Another Look at Rochester Landmarks

The mystery and the magic of historical sites and buildings are often overlooked by residents. Some are architectural wonders, while others are more functional in nature, such as observation decks or museums and libraries. When tourists ask questions or for directions to these historic spots, residents remember them for a fleeting moment, and then it’s on to whatever occupies them. The truth is that historic places and landmarks are there to remind us of a time when people worked and fought for our right to return to whatever occupies us. What do you remember about these Rochester landmarks that are a short distance from University Ave and NOTA area?

Susan B. Anthony House

Susan’s parents were devoted to women’s rights and the anti-slavery movement. Susan’s father, Daniel, refused to process cotton in his factory grown with slave labor. While this was difficult to manage, it was a depression that bankrupted him. They moved to a farm near Rochester (where the airport now lies) and continued their women’s rights and anti-slavery work. The house became a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Susan grew up supported by loving parents who believed in all their eight children. She didn’t even blink when she carried on her parents’ fight for women’s voting rights. The phrase “failure’s impossible” came from her mother, who bought the present Susan B. Anthony house when her husband died at the dawn of the Civil War.

When the house was being preserved for viewing by the public, the care takers stripped the walls of dozens of coats of paint. They had the original wallpaper reconstructed. They then repapered the walls to appear as they did in Susan’s time. The furnishings and accessories are all as they were in Susan’s time.

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse

The 1822 lighthouse is 40 feet and made of stone. It originally used whale oil lamps which were replaced with a lens in 1853. The lighthouse sits at the confluence of the Genesee River and Lake Ontario. It was turned off in 1881, due to the many piers changing the mouth of the Genesee. Part of the lighthouse’s history involves the Revolutionary War, when residents patrolled around the lighthouse. This made the British think there were too many Americans to fight, and they left the area. The walk to the top of the lighthouse involves small stone steps. Visitors climb a ladder to the observation deck. It’s interesting to see time’s changes to the land and water.

Stone-Tolan House

The oldest structure in this part of New York, the Stone-Tolan house is testament to the early days of this country. A separate kitchen was added in 1792 to a house that was not only a farm but a tavern, too. Orringh and Elizabeth Stone lived in the house and worked the farm as well as keeping the tavern. Visitors stopped by on their way somewhere in the early days of the 19th century. It was nice to eat good home-grown food with herbs from the kitchen garden, fruits from the orchard and meats from the smokehouse. And you can see it all today.