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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fun Facts about Rochester

I was contacted by a publishing company and asked to review a book on my blog. Did anyone else in Rochester get this request? Because I felt really special. They sent me a complimentary book! It's actually a book that I would have been interested in anyway. I love history and I'm quite fond of my hometown, Rochester, NY. I even took a college class on Rochester history from my favorite teacher , Rebecca Edwards.

This is a hard cover book with great black and white photos. I'm thinking it would be a good present to give people who are hard to buy for at Christmas. I really enjoyed looking at old pictures that show places I'm familiar with today. It's the whole "Before" and "After" thing that I'm just crazy about. The old buildings that have survived the years are the same ones that I love to gawk at when I go downtown. The details and architecture just cannot be found where I live in suburbia.

Here are some things I learned from the book:

During WW2, there was a POW camp at Cobb's Hill for German soldiers. (Seriously? They sent German soldiers all the way over to Rochester, NY? )

In 1828, the four story Reynold's Arcade cost $30,000 and was considered an enormous financial risk. (I am fascinated at the inflation over the years....Something that size today would easily be $3 million dollars)

People would ice skate on the Erie Canal in the early 1800's. (That would never happen these days...too much potential for a law suit)

The Rochester School for the Deaf was established in 1874. Their "instruction in speech and sign was innovative". (Yah. The author must be talking about the Rochester method of finger spelling every single word in a sentence. Personally, I would call that cumbersome more than innovative, but eventually they got around to using American Sign Language and that's what really counts.)

I noticed a couple of photos where every man is wearing the same exact top hat. (That must be like how today everyone wears jeans. )

The Erie canal flowed through the middle of the city between 1825-1919. It was re-routed through the Genesee Valley Park and subway tracks were laid down in the empty bed of the canal. The subway was abandoned in 1956. (HUH? Is this a surprise to any of you Rochestarians? The subway tracks are still underground today.)

The University of Rochester accepted females starting in 1900 when Susan B. Anthony and others raised $100,000 for tuition assistance. (That's one amazing woman. I've toured her house and am amazed at her persistence and diligence in demanding equal voting rights for women.)

John Frisbie was an aviation pioneer in Rochester 1911. (That name makes me laugh. Of course he was fascinated with flying through the air!)



Ronda said...

Have you checked out There's a new coffee table book coming out about Rochester. Should be nice.

Donna said...

Yes! Do you believe Phil's German grandfather was sent to a POW camp nearby in Watertown? Isn't that crazy?


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