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.

 

Ellwanger Garden Special Open Hours during Lilac Festival

2008-5-6-LKZ-Ellwanger-11

While you’re exploring the lilacs at Highland Park, escape the crowds and stroll over to the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Avenue.

Free admission, donations accepted.

What is the Lilac Festival Connection?
The altruism of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry changed the face of Rochester. Their gift of 20 choice acres prodded the city to form the Parks Department in 1888. The 20 acres were the start of Highland Park, location of the world famous “Lilac Festival” each May.

The success of the Rochester nursery trade, as exemplified by the Mt. Hope Nursery, earned Rochester the title “The Flower City.” The Lilac Festival maintains the heritage of that name, and Ellwanger Garden gives you the chance to experience the inspiration of that heritage.

Ellwanger Garden Special Open Hours during Lilac Festival

2008-5-6-LKZ-Ellwanger-11

While you’re exploring the lilacs at Highland Park, escape the crowds and stroll over to the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Avenue.

Free admission, donations accepted.

What is the Lilac Festival Connection?
The altruism of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry changed the face of Rochester. Their gift of 20 choice acres prodded the city to form the Parks Department in 1888. The 20 acres were the start of Highland Park, location of the world famous “Lilac Festival” each May.

The success of the Rochester nursery trade, as exemplified by the Mt. Hope Nursery, earned Rochester the title “The Flower City.” The Lilac Festival maintains the heritage of that name, and Ellwanger Garden gives you the chance to experience the inspiration of that heritage.

Ellwanger Garden Special Open Hours during Lilac Festival

2008-5-6-LKZ-Ellwanger-11

While you’re exploring the lilacs at Highland Park, escape the crowds and stroll over to the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Avenue.

Free admission, donations accepted.

What is the Lilac Festival Connection?
The altruism of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry changed the face of Rochester. Their gift of 20 choice acres prodded the city to form the Parks Department in 1888. The 20 acres were the start of Highland Park, location of the world famous “Lilac Festival” each May.

The success of the Rochester nursery trade, as exemplified by the Mt. Hope Nursery, earned Rochester the title “The Flower City.” The Lilac Festival maintains the heritage of that name, and Ellwanger Garden gives you the chance to experience the inspiration of that heritage.

Ellwanger Garden Special Open Hours during Lilac Festival

2008-5-6-LKZ-Ellwanger-11

 

While you’re exploring the lilacs at Highland Park, escape the crowds and stroll over to the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Avenue.

Free admission, donations accepted.

What is the Lilac Festival Connection?
The altruism of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry changed the face of Rochester. Their gift of 20 choice acres prodded the city to form the Parks Department in 1888. The 20 acres were the start of Highland Park, location of the world famous “Lilac Festival” each May.

The success of the Rochester nursery trade, as exemplified by the Mt. Hope Nursery, earned Rochester the title “The Flower City.” The Lilac Festival maintains the heritage of that name, and Ellwanger Garden gives you the chance to experience the inspiration of that heritage.

Olmsted Birthday Bash on the Bridge

Celebrate the 193rd Birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted with music, food and fun!

Rochester will celebrate the birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, revered as a visionary landscape architect and designer of several of Rochester’s majestic parks on Sunday, April 26.

The Olmsted Birthday Bash on the Bridge will run from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on the pedestrian bridge between Seneca and Maplewood Parks. (Rain location: Wegman Lodge in Seneca Park).

The afternoon features refreshments, music, sidewalk-chalk drawings and a display of historic Seneca and Maplewood Park pictures from the Albert Stone collection. The event is sponsored by the Friends and Neighbors of Seneca Park, Highland Park Conservancy and The Landmark Society of Western New York with additional support from Hart’s Local Grocers.

Parking is available at Maplewood Park (off Bridgeview Dr.) on the west side of the River or in Seneca Park (near the playground) on the east side. For those wishing to travel on two wheels, a group bicycle ride will depart from the Roundhouse at Genesee Valley Park at 12:00p.m. and travel to the Birthday Bash through Highland Park and Maplewood Park before arriving at the bridge.

Rochester is just one of four cities nationwide that boasts an entire park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for his design of New York’s Central Park. Olmsted designed Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks for Rochester. He and the firm that continued his work after his retirement also designed several parkways and small neighborhood parks.

In 1888, Rochester’s Board of Park Commissioners selected Olmsted to design a network of parks and parkways for the city. Olmsted encouraged the Commissioners to set aside generous amounts of open space as the city’s first major public parks and proposed a system focused on the city’s great natural asset – the dramatic Genesee River in all its glorious variety.

>>Click here for the Google map with exact location and parking

Olmsted Birthday Bash on the Bridge

Celebrate the 193rd Birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted with music, food and fun!

Rochester will celebrate the birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, revered as a visionary landscape architect and designer of several of Rochester’s majestic parks on Sunday, April 26th.

The Olmsted Birthday Bash on the Bridge will run from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. on the pedestrian bridge between Seneca and Maplewood Parks. (Rain location: Wegman Lodge in Seneca Park).

Photo courtesy Dan Dangler

Photo courtesy Dan Dangler

The afternoon features refreshments, music, sidewalk-chalk drawings and a display of historic Seneca and Maplewood Park pictures from the Albert Stone collection. The event is sponsored by the Friends and Neighbors of Seneca Park, Highland Park Conservancy and The Landmark Society of Western New York with additional support from Hart’s Local Grocers.

Parking is available at Maplewood Park (off Bridgeview Dr.) on the west side of the River or in Seneca Park (near the playground) on the east side. For those wishing to travel on two wheels, a group bicycle ride will depart from the Roundhouse at Genesee Valley Park at 12:00p.m. and travel to the Birthday Bash through Highland Park and Maplewood Park before arriving at the bridge.

Rochester is just one of four cities nationwide that boasts an entire park system designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, best known for his design of New York’s Central Park. Olmsted designed Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks for Rochester. He and the firm that continued his work after his retirement also designed several parkways and small neighborhood parks.

In 1888, Rochester’s Board of Park Commissioners selected Olmsted to design a network of parks and parkways for the city. Olmsted encouraged the Commissioners to set aside generous amounts of open space as the city’s first major public parks and proposed a system focused on the city’s great natural asset – the dramatic Genesee River in all its glorious variety.

>>Click here for the Google map with exact location and parking

Lilac Festival at Ellwanger Garden

While you’re exploring the lilacs at Highland Park, escape the crowds and stroll over to the Ellwanger Garden on Mt. Hope Avenue.

New hours this year! The Ellwanger Garden will be open daily during Lilac Festival, May 10-18

Monday – Friday  – 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday– 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free admission, donations accepted.

Along with the beauty of the garden, additional activities (weather dependent) will be taking place on the grounds as well.

Monday May 12 – Professional photographer David Boyer will be on hand to offer tips on photographing flowers and plants – whether you are using a camera or your phone

Tuesday through Friday – Individual members of the Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Group (directed by Mitzie Collins)  will provide live acoustic music, floating over the garden. On Wednesday the 14th they will be joined by an acoustic guitarist.

Thursday – Watch watercolorist Mary Nicosia create a painting live, as she paints en plein air (in the open air.)

2008-5-6 LKZ Ellwanger 1

What’s the Lilac Festival Connection?

The altruism of George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry changed the face of Rochester. Their gift of 20 choice acres prodded the city to form the Parks Department in 1888. The 20 acres were the start of Highland Park, location of the world famous “Lilac Festival” each May.

The success of the Rochester nursery trade, as exemplified by the Mt. Hope Nursery, earned Rochester the title “The Flower City.” The Lilac Festival maintains the heritage of that name, and Ellwanger Garden gives you the chance to experience the inspiration of that heritage.

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

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