Tick Tock Tick Tock… so says the Inside Downtown Tour Clock!

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It’s too late to get Inside Downtown Tour tickets mailed to you.   Fortunately it’s NOT too late to get advance tickets – but time is running out!  Can’t mail them, but we will just hold them for you at the tour headquarters, Rochester Contemporary Art Center at 137 East Avenue. Make it your first tour stop on Friday night between 5 pm and 8:30 or Saturday between 10:30 am and 4 pm.  You can purchase those money-saving beauties by clicking here, coming to our office between 9 am and 4 pm Monday through Thursday at 133 South Fitzhugh Street in Corn Hill, or going to Parkleigh at 215 Park Avenue.

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What about tickets the days of the tour?  Time may be running out for those tickets as well!  Last year’s tour sold out on the second tour day and, so far, the tickets are flying out the door faster than in 2013.  We DO plan to have tickets for sale at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and we will do our best to post information prominently on our webpage, if we completely sell out.  We will certainly have tickets available Friday night, and chances are a handful left on Saturday.

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But why tempt fate?  Order in advance, and relax over that pre-tour Friday cocktail or Saturday morning brunch knowing you’re about to embark on an amazing tour.

We also have a last minute, under the wire update on the tour.  Two additional apartments have been added – one of the tenants had been traveling and was not able to commit until returning to Rochester.  The tenant is an artist, and his apartment is an incredible treat – a penthouse filled with original works.  Don’t miss it!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Liberty Pole

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Is it a giant cheese slicer?

The newest version of a cellular tower?

Or simply a convenient place to have a non-religious celebration of December holidays?

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For many of us, that is when the Liberty Pole is the focus of our attention, when it is strung with lights to serve as a faux Christmas tree decoration.  But it’s so much more!

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A site for protest.   A liberty pole is a long-standing American tradition of political protest and celebration. Before and during the American Revolution wooden poles serving as flag poles or for display of political sentiments were often erected in town squares.   English authorities would periodically destroy them – leading to violent struggles with the “Sons of Liberty.”

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A place for patriotic tribute. After the war, poles were erected in communities to commemorate those struggles and celebrate patriotic pride. Rochester’s first Liberty Pole was built on this same spot in 1846. When it was destroyed in a storm, the new one went up in 1860, standing proudly at 102 feet tall with a large wooden ball and weather vane.  The new Liberty Pole remained as a place for social gatherings until Christmas Day 1889, when it, too, crashed in a violent wind storm.

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A significant public art installation. Designed by award-winning Rochester architect James H. Johnson (creator of the “mushroom house” in Perinton) it was completed in 1965. The 190-foot-high stainless steel structure paid tribute to the past traditions, while boldly proclaiming the modern age in its style.  As with most art, it attracted its share of vocal fans and detractors. Whatever you may think of the current liberty pole, it has certainly stood up to all kinds of weather.

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Peace and protest.  Since its erection, the Liberty Pole has seen echoes of both sides of its heritage. True to its origins, the location has seen its share of late 20th and early 21st century protests, from the Vietnam War era to current day.  We’ve also gathered there as a community to celebrate the lighting of the pole in its holiday role, to enjoy musical performances, and to simply admire – or complain – about this unique edifice, anchoring the Inside Downtown Tour neighborhood. 

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Inside Downtown Tour Outside Attractions

Many people think of downtown as a central business district belted by the Inner Loop, but Rochester’s Center City is actually a collection of mixed-use neighborhoods, each with their own distinct character.  It may also be surprising to some that downtown is sprinkled with green spaces ranging in scale from large parks to intimate gardens.

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This year’s Inside Downtown Tour will offer a “View from the Top”, as many of the featured sites offer panoramic views from lofty heights.  This unique opportunity allows not only a chance to take in the striking downtown skyline from a unique perspective, but also highlights how green our city is, with its tree lined avenues radiating out from the central core, and lush parklands dotting the landscape beyond.  There are several unique green spaces not to be missed during this year’s tour, which spans multiple downtown neighborhoods.

Starting at Tour Headquarters, which this year will be located at Rochester Contemporary Art Center, take in the beautiful corner park located next door and in front of Christ Church.  This beautiful neighborhood garden is owned and maintained by the church, and is a popular gathering spot in the East End neighborhood.  Surrounded by borders of flowering shrubs, perennials and seasonal annuals, the garden is an oasis in the middle of a busy downtown neighborhood.  Be sure to take in the majestic honey locust tree which is over 100 years old.

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Heading down East Avenue to where it intersects with Main Street the iconic Liberty Pole anchors the vista, and serves as the centerpiece of Liberty Pole Plaza.  Designed by local architect James H. Johnson in 1965, the steel sculpture rises 198 feet high and sits on the site of a wooden liberty pole that was originally erected in 1846.  The plaza provides a place of gathering and is surrounded by three iconic buildings, all of which are on this year’s tour: The Sibley Building, the Temple Building and the Bank of America Building.

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Moving west down Main Street toward the entrance to the Sibley Building, take a moment to check out the construction progress at the Midtown site.  The superblock that contained Midtown Plaza has been subdivided into smaller parcels, allowing much of the historic street grid to be reconstructed.  At the center of the project, a new public open space is emerging which will be called Midtown Commons.  The space includes areas of hardscape, open lawn, trees, ornamental plantings and decorative lighting.  Midtown Commons is anchored on its north side by the Windstream Building, and to the south construction is underway on transforming Midtown Tower into a vibrant mixed-use building (look for it on a future inside Downtown Tour).

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Walking up Franklin Street from the Liberty Pole Plaza and Sibley Building, the spire of the former St. Joseph’s Church comes into view, now the centerpiece of St. Joseph’s Park which is owned and maintained by the Landmark Society.  St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest Catholic church in Rochester, was ravaged by fire in 1978 which gutted the building, but spared the front façade and iconic combination bell/clock tower.  The ruined structure was preserved and transformed into a unique urban park which highlights the impressive masonry construction of the original building.  The Landmark Society has recently completed repairs to the structure, and improvements to its landscape in an effort to make this unique urban park more accessible to the public.

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>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Anthony Bellomo, IDT chair and downtown resident.

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Inside Downtown Tour – Unique Experiences?

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Is the word “unique” overused? Every restaurant, every attraction, every app loves to promote itself as “unique.”

I’d like to put that to the test, and see if it is an appropriate word to use in describing the Inside Downtown Tour, coming up on Friday September 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and Saturday September 13 from 11 am to 4 pm. You might think that a tour that gets you inside private apartments and other fabulous spaces in downtown Rochester would easily qualify for the “U-word.”  But if that is not enough, here are some of the experiences in addition to the incredible architecture waiting for ticket holders on the tour days.

Sipping beneath gloves, combs, scarves, pens, and jewelry dripping from the ceiling.  Our tour headquarters will be the Rochester Contemporary Art Center.  One of the current exhibitions in “State of the City 2014” features lost (and found) objects displayed above your head. Thanks to sponsor Underberg and Kessler, on Saturday the 13th you can enjoy light beverages and snacks while pondering the connections between the objects.

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Pressing the PH button.  When is the last time you got to press that button on an elevator panel?  On tour days, you won’t need a special pass or keyfob to go to the top – just a tour ticket.

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270 degree view, indoors and out. The outdoor balcony wraps around 3 sides, 11 stories in the air.  For those with acrophobia, you can enjoy the view from inside, gazing through the glass curtain walls of a mid-century marvel.

A view that will make you WANT to sit in the dentist chair. Dr Michael Lewis is kindly opening his office to the tour goers. No worries, an appointment is required if you want to have any of those pointy things stuck in your mouth.

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The best weather watching windows.  Something about seeing the drama of weather played out against the downtown skyline makes you glad for the large windows in this apartment.

The only private downtown pool and firepit.  Okay, you won’t be swimming on this September tour, but you will get to admire this great setting, seldom seen by anyone but the residents.

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who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

An employee cafeteria or cool coffee café? Craft Café was started by D4 eDiscovery to give their employees a place to grab lunch or meet.  But it was too good to keep to themselves, so it’s open to the public as well. On Friday night of the tour they are offering ticket holders complimentary light refreshments.  You can buy great stuff from their menu that night and on the Saturday tour day as well.

A s’mores bar in a burned out church.  We can’t make this stuff up.  Our new YUPs group (Young Urban Preservationists) will be hosting a s ‘mores bar for ticket holders on the Saturday in St Joseph’s Park. Come and roast your marshmallows in a space created from the shell of a church destroyed by fire decades ago.  Rumor has it there will be some cool things happening in the park on Friday night as well.

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How did we do?  Comment to let us know if you think this tour deserves the “U-word.”

There’s one more unique thing about the Inside Downtown Tour – last year it sold out for the first time ever.

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Posted by Cindy Boyer, Director of Public Programs

Tour details: East Ave & E. Main St. | Friday September 12  5:30 to 8:30 pm |Saturday, September 13 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

After you purchase your tickets, invite your friends and family to attend the tour too-use the hashtag #insidedowntown on social media!

>>Follow this link to get your tickets in advance!

Inside Downtown Tour: View from the Top

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September 12 and 13. It’s a little more than a month away: the date when all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) will be at your feet.

The Inside Downtown Tour will give you the “View from the Top” as penthouses and rooftops are open for the 2014 ticket holders. It’s all part of the effort to showcase urban living and working in re-purposed buildings – and to have a great time doing so!

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street. The event will take place on two dates. On Friday, September 12 the sites will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, leaving you time afterwards for a late dinner or refreshing beverage (or two) in the East End. Saturday, September 13 the sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

But you don’t have to choose a day. Your ticket can be used either day, and you can visit the 10 sites in any order that you wish. So – what types of views are we talking about?

The Sibley building will open for us. Winn Development has been creating an amazing transformation of the Grand Old Lady of downtown. You’ll see completed areas as well as sections that are in the process of rehabilitation (not normally open to the public.) The view? Weather depending, you’ll be able to step out on the roof of the former department store for an up close and personal with the iconic tower clock.

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Several other buildings will have private home penthouses open, showcasing upper level living in every sense of the phrase. You’ll enjoy gazing down at the streetscape or across to the neighboring buildings – when you’re not marveling at the wonderful interiors.

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You’ll get to push this button on the IDT!

The pinnacle of the views will be from The Penthouse at One East Avenue. It would be tour-worthy for its fantastic Mid-Century Modern design alone, but the view is the icing on the cupcake. From their 11th story perch you can see Lake Ontario on a clear day, as you stroll the open balcony wrapping three sides of the space. If it is not a clear day you can enjoy the view from inside, as the glass curtain wall gives an unobstructed view no matter what the weather.

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Tour and Ticket Details: Your tour ticket will be good both Friday evening September 12th and Saturday during the day of September 13th. You may visit each tour stop one time, in any order that you desire. On Friday night we’ll have the friendly “Rochester Red Shirts” to greet you and guide you. These retired law enforcement officers from the Downtown Special Services Program will be easy to spot in their red polo shirts and will make sure you know the way to the different tour stops. They even wear glow lights at night!

Inside Downtown Tour Tickets will be available online on August 11th, or at Parkleigh and the The Landmark Society office by September 1st.  Advance tickets are $22. Landmark members may purchase $18 advance tickets from Landmark Society only, online or by phone at (585)546-7029 x11.  If tickets are available the days of the tour they will be $25 for all, sold at Tour HQ, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

Last year’s tour was a sell-out!

New exclusive items in the shop!

During our Diamond Jubilee we had quite a unique experience…local artists painted throughout the party creating one of a kind pieces for our shop! These paintings, valued at $700 are on sale for just $350!

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Above: “At the Feet of Jesus” -24″ x 30″ Original on canvas; acrylic paints by Rochester born artist David Haygood, Jr.   >>Click here to learn more about this piece

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Above: “Overflow”-2′ x 4′ Original on canvas; acrylic paints by South African born, now Rochester based artist, Kim Rowlands. >>Click here to learn more about this piece

Also, it’s your last chance to purchase the beautiful and comprehensive “200 Years of Rochester Architecture and Gardens”

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In this book, Andy Olenick provides one of the most vibrant and compreshensive collections of color photography  ever published about Rochester. His approach to architectural photography is to “let the architecture speak for itself.” Writer Richard Reisem contributes vital substance to this book with an excellent organization and lively, informative captions. Bill Bucket’s design enchances the power of the photographs and provides us with a front-row seat to the finest and best in greater Rochester.
-Written by Henry A. McCartney
>>click here for more details

Check out the entire Landmark Society Shop here!

Plus-did you know you can support The Landmark Society while shopping on Amazon?

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A Time Capsule to Call Home

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It was a past time of sorts for me, call it home sickness, call it procrastinating, to keep tabs on old houses that came for sale in and around Rochester during my years in college and then graduate school. I would occasionally pick a particularly jaw dropping one and post it to Facebook and brag to my out of state friends about the beautiful and affordable housing stock in Rochester. Their responses usually were ones of architectural admiration, and occasionally, jealousy. I distinctly remember the amazing colonial revival style home in Maplewood that had a textbook worthy Arts and Crafts interior, among many others that I spent countless hours perusing and drooling over.

As luck would have it, I had the great privilege of returning to Rochester May, 2013 with a job offer in hand at the architecture firm of my choice. I continued my past time of house window shopping focusing on more affordable options that could possibly be within my budget when it came time to purchase one for my own. It was on New Year’s Eve that I decided to make things a bit more real, picked up the phone and called fellow preservationist and realtor Rome Celli. We set up a series of showings across the City and Irondequoit, with some (not so) simple qualifying factors:

  • Good architectural design.
  • Somewhat close to downtown (19th Ward, Maplewood, South Wedge, North Winton Village, St. Paul Blvd Corridor)
  • The more original, the better!
  • Renovated bathrooms and kitchens, a travesty!
  • …progress be damned, I wanted a time capsule!

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After several showings, and almost submitting an offer on a great house on Lakeview Park, we finally got to see a small Tudor Revival style house off of St. Paul Boulevard that looked promising from the photos online. Time was of the essence, as the house had struggled to sell, had just been de-listed, and the owner intended on renovating the kitchen to help sell the house.

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From the photos I could tell that many of the features of the house were original, from the kitchen to the bathroom, light fixtures to built-ins, but one thing for sure was not original…the vinyl siding.

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On a whim, a day or so before our scheduled showing, I decided to do some research on the house, as I am an obsessive compulsive researcher. I could not have predicted, in my wildest dreams, the shear amount of documentation and information that turned up.

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This little house was “The Democrat and Chronicle Master Model Home of 1928” over a dozen newspaper articles, with photographs and drawings were published over a period of several months.

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After seeing the house in person I was smitten further, because with the few exceptions of the bathroom toilet, general appliances, and one light fixture, the house was completely original to 1928. This little house filled all of my tedious requirements, and had an interesting history to boot.Throwing all caution to the wind, I submitted an offer and through some back and forth had it accepted and closed in May, not even a year since I had moved back to Rochester.  Exciting? Yes. Naïve? Probably.

I then decided that I wanted to document the process of toiling over my first home for my own memory and for fellow preservationists enjoyment and entertainment. Thus, My Perfect Little Money Pit was born. I have done my best to keep the blog up to date, entertaining, and helpful for any of the people out there who are brave enough to be good stewards to old homes. I hope that it will inspire others to love old houses leaks, cracks, and all, and that other fellow preservationists might follow along as I learn and grow with my special little house. Oh, and just incase you were worried, the original story-book style cedar siding is still present underneath the vinyl and in good shape!

Follow the progress at http://myperfectlittlemoneypit.com/

Guest post by Christopher Brandt. Christopher is an Architect in Training at Bero Architecture PLLC, longtime volunteer and former Intern of The Landmark Society, and lifelong resident and champion of the greater Rochester area.

Check out some other historic house blogs below and post in the comments if we’ve missed any that you love!

http://ittybittybungalow.wordpress.com/
http://www.merrypad.com
/
http://www.stuccohouse.blogspot.com/
http://the-kelly-house.blogspot.com/
http://anurbancottage.blogspot.com/
http://crockettstreethouse.wordpress.com/
http://ignitethecreativity.wordpress.com/
http://freshome.com/2014/07/17/historic-homes-still-manage-capture-hearts/

Full Moon Flashlight Fun at Stone-Tolan!

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This summer, weather permitting, we will be having two nights of our fun-filled (great for the whole family!) Full Moon Flashlight Tours at the Stone-Tolan historic site.  Join us on Tuesday July 15 and Tuesday August 12 from 7:00-8:30 PM to explore the historic site, play vintage lawn games, and enjoy stories & games around the campfire. We’ll have complimentary popcorn, S’Mores kits and cold beverages will be available for purchase.

Photo courtesy: Richard Margolis

Photo courtesy: Richard Margolis

The Stone-Tolan House historic site is located at 2370 East Avenue in Brighton, NY, free on-site parking available. Admission is $15.00 per family ($12 for Landmark family members), $6.00 ($5 members) for individuals attending solo or with a buddy.

We’ll see you around the campfire!

Follow us on Instagram!

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We’re out in the field quite a bit–visiting properties, attending meetings & events, or just exploring the historic resources and communities throughout western New York.

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Instagram is the perfect platform to share those photo updates with you, so follow us at @landmarksociety to see what we’re up to!

And don’t forget to give us a shoutout or use some of the hashtags below so we can see what kind of preservation fun you’re up to!

  • Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs): #yuproc
  • House & Garden Tour: #rochousetour
  • Inside Downtown Tour: #insidedowntown
  • #NYPresConf for our annual NY Statewide Preservation Conference
  • #ellwangergarden
  • #FivetoRevive

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A House & Garden Tour for the ages!

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We had record sales, record attendance, perfect weather – and the best team of volunteers and staff on the planet!

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A sellout crowd traveled through the neighborhood over the weekend. But of course numbers don’t tell the whole story.  We heard countless remarks about the quality of the tour, the stupendous gardens, and the surprise at learning about the charm of the homes in the area (“I had no idea that homes in the city could have such beautiful gardens.”)  The tour-goers were ecstatic (and exhausted) after tromping up and down Mount Hope’s hill.

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Our many, many thanks to all of those who graciously opened their homes to us, the incredibly dedicated volunteers, and all of the tour-goers! This is one of our largest fundraisers of the year and we could’t put it together without each and every one of you.

We hope to see you next year for our 45th Annual House & Garden Tour!