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American Guide series Tour 3 - Rochester, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member sagefemme
N 43° 09.347 W 077° 36.765
18T E 287572 N 4781428
Quick Description: This walking tour replicates the Rochester and Monroe County American Guide series (published 1937), Tour 3 (pp 190-200). With most of the sites waymarked already as National Register of Historic Places sites, see what has changed since 1937.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 2/24/2012 8:26:45 AM
Waymark Code: WMDTVF
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member The Blue Quasar
Views: 14

Long Description:
The original walking tour (the only tour of the four in this publication that can be walked) had 21 stops, numbered 42-62 (tours 1 and 2 hold lower numbers). Some of these locations no longer exist, but I can provide a nearby stop to explain what WAS there.

The start point is "42. Powers Building" (waymark WMDDKE (visit link) ). This is virtually unchanged since 1937. To get to the next stop, walk west on W. Main to the corner of Fitzhugh St and cross the street to the south side of W. Main.

Stop "43. Monroe County Courthouse" (waymark WMDCWN (visit link) ) is now the County Office Bldg. To get to the next stop, cross to the west side of Fitzhugh St and walk to the middle of the block.

Stop "44. Board of Education" (waymark WMDCRC (visit link) ) is a building known as Rochester Free Academy. It served as the Board of Education building from 1926 until the early 1970s, and served as a school before that, on the site of a school before that (note "Pioneer School" sign, waymark ). The next stop is the next building to the south.

Stop "45. St. Luke's Episcopal Church" (waymark WMDCFP (visit link) ) . Next stop: turn around and look across the street to the corner of Fitzhugh and Broad St.

Stop "46. City Hall" (waymark WMDCW1 (visit link) ) is the old City Hall. It now serves as office space, mostly for law firms. The new City Hall is in the Old Post Office (yeah, I know... confusing). This completes a tour of the City Hall Historic District (waymark WMDJAH (visit link) ). Our next stop is at the corner of Broad St and Plymouth Ave. To get there, walk west, cross Plymouth Ave, and cross Broad St to the southwest corner.

Stop "47. Mechanics Institute". This building no longer exists. You are looking a a parking lot, and the new Board of Education building. Look back where you came from and you can see the backside of the old Board of Education building (the red brick building). Continue west on Broad Street and turn left onto S Washington St.

Stop "48. Jonathan Child House" (waymark WMDAF9 (visit link) ) is a one of two contributing buildings of the Child, Jonathan, House & Brewster-Burke House Historic District (waymark WMDJAC (visit link) ). From here, cross back to the east side of S Washington St and head south to Spring St.

Stop "49. Bevier Memorial Hall" (waymark WMDAF1 (visit link) ). This also served as part of the Mechanics Institute. This institution moved to Henrietta, becoming the Rochester Institute of Technology, when plans began to lay the Inner Loop through this area. Few of the original buildings remain, including the F Ritter Shumway Arena, built as part of the Mechanics Institute in the 1950s.

From here, cross to the south side of Spring St and proceed south across the pedestrian bridge to the other side. Stop "50. Livingston Park" and Stop "51. Livingston Park Seminary" no longer exist. As you cross the pedestrian bridge you will be passing over these long gone buildings. Livingston Park was named in honor of James K. Livingston, pioneer Rochester miller, was until the turn of the century the center of social activity in Rochester. The terraced lawns, guarded by iron grill gates and adorned by iron animal figures, were the scene of many early Rochester social events."

Livingston Park Seminary was built in 1825 in Greek classical design as a residence, and "was converted in 1860 into a family school for girls and conducted as such for many years. Columns mark the entrances at the front and side doors. The interior trim is of carved mahogany, with columns of black walnut. Overlooking the park from a high terrace, the Seminary is a reminder of the architectural splendor of early Rochester homes." (visit link) (pp 194-5) If it weren't for these descriptions, we would have no idea what stood here.

The pedestrian bridge discharges you at the top of an upsidedown "U" that is Livingston Park, that wraps around a parking lot. Keep to the right (west) and head south to the corner of Livingston Park and Troup St.

Stop "52. D.A.R. House" is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Hervey Ely House (waymark WMDDFJ (visit link) ). From here, walk east on Troup St, across Fitzhugh to where Troup St curves to the south.

Stop "53. Whittlesey House" is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Campbell-Whittlesey House (waymark WMDJGE (visit link) ). From here, retrace your steps back toward Troup St and Plymouth Ave.

Stop "54. Plymouth Avenue Spiritualist Church" is described as sitting on the NE. cor. Plymouth Ave. and Troup St, and as being a brick building that was originally a Congregational church. This building has since been demolished to make way for the Inner Loop, however, the marble obelisk described in the tour remains (waymark WMDDGJ (visit link) ). Walk across Plymouth Ave to the west to see what would have been

Stop "55. Fox Sisters' Home". Instead what you will find is the greenspace in the center of the Inner Loop Plymouth Ave cloverleaf. There are no markers, and but for a sentence in the tour description, we would not know that the Fox Sisters' Home was also a stop on the underground railroad. From here, walk north along Plymouth Ave (back over the Inner Loop) to the corner of Plymouth Ave and Spring St.

Stop "56. First Presbyterian Church" (waymark WMDAC5 (visit link) ) is home to the oldest congregation in Rochester, although it is not the oldest church building still standing in Rochester. That honor goes to St. Luke's Episcopal church, which you already visited (Stop 45). The First Presbyterian Church burned down. The first City Hall was built atop that site (Stop 46).

From here the tour would take you east on Spring St, but that part of Spring St no longer exists. The tour intended to take you "Stop 56-a.Bicknell Houses 63 and 67 Spring St are the oldest houses in Rochester on the west side of the Genesee River. Number 67, built in 1821, of frame construction, has been considerably altered through the years. Number 63 retains most of its original lines. A high front porch flush with the sidwalk leads to the original doorway ornamented with leaded-glass side lights and fan transom light."

The Public Safety Building complex stands there today, including the City, County and State Appellate courtrooms, and City and County jails. Today the oldest residence is the Ebenezer Watts home, 47 S Fitzhugh St: go north to Broad St and turn east (right). S. Fitzhugh ends at a parking garage, with this house tucked up against it. Continue to Broad and Exchange Sts.

Stop "57. Times Union Bldg" is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Gannett Building (waymark WMDAWX (visit link) ). From here the tour points you to the Mercury Statue, which at the time stood atop the smokestack of the Kimball Tobacco Company, where the BlueCross Arena and War Memorial stands today. The statue still exists, and from a high perch, but cannot be seen from this location. We will be able to see it in its new location shortly. For now we must proceed eastward, across Exchange St to the easternmost corner of the War Memorial. You will find that the sidewalk takes you down a flight of steps to the Riverwalk Trail, and to a viewing platform that allows you to see the aqueduct bed under the automobile bridge.

Stop "59. Broad Street Bridge" is waymarked under National Register of Historic Places as Erie Canal: Second Genesee Aqueduct (waymark WMDCCN (visit link) ) as well as engineering landmarks. After viewing the aqueduct bed go back up the stairs to the sidewalk along the bridge, and look northeast until you can see the Mercury Statue in it's new location.

Stop "58. Statue of Mercury" is waymarked under a number categories (waymark WMD966 (visit link) for example) for a compass direction, use coordinates N 43° 09.280 W 077° 36.650 To resume the tour, walk back to Exchange and Broad Sts. Your destination is the northwest corner, across the street from the Gannett building.

Stop "60. Genesee Valley Trust Building", now known as the Times Square Building, and waymarked as a significant example of high-rise Art Deco architecture (waymark WMDHMQ (visit link) ).

The tour continues to what was once the "61. Reynolds Arcade", now Marine Midland Plaza and the Ebenezer Watts Bldg and finally to "62. Site of Indian Allen's Mill". There is a picture of the Reynolds Arcade and a brief description on the Sign of History nearby: WM9AG6: Child's Basin: Center of Activism

The description of the Reynolds Arcade reads as follows:
"Built in 1828, this indoor mall was the center of
Business and communication, housing the Post
Office, Western Union Telegraph, Dewey Book
Store, Reynolds Athenaeum Library, barber shops
and small shops, some of them black-owned. The Lady's
Anti-Slavery Sewing Society held bazaars here to
raise money. William Falls, an editor of
The Democrat, recalled that he could quickly collect
donations at he Arcade for canal, lake or stage
tickets for fugitive slaves over his lunch time."

(visit link) The original (1913) plaque described as Stop 62 doesn't actually mention "Indian" Allen. It reads:

"Rochester, Fitzhugh and
Carroll Mill Canal
Rochester, NY

William B. Hale, President
George I Fien, Sec. & Tres.

George I Fien. William B. Hale
Thomas H. Yawger

Clara A. Hale & Kate R. Andrews
City of Rochester
Rochester Subway & Light Co.
McCauley-Fien Milling Co.
Rochester Printing Co.
Est. Mortimore F. Reynolds
Ocumpaugh Realtor Co.
C.R & F.A. Newberry

Erected October 1913"

Engraved into the concrete retaining wall are the words (partially obscured) suggest that that what we now call Grave Street once went by another name:
" O Huron Co
Rustic St
Rochester, NY"
Recommended Time for this WayTour: From: 8:00 AM To: 5:00 AM

Stop Coordinates:
43. N 43° 09.317 W 077° 36.825 44. N 43° 09.289 W 077° 36.841 45. N 43° 09.274 W 077° 36.832 46. N 43° 09.267 W 077° 36.796 48. N 43° 09.205 W 077° 36.998 49. N 43° 09.186 W 077° 36.950 52. N 43° 09.090 W 077° 37.050 53. N 43° 09.065 W 077° 36.750 54. N 43° 09.075 W 077° 36.807 56. N 43° 09.180 W 077° 36.885 57. N 43° 09.255 W 077° 36.723 59. N 43° 09.280 W 077° 36.628 60. N 43° 09.280 W 077° 36.737 62. N 43° 09.334 W 077° 36.658

Starting Address for this WayTour:
16 W Main St
(corner State St and W Main St)
Rochester, NY USA

Number of Stops: 15

Website of stops: Not listed

Stop Website: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
You must include an original photo showing one of the stops along the tour route.
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wander41 visited American Guide series Tour 3 - Rochester, NY 5/4/2013 wander41 visited it