Best of 2014: Preservation in WNY

It’s that time of year, when pundits, news outlets, and TV shows look back on the year in review, when  Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with best-of lists. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s our look back at 2014 with a highlight of 14 preservation successes.

2014 saw many successes, as well as new challenges and opportunities. Thank you to everyone who supports our work; together we can make a difference in communities across WNY. Here’s to many more successes in 2015!

1. The Preservation Conference goes statewide

For the first time ever, our annual Preservation Conference became a statewide event. This also marked the first time New York state has seen a statewide preservation conference in well over a dozen years. Over 230 (a record-setting number) preservation colleagues and community advocates joined us in Rochester’s East End for three days of inspirational stories, calls to action, and networking.

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2. Young Urban Preservationists

In March, a group of passionate young preservationists launched our new affiliate group, the Young Urban Preservationists, or YUPs for short. Whether it was a happy hour, our first annual Bikes, Beer & Buildings scavenger hunt, the re-opening of St. Joseph’s Park, or roasting marshmallows at. St. Joseph’s during Inside Downtown, we’ve been so excited to see so many youngish folks interested in preservation. Follow the YUPs on Facebook and Instagram, sign up for the YUP e-newsletter, or contact Caitlin to learn how you can get involved.

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3. WHERE THE #&@% AM I?

No, we didn’t have too much eggnog over the Christmas holiday. WHERE THE #&@% AM I? is a new coaster program we launched, along with the YUPs, this year. You scan the QR code on the back of the coaster and learn some interesting and titillating (sometimes apocryphal) tidbits about your favorite watering hole (which just so happens to be in a historic building). It’s currently been released in a few select locations in and around Rochester: Abilene Bar & Lounge; 2Vine; Black Button; Edibles; and the American Hotel in Lima (home to the largest urinal in the U.S.). Visit where.landmarksociety.org to learn more.

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4. Eastman Dental Dispensary on the road to renewal

Some of the best (and most overdue) news of 2014–one of our 2013 Five to Revive properties, the Eastman Dental Dispensary on E. Main St. in Rochester, will be rehabbed by Home Leasing LLC into senior apartments. Inclusion on our Five to Revive list was critical in securing a $3.5 million NYS grant.

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

Eastman Dental Dispensary [photo courtesy Richard Margolis]

5. Instagram

We don’t take a lot of selfies but our staff does spend a lot of time on the road, visiting communities across the region, and getting inside some pretty amazing historic buildings. Now you can join us in our travels…Follow @landmarksociety.

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6. House & Garden Tour sells out

The Highland Park neighborhood welcomed us and about 2,000 of our closest friends into their homes in June. Tourgoers got a taste of some of the best that city living has to offer–active and engaged neighbors; verdant gardens; an Olmsted-designed park right in your backyard; easy access to dining and shopping on South Ave; and, of course, unique architecture.

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7. Inside Downtown Tour sells out

It was billed as “A View from the Top” and that was certainly the case! From the incredible attendance to the incredible views, the 14th annual Inside Downtown Tour was up there with the best of them.  Attendees enjoyed an inside look at loft apartments and other great spaces in the Main and East area, not to mention a sneak peak of the great rehabilitation taking place in the Sibley building.

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8. New programming at Stone-Tolan Historic Site

In partnership with Green Zebra Catering, we offered the first ever farm to table Harvest Dinner at Stone-Tolan. Earlier in the year, in honor of Brighton’s bicentennial, we partnered with Historic Brighton and the Town of Brighton to re-enact the first town meeting, which took place at the Stone-Tolan house. Our very own preservation planner made her (reluctant) acting debut at this event!

Stay tuned for more new opportunities to experience Monroe County’s oldest home in 2015!

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Photo courtesy David Boyer

Photo courtesy David Boyer

9. Cocktails & Carburetors

Tourgoers at this special event got a look inside exclusive historic garages and automobiles.

Photo courtesy David Boyer

Photo courtesy David Boyer

10. Ribbon cuttings galore!

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the work we do at The Landmark Society is attending the ribbon cuttings once rehab projects have been completed. These projects are years, often decades, in the making and represent the culmination of years of hard work, vision, and a significant financial investment. The resurgence of downtown Rochester and its surrounding city neighborhoods simply would not be possible without preservation and the adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

2014 saw the completion and beginning of lots of exciting projects. To name just a few: 300 Alexander, Button Lofts, Cunningham Carriage Factory, Hart’s Local Grocers, as well as ongoing work on the Clarendon Stone Store (Orleans County), Edge of the Wedge, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Sibley Building, and the Bevier Building.

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Clarendon Joe painting store

11. St. Joseph’s Park opens its gates

The YUPs marked the official re-opening of St. Joseph’s Park in downtown Rochester this summer with the Open the Gates event. Despite a massive downpour and thunderstorm early in the evening, the crowds came out in force once the storm passed. We have been thrilled with the interest and support for this unique urban park and hope to continue this success next spring and summer.

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12. Downtown Holley receives Preserve NY grant

With assistance from Landmark staff, the Village of Holley successfully completed a grant application to the Preservation League of New York State’s, Preserve New York grant program. This grant will help fund the completion of a National Register of Historic Places district nomination for downtown Holley. Once the paperwork is complete, properties within the historic district–including our 2013 Five to Revive, the Holley High School–will be eligible for state and federal rehab tax credits, a key revitalization tool.

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13. Travel Tours

Our Travel Tour season completed another successful run with trips to Buffalo and the Hudson Valley.

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14. YOU–our members and supporters

Last but definitely not least, our members and supporters. Whether you attended the House & Garden Tour, donated to the Annual Fund, sponsored one of our many events, donated to the Jubilee Silent Auction, journeyed with us to the Hudson Valley on our Travel Tour, volunteered at an event, opened your home to us, or simply renewed your membership, your support was the most important success of the year. THANK YOU!

LM-2014-annual-appeal-fall-FINAL-green_Page_1You can continue to support our work across the region by making a contribution to our 2014 Annual Fund.

 

The Landmark Society 2014 Preservation Awards

Join us on Sunday, November 16 at 3:00 p.m. for one of the most anticipated events of the year:  The Landmark Society’s 2014 Annual Awards.  This special ceremony will take place in Rochester’s historic City Hall, the handsomely restored Richardsonian Romanesque landmark located downtown at 30 Church Street.  Built between 1885 and 1889 as the Federal Court House and Post Office, this iconic  building was rehabilitated in the late 1970s after many years of neglect and re-opened in 1978 as the new City Hall.  The effort to revitalize this once-vacant building received major support and guidance from The Landmark Society and has been honored with several major awards over the years.

A highlight of the calendar year, the Awards Ceremony will precede the Society’s Annual Jubilee celebration, scheduled one week later on Sunday, November 23.  The Awards are given to individuals and organizations in our nine-county area that have made outstanding efforts in the preservation of their homes, public buildings, historic properties, and landscapes.

This event is free and open to the public. Check back, we will be announcing winners in anticipation of the event!

 

Destination Main Street

Online registration has closed. Contact Carolyn Haygood at 546-7029 x11 to inquire if spots are available.

A high-impact breakfast presentation for Rochester’s business community, local officials, developers and citizens who believe in the future of their commercial corridors and the power of locally owned, small businesses.

Jon Schallert is an internationally-recognized speaker and business expert specializing in teaching businesses and communities how to turn themselves into Consumer Destinations. Schallert speaks to thousands annually on his proprietary 14-step “Destination Business” process, which he developed over the course of nearly 30 years of working with independent business owners.

Schedule

Check-in: 7:30-8:00am
Breakfast: 8:00-8:30
Presentation: 8:30-9:30
Wrap-up & networking: 9:30-10:00

Tickets

Online registration has closed. Contact Carolyn Haygood at 546-7029 x11 to inquire if spots are available.

$35/each
Purchase your tickets below or by calling 585.546.7029 x11
Is your business interested in sponsoring a table? Contact Larry Francer (585.546.7029 x14)

This event is held in partnership with Rochester Downtown Development Corp. and the Community Design Center of Rochester.

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ROC360 Walking Tour

Guided tour of downtown Rochester ends 300 feet above street level at CloudSmartz

Presented by the Young Urban Preservationists, the Democrat & Chronicle’s RocNext section, CloudSmartz Inc., and the Rochester Downtown Development Corp.

This event is free but registration is required.
>>Click here to reserve your spot.

Take a tour of downtown Rochester – the buildings in transition and a look at its new beginning – during ROC360, a guided walking tour sponsored by IT services company CloudSmartz Inc., the Democrat and Chronicle’s RocNext section and The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists, and the RDDC.

Guided tours begin at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Democrat and Chronicle, 55 Exchange Blvd., will loop around various sections of the city’s center, highlight some of the buildings under redevelopment and local history, and will end on the 21st floor of the First Federal Building, the home of CloudSmartz for a reception, networking and cocktails. The final tour will leave from the Democrat and Chronicle at 6 p.m.

Visitors will be encouraged to bring their smartphones, take pictures along various routes in the city and post to Instagram and Twitter using the #ROC360 hashtag. These photos may be used for an online gallery at the Democrat and Chronicle.

This event is free but registration is required.
>>Click here to reserve your spot.

Click here for a sneak peek of the 360 degree view you’ll have from 300 feet up at CloudSmartz, Inc’s offices.

**Rain location: Guests will be invited to CloudSmartz Inc. for a reception, networking and refreshments in case of heavy showers.

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Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.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!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

Inside Downtown Tour 2014

View from the Top!
East Avenue and East Main Street
Proudly sponsored by Winn Development

The Inside Downtown Tour highlights urban environments where folks are creating exciting spaces to live and work. We visit re-purposed spaces, renovated homes, lovingly preserved places and newly built sites that are designed with sensitivity to the overall built environment. Basically, we get you “in” on the latest urban living trends.

This year’s tour sites radiate off of East Avenue and East Main Street.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!

Why are we calling it “View from the Top?” There are an extraordinary number of penthouses opening for us, plus the view from the top of One East Avenue is unequaled at any other site. You’ll have all of Rochester (and a good portion of Monroe County) at your feet.

UPDATE: Online ticket sales have closed. Purchased tickets will be available for pickup at Tour Headquarters (RoCo, 137 East Ave.) during Tour hours only. If we are not sold out, day-of tickets will also be available for purchase ($25 each) during Tour hours.

Click here for the #insidedowntown tour page

 

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!

erecting a liberty pole

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.

who would suspect there is a pool behind these walls?

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!