Bash on the Bridges: Genesee Valley Park

Celebrate the historic pedestrian bridges in Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park. Live music, lawn games, drinks and light refreshments. Short, guided walking tours of the Park and the handsome concrete arch bridges, built in 1916 and 1919 and designed by the influential Olmsted Brothers firm, will depart at 6:45 p.m. Rain or shine! Please RSVP.

The Preservation League of New York State and The Landmark Society of Western New York will host a celebration of the three Olmsted pedestrian bridges in Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park on Thursday, July 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. >>Click here to register. 

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Canalside Shelter on the east side of Genesee Valley Park (see aerial image below) with live music, lawn games, drinks, and light refreshments. Short, guided walking tours of the Park and the handsome concrete arch bridges, which were built in 1916 and 1919 and designed by the influential Olmsted Brothers firm, will depart at 6:45 p.m.

GVP Map Graphic 3

The pedestrian bridges link regional and statewide trails including the Erie Canalway and are functional and historic assets. Limited funding, deferred maintenance, and uncertainty about rehabilitation responsibilities have put these bridges at risk.

Casual dress and sturdy shoes are recommended for the walking tour. Light refreshments will be served. Partygoers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and lawn games.

The Preservation League of New York State named the three bridges to its list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save, in 2014.

“Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.”

In late 2011, the New York State Department of Transportation (Region Four) released a Conditions Assessment and Concept Study for the three bridges which identified structural deficiencies, erosion issues, and other concerns. Even without a study, the deterioration of concrete surfaces and details are obvious. The report identified five treatment alternatives, three of which call for replacement.

The event will celebrate the efforts of local stakeholders such as the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the NYS Department of Transportation and The Landmark Society of Western New York, to devise a plan for stewardship of these bridges.

“These Erie Canal pedestrian bridges are a unique and highly visible feature in one of our most important historic landscapes, Genesee Valley Park,” said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society. “The park was originally conceived as a major component  of the Rochester park system, one of only four park systems in the country designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, one of America’s most prominent and visionary landscape architects. We invite neighbors of Genesee Valley Park and all Rochesterians to join us in celebrating and drawing attention to these remarkable assets.”

There is no cost for the event, but space is limited and reservations are required. Please register using the links on this page or call 585-546-7029 x11. The event will be held rain or shine.

The Canalside Shelter is located adjacent to the easternmost of the three Olmsted pedestrian bridges. To get to the shelter and the bridges, enter the Park from Elmwood Avenue. Follow the park road (Moore Road) and just before crossing the Erie Canal, make the first right towards the shelter parking lot. Cyclists may access the bridges by following the Genesee Riverway Trail on the east side of the river. Those taking the Riverway Trail from the west should make a left and cross the river just after the Genesee Waterways Center.

>>Click here to register.

 

Bash on the Bridges

Join The Landmark Society and the Preservation League of New York State as we celebrate the Olmsted Pedestrian Bridges in Genesee Valley Park!

>>Click here to RSVP.

From easternmost bridge to center bridge

The Preservation League of New York State and The Landmark Society of Western New York will host a celebration of the three Olmsted pedestrian bridges in Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park on Thursday, July 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The event will begin at the Canalside Shelter on the east side of Genesee Valley Park with live music, lawn games, drinks, and light refreshments (see below for aerial view with location details).

Short, guided walking tours of the Park and the handsome concrete arch bridges, which were built in 1916 and 1919 and designed by the influential Olmsted Brothers firm, will depart at 6:45 p.m.

The pedestrian bridges link regional and statewide trails including the Erie Canalway and are functional and historic assets. Limited funding, deferred maintenance, and uncertainty about rehabilitation responsibilities have put these bridges at risk.

Casual dress and sturdy shoes are recommended for the walking tour. Light refreshments will be served. Partygoers are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and lawn games.

The Preservation League of New York State named the three bridges to its list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save, in 2014.

“Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.”

In late 2011, the New York State Department of Transportation (Region Four) released a Conditions Assessment and Concept Study for the three bridges which identified structural deficiencies, erosion issues, and other concerns. Even without a study, the deterioration of concrete surfaces and details are obvious. The report identified five treatment alternatives, three of which call for replacement.

The event will celebrate the efforts of local stakeholders such as the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the NYS Department of Transportation and The Landmark Society of Western New York, to devise a plan for stewardship of these bridges.

“These Erie Canal pedestrian bridges are a unique and highly visible feature in one of our most important historic landscapes, Genesee Valley Park,” said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society. “The park was originally conceived as a major component of the Rochester park system, one of only four park systems in the country designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, one of America’s most prominent and visionary landscape architects. We invite neighbors of Genesee Valley Park and all Rochesterians to join us in celebrating and drawing attention to these remarkable assets.”

There is no cost for the event, but space is limited and reservations are required. The event will be held rain or shine. >>Click here to RSVP.

The Canalside Shelter is located adjacent to the easternmost of the three Olmsted pedestrian bridges. To get to the shelter and the bridges, enter the Park from Elmwood Avenue. Follow the park road (Moore Road) and just before crossing the Erie Canal, make the first right towards the shelter parking lot. Cyclists may access the bridges by following the Genesee Riverway Trail on the east side of the river. Those taking the Riverway Trail from the west should make a left and cross the river just after the Genesee Waterways Center.

GVP Map Graphic 3

Film|Frederick Law Olmsted-Designing America

Please join our friends of the NY Upstate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in celebrating their 60th anniversary with the film Frederick Law Olmsted-Designing America, at The Little Theatre at 6:30 pm.

The documentary is an hour in length and following the film will be a panel discussion featuring local speakers; JoAnn Beck, ASLA, City of Rochester’s Senior Landscape Architect and Katie Eggers Comeau, Architectural Historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, as well as guests from Ithaca, NY Judy Hyman, and Jeff Cluas. The panel will be moderated by Project Manager at Bayer Landscape Architecture, Zakery Steele, ASLA.

At the conclusion of the panel discussion, attendees are cordially invited to the 60th Anniversary reception at Ballroom 384 at East Ave Inn & Suites. Tickets are just $25 for this great documentary and wonderful occasion! 

>>Click here to purchase your tickets

125 Years of Rochester’s Parks

Celebrate the 125th birthday of the Rochester park system. Katie Eggers Comeau will discuss her recent contribution to the journal Rochester History, tracing the city’s many parks from their 19th-century beginnings through the present. Learn about the fascinating backstory of old favorites, like Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks, as well as such modern counterparts as Turning Point Park.

Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park

Katie Eggers Comeau is the architectural historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Association for Olmsted Parks. Prior to joining the Bero Architecture staff in 2010, she was the Director of Preservation Services at the Landmark Society of Western New York, where her projects included extensive documentation of and advocacy for Rochester’s historic park system. The lecture will be followed by a Question and Answer session. Copies of Comeau’s article will be for sale, and the author will be available to sign them.

Highland Park

Highland Park

>>Click here for the event flyer

Sunday, March 16 | 2:00-3:00 p.m. | Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building | Sponsored by the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County. Call 585-428-8370 for more information.

125 Years of Rochester’s Parks

Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park

Celebrate the 125th birthday of the Rochester park system. Katie Eggers Comeau will discuss her recent contribution to the journal Rochester History, tracing the city’s many parks from their 19th-century beginnings through the present. Learn about the fascinating backstory of old favorites, like Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks, as well as such modern counterparts as Turning Point Park. This presentation is free and open to the public.

Sunday, March 16 | 2:00-3:00 p.m. | Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building | Sponsored by the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County. Call 585-428-8370 for more information.

>>Click here to learn more

Olmsted Bridges Named to “Seven to Save”

The Preservation League of New York State has named the three Olmsted pedestrian bridges in Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park to its list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save.

Photo courtesy Dan Dangler

Photo courtesy Dan Dangler

These handsome concrete bridges were built in 1916 and 1919 and designed by the influential Olmsted Brothers firm. They link regional and statewide trails including the Erie Canalway and are functional and historic assets. Limited funding, deferred maintenance, and uncertainty about rehabilitation responsibilities have put these bridges at risk.

“Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.”

In late 2011, the New York State Department of Transportation (Region Four) released a Conditions Assessment and Concept Study for the three bridges which identified structural deficiencies, erosion issues, and other concerns. Even without a study, the deterioration of concrete surfaces and details are obvious. The report identified five treatment alternatives, three of which call for replacement.

With this announcement, the League hopes to launch a collaborative effort with local stakeholders such as the City of Rochester, Monroe County, the NYS Department of Transportation and The Landmark Society of Western New York, to devise a plan for stewardship of these bridges.

“Through the Seven to Save program, we provide targeted support to seven of New York’s most important and endangered historic resources,” said Tania Werbizky, the Preservation League’s regional director for technical and grant programs for the Southern Tier and Western New York. “Whether sites are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, or, in some cases, outright demolition, we have a proven record of working with community advocates to save a number of significant properties.”

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

“These Erie Canal pedestrian bridges, designed by the renowned Olmsted Brothers firm, are a unique community asset and a highly visible feature in one of our most important historic landscapes, Genesee Valley Park,” said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director, Landmark Society of Western New York. “They are part of The Landmark Society Five to Revive List and now inclusion on the Preservation League’s Seven to Save list will increase awareness of these resources across the state as we partner with other stakeholders on funding opportunities to assist in the repair and maintenance of the structures.”

“The Olmsted Bridges are unique to the Canal System, adding to the beauty and heritage that visitors and residents of the Erie Canalway value,” said Bob Radliff, Acting Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “We applaud the Preservation League of New York State, the Landmark Society of Western New York, and the citizens of greater Rochester who are working to save these treasured landmarks.”

“Arching so gracefully over the Erie Canal, these bridges are a key component of the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail and the 90-mile Genesee Valley Greenway Trail as well as a defining feature of the Olmsted landscape in Genesee Valley Park,” said Robin Dropkin, Executive Director, Parks & Trails New York. “We commend the Preservation League of New York State and the Landmark Society of Western New York for bringing attention to the critical need for rehabilitation of these threatened historic structures and look forward to the start of a collaborative effort to ensure their long-term preservation.”

Since 1999, publicity and advocacy resulting from Seven to Save designation has led to the rehabilitation and reopening of the Oswego City Public Library, the rebirth of Montauk Manor on Long Island, and the rededication of the once-abandoned George Harvey Justice Building in Binghamton along with successes at several other locations.

The Preservation League of New York State is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1974. The League invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of New York’s historic buildings and landscapes. It leads advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.

 >>Check out photos by Richard Margolis from the press conference here

RIT Student Project Highlights Five to Revive

mccabe_highres1

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

When Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) students, Jenny McCabe and Mariah Lamb, contacted The Landmark Society regarding a collaborative project featuring one of our Five to Revive selections for 2013, we jumped at the chance. Jenny and Mariah wanted to do a feature on the pedestrian bridges that span the Erie Canal in Genesee Valley Park. The bridges not only provide transportation to walkers, runners, bikers using Rochester’s extensive trail system but they’re also significant as a design element in the park.

mccabe_highres5

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

The park itself was designed by noted landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, while the bridges were designed by his successors in the Olmsted firm when the Canal was re-routed through the Park.

mccabe_highres3

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

We thought Jenny and Mariah’s project would be a great opportunity to highlight the beauty of the bridges to a new audience. Here, in their own words, is a bit more about the project:

This project was for a class at RIT called Editorial Design and Photography. In this class photographers and graphic designers team up to create an editorial article. We do this three times with different partners and different topics with the end result of a magazine called Positive/Negative. The topics are completely open to the students with one guideline: it has to have either a positive or a negative spin. We write the article, photograph the story, and design the layout. For our project, Mariah Lamb (designer) and I (Jenny McCabe/ photographer) knew we wanted to focus on something local. We knew The Landmark Society would make for a great story and wanted to showcase the positive things they do for Rochester. I was attracted to photograph the pedestrian bridge in Genesee Valley Park because of its wonderful shape and the purpose it serves to the Rochester community. We very much enjoyed working on this project in collaboration with The Landmark Society.

And here is the final product that Jenny and Mariah produced: We so enjoyed working with them and love how they have showcased the bridges! Congratulations on a beautiful final project!

mccabe_highres4

Photo courtesy Jenny McCabe

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Symposia

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. photo-credit Olmsted National Historic Site, NPS

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Photo couresty Olmsted National Historic Site, NPS.

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., whose famous father designed parks in Rochester and many other cities in the 19th century, broadened the Olmsted legacy with his groundbreaking 20th century work in urban and environmental planning, natural resources conservation, park management, and landscape architecture, among other fields. His contributions in Rochester included design work in the city’s major parks and small neighborhood squares, including extensive design work to integrate the Barge Canal into Genesee Valley Park.

GVPBridge

One of the three concrete arch pedestrian bridges designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in Genesee Valley Park.

The National Association for Olmsted Parks and its partners will present a multidisciplinary, two-part symposium on the work and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Participants will gain an understanding of how Olmsted Jr.’s designs, writings, organizational leadership, and politically astute collaborations offer insights and models for solving complex contemporary issues in landscape architecture, preservation and planning.

>>Visit NAOP’s website to learn more about the Symposia.

National Mall-credit Commission of Fine Arts-small

National Mall. Photo courtesy Commission of Fine Arts.

Part I:

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: Inspirations for the 21st Century
Washington, D.C.
October 10-11, 2013

Part II:

Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: A Vision for the American West
Stanford University
March 27-28, 2014

>>Visit NAOP’s website to learn more about the Symposia.

View from Olmsted Point Yosemite, CA-credit Douglas Nelson-small

View from Olmsted Point, Yosemite National Park, California. Photo courtesy Douglas Nelson.

 

New Signs in Rochester’s Olmsted Parks

With the impending storm from Hurricane Sandy, now might not be the best time to head out and see them for yourself, but here’s a look at some of the new interpretive way-finding signs that have just been erected in Rochester’s Highland Park.

A number of years in the making, the signs were funded, in part, by grants from the federal Preserve America program and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. The Landmark Society worked with the City of Rochester and Monroe County to secure the funding back in 2006. The project also funded signs in Genesee Valley Park, Seneca Park, and Maplewood Park, for a total of 13 signs in all.

All three parks are part of Rochester’s park system designed by renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted is perhaps more commonly known for his work in New York City (Central Park and Prospect Park) but Rochester bears the rare honor of being one of only four park systems designed by Olmsted (the others being Buffalo, Louisville, and Boston).

If there’s any fall foliage left after the storm passes and the brush is cleared, take a lovely fall stroll or a bike ride through one of Rochester’s Olmsted-designed parks and learn a bit more about the parks’ design and why Frederick Law Olmsted was such an important figure in the development of many American cities and parks.

Thanks to JoAnn Beck, Senior Landscape Architect with the City of Rochester, for the photos!