, 2018. 

The bridge, which carried the Inner Loop over the Genesee River to Howell Street, was opened permanently in June 1955.

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The west side of the Troup-Howell Bridge as it approaches the bend at Plymouth Avenue South. The Campbell-Whittlesey House, at 123 South Fitzhugh Street, is visible on the left. Democrat & Chronicle. September 25, 1955.



The Troup-Howell Bridge was replaced with the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Bridge in 2007. The Campbell-Whittlesey House still stands on the left. Googlemaps, 2018.

The west side of the Inner Loop complete, developers and demolition crews moved next to the city’s east side…

-Emily Morry

Published in: on August 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment