June 27th was a big day for historic markers in Rochester. Deryn Pomeroy, Trustee of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®, was in town for the unveiling of three markers throughout the City. The Landmark Society attended each dedication ceremony, featuring speakers who helped bring the markers to our community.
We started the day on Lakeshore Boulevard at Durand-Eastman Park, where Monroe County Executive Adam Bello shared the tale of the “White Lady’s Castle.” The “castle” is, in fact, the remains of a 1911 dining hall that once served beachgoers and park visitors, but is now part of a well-known legend about a ghost that wanders the area in search of her long lost daughter. The marker placed in front of the castle is the first in Monroe County that is part of Pomeroy’s Legends & Lore® Marker Grant Program. Irondequoit resident and Landmark supporter Bradley Huber spoke at the unveiling.
Later that afternoon, we visited the East Main Street headquarters and laboratory of Martha Matilda Harper, a Canadian-American entrepreneur and innovator. Harper invented, among other things, the reclining shampoo chair, an essential piece of equipment in salons across the world. She also developed the “Harper Method” of hair care, and is credited with the creation of modern retail franchising. At the peak of her success, there were 500 woman-owned “Harper Salons,” where franchisees were trained in her method. Harper biographer Jane Plitt, who has written several books about the pioneering businesswoman, spoke at the ceremony.
Finally, we witnessed the unveiling of the historic marker at Rapids Cemetery in the 19th Ward, one of the last reminders of the Castletown settlement. The cemetery is the final resting place of veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War; as well as Captain Daniel Loomis, Rochester’s first architect. Neighbors and area veterans have worked to research and restore the cemetery, which contains many marked and unmarked burial plots, as well as a beautifully restored garden.
It was a day of reflection and celebration for the historians, advocates, researchers, neighbors, and friends that worked to bring these historic markers to Rochester. We are grateful to the William G. Pomeroy Foundation® for their commitment to the celebration and preservation of community history, in our region and beyond.