West Irondequoit: A Destination Tour
June 1 and 2, 2019 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Our 49th Annual House & Garden Tour will once again treat us to magnificent built and natural environments, this year between the Winona Woods neighborhood and the St. Paul corridor in West Irondequoit, NY.
Advance tickets are available online now below; tickets can also be purchased at Parkleigh (215 Park Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607), at our office, or by phone at (585) 546-7029 x11. Advance ticket sales will close on the afternoon of Friday, May 31st; all tickets will be $35 on the days of the tour (June 1st & 2nd) while supplies last at Tour Headquarters: St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church (3176 St. Paul Blvd., Rochester, NY 14617).
If you opt to pick up your tickets at our Corn Hill office, please allow 48 hours of processing time after the date of purchase. Weekend purchases will begin processing on the following Monday.
New Member Special – The Landmark Society is excited to offer special rates for new members who join our Membership Program leading up to the House & Garden Tour. Those who are interested in joining can take enjoy our Individual Membership for only $15! In addition to the benefits that Individual Membership offers, new members will receive one ticket to the House & Garden Tour for $20 and a second ticket for $10. *Offer valid through June 1, 2019 or while supplies last.
Current Members – $20 per ticket; If you are purchasing tickets at Parkleigh, please present your Member Card for our exclusive member price.
Non-Members – $28 per ticket. Want to help celebrate and preserve the architectural heritage of Western New York? Consider joining our Membership Program at a special rate for a savings of $56!
Tour Headquarters at St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Church (3176 St. Paul Blvd., Rochester, NY 14617).
The Tour is open from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday, June 2nd. The tour is self-guided, with hosts at each property. Please feel free to take the tour in any order – you can even choose to visit some locations on Saturday and others on Sunday. Your ticket booklet provides a map, descriptions of each destination and admission to them for one visit. We will provide shoe covers to wear inside private homes.
You’ve heard of a Destination Wedding: traveling to celebrate in a special place. This is a Destination House Tour – and you will be amazed at the architectural treasures to celebrate north of Titus Avenue! The area could easily qualify as an official historic district, with the largest collection of significant early 20th century houses in Western New York.
Of course, those who live in Irondequoit are well aware of what they have. Residents of the Winona Woods neighborhood and the St. Paul corridor between Titus and Cooper Road are generously sharing their special part of the world. These historic homes have never been featured on a Landmark Society tour!
Irondequoit was not always a popular residential area. In its early years, Irondequoit was home to many small farms, orchards and wood lots which supported early settlers. As late as 1902, most of the land was owned by three farmers: Colt, Grant and Leake.
The change came with development of St. Paul Boulevard as a toll turnpike and a trolley route. Rochesterians eager to escape the city heat supported development of “Summerville Boulevard” in 1893 as a popular drive out to the lake. The Rochester and Irondequoit Railroad Company purchased a 17-foot wide strip to either side of the road, and laid down tracks for their electric trolley. The Town of Irondequoit took over the roadway in 1910, with the trolley continuing to be operational through the 1940s.
Efficient transportation to the city drove demand for more housing in the area. By the 1920s, areas along St. Paul Boulevard experienced rapid growth. Just as we saw on East Avenue and the adjacent streets to Park Avenue on last year’s House & Garden tour, the homes on St. Paul Boulevard were followed by more modest but architecturally detailed houses on the side streets.
As the farmers sold their land, subdivisions were filled almost as quickly as they could be built. Early advertisements from the time period described future streets as “cut through a field of oats” and among “picturesque woods” to entice city residents to consider life in the suburbs.
You will still see picturesque woods on this tour, as the ravines leading to the Genesee River are designated as forever wild. The houses fall in two categories: the grand houses on the Boulevard and the charming homes on the Winona Woods streets. You’ll enjoy a grandiose Colonial Revival, an amazing Tudor Revival designed by Ward Wellington Ward and a fine home that hides a “secret”: a speakeasy style bar room from Prohibition. The homes on the side streets including entrancing bungalows, plus a “storybook style” house that will have you swearing you’ve been magically transported to Paris. Gardens on this Tour are promised to be lovely – with one spectacular sunken garden stealing the show.
As we’ve explored this area in preparation for the tour, we have become big fans of the neighborhood. We are in good company. Famed actor Audrey Hepburn was a fan of the area. Ms. Hepburn visited Irondequoit for several weeks a year from the 1980s through the early ’90s with her partner, Robert Wolders. Hepburn and Wolders reportedly enjoyed strolls on Belcoda Drive and that loved the retro ambiance of street. Ms. Hepburn once said that if her life had gone differently, she could have seen herself living in this neighborhood.
Join us in Irondequoit this year for a special edition of the House & Garden Tour – you won’t regret it. But don’t take it from us – take it from Audrey Hepburn!
A Pre-Tour Talk on the history, architecture and past residents of the neighborhood will be given on Thursday, May 30th at 7:00 PM at the Rochester Academy of Medicine (1441 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610). The talk is FREE for ticket holders who present their tickets at the Talk or pick up their pre-ordered tickets that evening. Tour tickets may also be purchased that evening (while supplies last). Non-ticket holders can attend the Talk for $5.
We are grateful to the major House and Garden Tour Sponsors:
Ticket Sales Sponsor: