Rochester Street Historic District
The Rochester Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Rochester Street Historic District in the village of Scottsville, 13 miles southwest of Rochester, encompasses 41 structures, all residences, along both sides of wide, tree-lined Rochester Street.
Over half the houses in the Rochester Street Historic District date from the period from the 1830's to the 1850's stamping the village with an overall "Greek Revival" character. Consistency in scale, rhythm, and use successfully harmonizes the earliest building, #7 Rochester Street, (built in 1816) and the most recent newcomer to the street, #17 Rochester Street, (built in 1957).
A certain architectural democracy within the Rochester Street Historic District, perhaps indicative of the spirit of the village and its inhabitants over the past two centuries, means that few structures stand out individually. However the following are worthy of special mention.
#10 Rochester Street — Two story, white clapboard house with paired one story wings. Gable roof with gable end to the street over central portion. Finely detailed doorway containing Greek post and lintel elements located off-center on the three bay wide front (west) facade of the two-story section. Two chimneys, elaborate iron fence along front property line. Built between 1835 and 1848. #11 across the street mirrors many of #10's elements.
#25 Rochester Street — Two story, white clapboard house with some features similar to those of #10 and #11 but has single one-story wing on the south side, grillwork, pilasters at corners and sidelights and transom around doorway. Built c.1850.
#31 — Two story painted brick house. Three bays wide with off-center doorway. Grille in pediment under gable roof, stone lintels and sills. Sidelights and transom around doorway. Built 1854 reputedly by a mason named John Hammond and has been used ever since that time as the Presbyterian Manse.
#7 Rochester Street (Edison-Skivington House) — White clapboard, two story house built in 1816, hence the oldest known building in the Rochester Street Historic District; Greek elements in the doorway and corner pilasters date from the 1840's. Main section of house is five bays wide with a centered doorway and grillwork above the second story window. Two inside end chimneys in this portion. Wing on north end probably a later addition.
#44, 48, 50, 54 Rochester Street — A series of houses at the north end of the Rochester Street Historic District all attributed to a mid-nineteenth century builder speculator, Sears Galusha. The two earliest ones, #54 and #50, have Greek post and lintel doorways centered on three bay wide front facades. #46 and #48 are transitional structures, and #44, probably the latest of the five shows the influence of later Victorian architectural trends — distinctly narrow elongated proportions, projecting two bay wide front section, slender paired windows in the front gable, two circular windows, and a two story bay window on the south facade.
#21 Rochester Street — Although not an unusual structure in its own right in the Scottsville context of predominantly white clapboard house, this one stands out in the Rochester Street Historic District as a frank expression of early twentieth century shingle construction. Two and a half stories with irregular fenestration and a gradual sweeping gable roof which extends further in front than in the rear. Built in 1917.
The Rochester Street Historic District is a remarkably insulated village environment which historically and architecturally records the lives, skills and prosperity of its nineteenth century inhabitants.
Architectural historian, Carl Schmidt, notes "The dwellings on Rochester Street were once the homes of doctors, ministers, merchants and craftsmen. They are not mansions, but modest dwellings in the varied styles of the nineteenth century, with good proportions, interesting details, fine mouldings, and excellent craftsmanship." Schmidt's research on the buildings within the Rochester Street Historic District has uncovered the recurring work of a single craftsman on many of the houses whose mouldings and details are perfectly matched.
The Rochester Street Historic District illustrates a clear correlation between architecture and the nineteenth century history of Scottsville and its aptly named township, Wheatland. Only a handful of houses date from the first quarter of the century, but the 1830's and 40's were two decades of enormous growth for Scottsville due to a period of marked agricultural prosperity throughout Monroe County, and the majority of houses along Rochester Street date from this time. Scottsville suddenly became a transportation and commercial center for wheat. A canal link to the Erie Canal System was established in 1837 with the opening of the Scottsville-Genesee Canal, and by the following year the Scottsville-Caledonia Railroad was in operation.
Crushing twentieth century trends, conversely, have had little impact to this date on the appearance of the Rochester Street Historic District. Rochester Street still physically looks like part of an unself-conscious village with a population of 925 as it was in 1855. The village did remain relatively stable through 1930 when census shows 936 inhabitants. Since that time it has more than doubled, and yet only three structures in the Rochester Street Historic District tell of this extraordinary period of growth.
Hence, the Rochester Street Historic District is solidly nineteenth century in character and is treasured that much more highly by residents in the light of the suburbanization occurring elsewhere within the village limits. Some of the adjacent streets are under consideration as an extension of this district in the future.
McIntosh, History of Monroe County 1788-1877. Everts, Ensign, and Everts, Philadelphia, 1877.
Schmidt, Carl P., History of Wheatland, Schmidt, Scottsville, 1953.
Slocum, George B., Wheatland.
†Brooke, Cornelia E., N. Y. State Division of Historic Preservation, Rochester Street Historic District, nomination document, 1973, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.