The Maplewood Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. 
The Maplewood Historic District is located in Rochester's northwest quadrant in the Maplewood neighborhood approximately three miles from the downtown core. The properties are situated west of the Genesee River gorge on several streets in the Maplewood neighborhood, including Driving Park Avenue, Lake Avenue, Lakeview Park, Maplewood Avenue, Park View Drive, and Seneca Parkway. The section of Maplewood Park south of Route 104 is also included in the Maplewood Historic District. The Maplewood Historic District contains 245 contributing primary buildings (234 houses, two apartments, three churches, two church-related residences, three buildings associated with a church school, and one recreational facility). The approximately 178-acre district is distinguished by its collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century residences, and by three designed landscapes that the Olmsted firm was associated with including Maplewood Park and the central street malls on Lakeview Park and Seneca Parkway. A small number of historic institutional buildings including churches, a church school and convent, and a YMCA building add to the historic and architectural significance of the neighborhood. Also included in the Maplewood Historic District are archaeological remains associated with the Glen House, a late nineteenth-century resort hotel located near the river's edge. The majority of the historic resources in the Maplewood Historic District were constructed in the early decades of the twentieth century corresponding with an era of expansion and prosperity in Rochester.
The residences in the Maplewood Historic District are predominantly large scale, two-and-one-half-story buildings exhibiting characteristics associated with national architectural styles including Italianate, Second Empire, Shingle, Stick, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Tudor Revival, Mission, Prairie, American Foursquare, Bungalow, and Craftsman. A small number of houses are considered vernacular, with no discernible stylistic features. Many of the resources in the Maplewood Historic District were architect-designed. The designs of local and regional architects Otto Block, Claude Bragdon, Crandall and Strobel, Foote and Headley, Frank G. Frey, Gordon and Madden, Hutchinson and Cutler, McCord and Ives, Howard B. Nurse, Joseph H. Oberlies, James R. Tyler, Ward Wellington Ward, and others, are represented. Numerous outbuildings, primarily frame carriage barns and garages dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are also found in the Maplewood Historic District.
The Maplewood Historic District reflects the evolution of the Maplewood area from its beginnings — dominated by several large rural farm estates situated between the river communities of McCreackenville, Kelsey's Landing, and King's Landing, three of several early nineteenth-century mill and trade settlements that were eventually incorporated into the city of Rochester — to one of Rochester's largest and most popular neighborhoods containing prestigious homes, built primarily along Lake Avenue and Seneca Parkway by prominent citizens during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Originally part of the town of Greece, the area encompassed by the district boundaries became part of Rochester in two land annexations in 1850 and 1874.
Seneca Parkway is the spine of the Maplewood Historic District. The Olmsted firm prepared landscape plans for this street in 1893. An important feature of Seneca Parkway is the central grassy mall which creates a park-like appearance to the street. The street is one-way heading west on the north side of the mall and one-way heading in the opposite direction on the south side. The grand homes which line this boulevard are an impressive collection of one-of-a-kind group, these properties also possess a lower level of period architectural integrity.
One of the earliest surviving houses in the Maplewood Historic District, and the only example of the Italianate style is 1017 Lake Avenue, built ca.1870. This two-story brick residence, now part of the Nazareth Academy campus, has many of the distinguishing characteristics of the style including cubical massing, a low-pitched hipped roof with broad overhanging eaves, and a cupola. Another house from the same era is the brick house at 1041 Lake Avenue which features round-arched window openings.
The Vanderbeck House at 1295 Lake Avenue is one of the earliest and most architecturally significant houses in the Maplewood Historic District. It was individually listed to the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1984. This two-and-one-half story brick house with tall mansard roof is the sole example of the Second Empire style in the Maplewood Historic District. It was originally the focal point of Andrew Vanderbeck's 200-acre farm estate.
A small number of residences with Shingle style influences are found in the Maplewood Historic District including 45 Lakeview Park and 1113 Lake Avenue. There are several outstanding examples of intact Queen Anne style residences in the Maplewood Historic District, especially on Lakeview Park. The Queen Anne style came into fashion in the 1880s and was popular until the turn of the century. It is characterized by asymmetrical massing, complex roof designs with multiple gables of steep pitch, numerous projecting bays, differing wall textures and materials, prominent chimneys, double-hung sash, and porches with fanciful woodwork. 129 Seneca Parkway is an unusual example of a rock-faced cast concrete block house designed in the late Queen Anne style. 30 Lakeview Park is an example of the Queen Anne with Stick style features as shown by its horizontal and vertical stickwork in the gable ends and projecting bays. The converted carriage barn on the campus of Nazareth Academy, 977 Lake Avenue, is an intact example of an outbuilding designed in the Queen Anne style.
A popular early twentieth-century domestic style represented in the Maplewood Historic District is the Colonial Revival. Common characteristics associated with the Colonial Revival include accentuated front entrances with pedimented porches and classical surrounds, symmetrically balanced facades, multi-light double-hung wood sash, brick or wood clapboard walls, rectangular massing, cornices ornamented with dentils or modillions, and gabled roof dormers. There are also a few examples of Dutch Colonial Revival style houses which are identified by their gambrel roofs including 52 Lakeview Park; 284 and 300 Maplewood Avenue; and 663 and 751 Seneca Parkway.
The Neoclassical style is not as well represented as the closely related Colonial Revival style. One of the most impressive Neoclassical houses in the Maplewood Historic District is 1040 Lake Avenue, a two-and-one-half story brick house with full-height pedimented portico featuring monumental Composite order columns and pilasters. The house at 462 Seneca Parkway is a simpler version of the style featuring a central full-height portico with Doric columns.
The Tudor Revival style, an eclectic mode of design loosely based on late Medieval English architecture, is well represented in the Maplewood Historic District. Outstanding examples of the style include 1020, 1128, and 1302 Lake Avenue; 4 Lakeview Park; and 2, 128, 150, 190, 247, 255, 267-269, 320, 476, 501, 530, 536, 540, 543, 560, 590, 614, 60, and 660 Seneca Parkway. While each house is unique, as a group they are stylistically linked in their use of such Tudor-inspired elements as steeply-pitched gabled roofs, stucco wall cladding with decorative half-timbering, brick walls, leaded multi-light casement windows arranged in pairs or multiple groups, asymmetrical massing with bay and oriel windows, and prominent chimneys. The house at 310 Maplewood Avenue, by architect Ward Wellington Ward, is a fine example of the related English Cottage Revival style.
A small number of houses in the Maplewood Historic District display influences of the Mission style including 1126 Lake Avenue, 369 Maplewood Avenue, and 309 Seneca Parkway. Characteristics of the style include red tile roofing, wide overhanging eaves, stucco wall surfaces, and shaped mission dormers or parapets.
The stucco-clad house at 473 Seneca Parkway is an outstanding example of the Prairie style featuring a low-pitched hipped roof with wide, overhanging eaves; a pent roof above the first story; and massive porch supports. 256 Seneca Parkway, corner of Raines Park, is a distinctive Prairie style house. The use of brick at the first floor, beltcourses between floors, and stucco at the second floor, combined with the broad, overhanging eaves of the hipped roof emphasize the horizontal line. The clay tile roof with shaped dormers, however, allude to the Mission style.
Several of the residences in the neighborhood exhibit Craftsman style influences. Intact, representative examples include 55 Lakeview Park; 30 Magee Avenue; 299-301 and 350 Maplewood Avenue; and 20, 396-400, and 434-436 Seneca Parkway. While each house is a unique design, as a group they share in common many of the key concepts of the Craftsman style including a massive form lightened by "functional" elements such as exposed rafter tails; broad roofs with overhanging eaves; a mix of wall materials such as stucco, brick, and wood shingles for the play of light; differentiation of materials between floors; windows arranged in pairs or groups; and quality of construction.
Another domestic style found in large numbers in the Maplewood Historic District is the American Foursquare style which was popular in the United States during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Characteristic design features of the style include cubic massing, a hipped roof with broad overhanging eaves, dormers, and a full-width front porch. The Foursquare house is a basic box to which is often applied the elements of other styles such as Colonial Revival, Prairie, or Craftsman. The Foursquare house at 56 Lakeview Park, for example, features a Colonial Revival porch with Ionic columns. Other representative Foursquares can be found at 1190 and 1344 Lake Avenue; as well as several on Seneca Parkway.
The Maplewood Historic District is distinguished for its many eclectic homes that combine elements from different styles to form one-of-a-kind designs. It is the hybridization resulting from the combination of elements of a variety of architectural styles that makes these homes unique. A residence may exhibit one overriding stylistic influence, yet contain elements of one or more additional styles.
A large number of the houses in the Maplewood Historic District retain historic outbuildings, mainly carriage barns and garages. In many cases these support structures were designed to reflect the design and materials of the house such as the clapboard-sided carriage barn behind the Queen Anne style house at 53 Lakeview and the brick, stucco, and half-timbered garage at the Tudor Revival house at 4 Lakeview.
Many of the houses in the Maplewood Historic District retain their original interior plans and decorative features. Of special note are the high quality materials and craftsmanship exhibited by original woodwork (floors, doors, window and door trim, baseboards, wall paneling, casework, etc.); plaster ornament (on ceilings); marble (fireplace surrounds, floors); ceramic tile (floors); and leaded and stained glass.
In additional to individual houses, the Maplewood Historic District also has two contributing apartment buildings, both on Lake Avenue. The Thistle Apartments, at the southeast corner of Lake Avenue and Seneca Parkway, is the Maplewood Historic District's most distinctive example of the Tudor Revival. Alternating one-bay units with raised and stepped parapets are connected by half-timbered bays bearing quatrefoil motifs above trabeated, recessed entrances with Tudor-arched parapets. The entire complex is covered by a massive, hipped roof with gabled dormers. The ca.1945 apartment complex at 1043-1059 Lake Avenue is an outstanding example of the Bauhaus-inspired International Style featuring a flat roof with broad overhang; brickwork emphasizing horizontality; asymmetrical elevations; and metal casements that wrap around the corners of the building.
The institutional buildings in the Maplewood Historic District (churches, school and convent) are important visual focal points of the streetscapes. One of the major public buildings in the Maplewood Historic District is the Maplewood Branch YMCA at the south end of the district facing Driving Park Avenue. This Second Renaissance Revival style building is notable for its elaborate interlacing arched corbel table and its arched entrance surround with Ionic order columns.
One of the largest and most prominently sited buildings on Lake Avenue is Nazareth Academy, located on a knoll on the west side of the street. This three-and-one-half story Neoclassical style school has exterior walls of rough-textured buff and gray brick. Special features of this early twentieth-century school include the full-height pilasters at the end blocks and a center entrance canopy supported by Ionic columns.
The Ascension Episcopal Church at 1360 Lake Avenue serves as the northern terminus of the Maplewood Historic District. This Late Gothic Revival brick church features a tall corner tower with stone trim.
The former Second Church of Christ Scientist (present Emmanuel Temple of Rochester) is a large-scale building located at the eastern end of Seneca Parkway, adjacent to Maplewood Park. This unusual square-plan buff-colored brick building was built in the early Modernistic-Byzantine style.
The other church in the Maplewood Historic District is the Dewey Avenue Presbyterian Church located at the northwest corner of Dewey Avenue and Seneca Parkway. The main facade of the church faces south onto Seneca Parkway. This buff-colored brick church is designed in the Second Renaissance Revival style with an octagonal dome and prominent full-height pedimented portico.
The eastern end of the Maplewood Historic District encompasses most of Maplewood Park, a city-owned park. The northern end of the park — north of Route 104 — is excluded from the district due to the visual and physical disruption of Route 104 and its pedestrian overpass bridge. The park was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as a passive recreation area. Maplewood Park, along with Seneca Park across the river, form a linear open space system which extends for several miles down the Genesee River corridor.
The Maplewood Rose Garden is located on approximately two acres in the southern part of the park. This section of the park is surrounded by a metal picket fence along Lake Avenue and Driving Park Avenue. Original quarry-faced Medina sandstone gateposts are still intact at the entrance to the steps leading down from Lake Avenue to the park. A rose garden was first planted here in the 1920s. By the late 1940s, however, the garden was in need of renovation. A cooperative effort between the City Bureau of Parks and the Rochester Rose Society resulted in the establishment of a formal garden, with new drainage and irrigation systems. Today the Maplewood Rose Garden contains over 5,000 bushes and 250 varieties of roses. One of the largest rose gardens in Upstate New York, Maplewood Rose Garden includes tiny miniature roses, huge hybrid roses, climbing roses, tree roses, old-fashioned roses, double roses, and wild roses (The Maplewood Rose Garden and Stecher Memorial Fountain, June 1995).
The ruins of the base of the former Glen House hydraulic elevator can be seen in the southeastern part of Maplewood Park. These ruins consist of a square concrete base with inner and outer stone walls. The Glen House, built in 1870, was a popular resort hotel on the west side of the Genesee gorge just north of the Lower Falls. Guests arrived by land via a unique hydraulic elevator system from the top of the gorge, or came here on the sidewheelers that made daily trips up the river from Charlotte. The Glen House was destroyed by fire on May 14, 1894.
The Maplewood Historic District retains a high level of visual and architectural integrity and continues to reflect its historic identity as one of Rochester's most significant historic neighborhoods. The historic resources in the Maplewood Historic District are distinguished by their integrity of location, design, setting, materials, craftsmanship, feeling, and association.
The Maplewood Historic District is one of Rochester's most distinguished residential neighborhoods. The Maplewood Historic District is architecturally significant for its outstanding collection of sophisticated late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century residences designed in the popular styles of the period, including Italianate, Second Empire, Shingle, Stick, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Tudor Revival, Mission, Prairie, American Foursquare, Bungalow, and Craftsman. The Maplewood Historic District resources also include architecturally significant educational, ecclesiastical, and recreational buildings dating from the early twentieth century.
The Maplewood Historic District is also significant in the area of landscape architecture for its three historic parks: Maplewood Park and the central street malls on Lakeview Park and Seneca Parkway. The Olmsted firm was responsible for preparing plans for these parks.
The Maplewood Historic District is historically significant as an intact city neighborhood reflecting national and local patterns in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century urban development in relation to residential expansion from the city core, changes in transportation technology, and establishment of an affluent middle class. The neighborhood retains original street plans, landscape features, and physical attributes representative of a distinctive type of residential development characterized by detached single-family dwellings, oversized lots, deep setback of houses, landscaped streets, and integration of open space. The Maplewood Historic District is also historically significant for its role in the development of a public parks system in Rochester, reflecting late nineteenth century trends in outdoor recreation and the preservation of natural surroundings.
The Maplewood Historic District is archaeologically significant for structural remains associated with the Glen House (ca.1870-1894) and hydraulic elevator, components of the recreation complex developed by prominent nurseryman George Ellwanger near the Lower Falls of the Genesee.
Although the neighborhood as it appears today is largely the result of early twentieth-century growth, settlement of the area began during the last decade of the eighteenth century. The land comprising the Maplewood Historic District was part of the 1788 Phelps and Gorham purchase of six million acres in western New York.
Prior to the War of 1812, the route of Lake Avenue was a trail connecting the settlements of Charlotte on Lake Ontario, and Frankfort, at the Middle Falls on the west side of the Genesee River. The entire region was at that time part of the township of Northampton, organized in 1797 as the territory northwest of Rochester, extending from the Genesee to Lake Erie. With the division of Northampton into smaller towns in 1803, the Maplewood area became part of the town of Greece.
The development of Rochester during the first half of the nineteenth century reflects a pattern typical of cities throughout the nation. During the early history of the village, a compact cluster of buildings, unorganized by function, was restricted in area by walking distance. Water-powered mills were concentrated in proximity to the river, with warehouses, shipping facilities, and commercial enterprises located nearby. Initially, there were no distinct residential districts. Shops and dwellings were interspersed, and craftsmen and tradespeople often resided at their place of business. In the "boom town" period of the late 1820s, land speculators met the demand for additional housing by organizing gangs of laborers to build basic two-story, four-room dwellings.
With the first major period of expansion, two trends in housing began to emerge, the segregation of work place from residence, and the spatial separation of different social classes. The earliest residential neighborhoods established during the 1830s were built within a geographically confined area near the core of the city. Neighborhoods were characterized by differences in occupational status and income, with homes of affluent merchants and business owners segregated from homes of mill workers and laborers. Many of the city's early residential neighborhoods were laid out around open squares held as common land, in plans reminiscent of New England village greens. The city assumed responsibility for these squares in the mid-1840s, erecting fences and planting trees to prevent their use by militia clubs.
By the 1840s, many prosperous residents considered the finest residential neighborhood in the Third Ward too crowded, and sought large tracts of land on the outskirts of the city for construction of new homes. The areas west of the Erie Canal on Buffalo Street (Main Street), on the road east to Pittsford (East Avenue) and north of the city overlooking the river gorge were preferred locations. Lorimer Hill, located west of State Street (Lake Avenue) and north of Rowe Street (Lexington Avenue), south of the Maplewood Historic District was a popular location for homes of wealthy residents by the late 1830s. Dr. Alexander Kelsey, a retired physician, occupied a home at the summit of the hill with a commanding view of both Lake Ontario and the city of Rochester.
Travel by horse and carriage to the outskirts of the city was facilitated by the construction of new roads in the late 1840s. A plank road constructed on the west side of the river from the city line north to Charlotte in 1849 followed the present alignment of Lake Avenue. A tollhouse was erected just north of Rose Street in the Maplewood Historic District. Lake Avenue, an extension of State Street, became a popular location for the homes of wealthy businessmen and mill owners due to its convenient access to the industrial district at Brown's Race in the center of the city.
The development of a street railway system in Rochester was part of a national trend in the mid-nineteenth century to facilitate urban growth through mass transit. The Rochester City and Brighton Railroad Company was organized in 1862 and began operation of a horse-drawn streetcar system later that year. In Rochester, as in other cities at this time, horsecar tracks were laid along main roads and generally developed in the direction of affluent residential areas at the outskirts of the city.
The first streetcar line extended north from Mount Hope Cemetery along State Street and Lake Avenue to its northern terminus at Ambrose Street, south of the Maplewood Historic District. This line provided access to the section of Lake Avenue north of the city limits, promoting the residential development of the neighborhood as one of the earliest outside the city. Large mansions built on Lake Avenue at this time were valued in excess of twenty thousand dollars. By 1866, the Lake Avenue horsecar line had been extended two miles north, to McCracken Street (Driving Park Avenue), and the system expanded with the addition of four new lines, including routes west on Main Street, and east on Main to Alexander and Monroe.
During the 1860s, George Ellwanger, Patrick Barry, C.B. Woodworth, and James Whitney purchased a large tract of land overlooking the west bank of the Genesee River gorge in the city's northwest quadrant. Originally known as the Bradford and McCall estate, the property extended along Lake Avenue from the Deep Hollow ravine north beyond the city line, the approximate location of Rose Street today. The property included land within the Maplewood Historic District, including the current sites of the Maplewood YMCA and Maplewood Rose Garden, and river frontage from the Lower Falls into Maplewood Park. A section of this land was later subdivided into house lots fronting on Driving Park Avenue.
Prior to 1874, most of the land comprising the Maplewood Historic District belonged to the town of Greece. With the annexation of 1874, the city boundary was extended north to Ridgeway Avenue and west to the New York Central Railroad, encompassing the remainder of the Maplewood Historic District. The area retained its rural character, though much of the original farmland had been supplanted by country estates of wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs. Although building associations began to acquire large tracts of land, lay out prospective residential streets, and divide the tracts into house lots, large-scale construction of housing in Maplewood was delayed until the turn of the century.
The typical pattern of post-Civil War suburban expansion is exemplified by the Vanderbeck Estate, a tract of land along Lake Avenue in the Maplewood Historic District. In 1867, Andrew Vanderbeck purchased the 200 acre rural estate and moved to Rochester from Parma, where he had owned a saw mill, tannery, and store. Vanderbeck constructed a home on Lake Avenue (#1295) in 1874 and devoted himself to the management of his estate and participation in improvements along Lake Avenue. In 1875, Lake Park Avenue (Seneca Parkway) divided the Vanderbeck Estate from the adjoining seventy-acre farm to the south owned by Alfred R. Pritchard, founder of the Pritchard and Likly Company. The house Pritchard built on Lake Avenue was conveniently located near the trunk factory operated by the company at the Lower Falls, south of the Maplewood Historic District.
As a result of the activities of building lot associations, the Vanderbeck estate was bounded by residential subdivisions by 1875. Following the death of Andrew Vanderbeck in 1878, the property remained intact while his family continued to reside there. The estate was broken up with the purchase of the house and a small parcel of land by George Moss, former editor of the Rochester Union and Advertiser newspaper, ca.1895. The McKee Land and Improvement Company acquired the remaining land, subdivided the estate into building lots, and laid out McGee Street.
In 1884, Nazareth Convent acquired the former Pritchard estate, which extended south from Seneca Parkway to Augustine Street, and west from Lake Avenue to the Rochester and Charlotte Railroad. A boys' school occupied the former Pritchard house until 1890, when the school moved to a new location outside the neighborhood. The east half of the property was purchased by the Boulevard Lot Association and subdivided into house lots by 1900. Properties in the Maplewood Historic District from 1113 to 1211 Lake Avenue were formerly part of the Boulevard Lot Association.
Reflecting a national trend of the period, public recreational facilities were developed by private interests at Sea Breeze and Charlotte. In the northwest quadrant of the city, Ellwanger opened public picnic grounds at Maple Grove on Lake Avenue overlooking the west bank of the river during the 1860s. Maple Grove was easily accessible to city residents, located near the northern terminus of the Lake Avenue horsecar line at Driving Park Avenue. Maple Grove was popular as a picnic site for small parties and was also used for public gatherings and celebrations, including annual picnics of the Workingmen's Association, and a labor union Fourth of July picnic in 1869 which attracted a crowd of 11,000.
In 1870 Ellwanger continued development of the Lake Avenue property with the construction of the Glen House, a river resort, built in part to draw additional traffic and stimulate sales of house lots in the Maplewood Park Association Tract subdivision. Described as a "Comfortable House for Boarding and Lodging, within two minutes' walk to the avenue to the Race Course" (Maplewood Neighborhood Association, 1996), the Glen House was a popular component of the recreational facilities on Lake Avenue for over twenty years.
With the start of electric trolley service to the lake in 1889, the Glen House suffered a decline in business due to competition with the amusement center at Ontario Beach. The Glen House remained in operation until it was destroyed by fire in 1894.
The major phase of residential construction in the Maplewood Historic District, ca.1900 to ca.1920, was stimulated by expansion and improvement of the transit system. Rochester followed a national trend in the evolution of mass transit with electrification of its streetcar system between 1889 and 1895.
During the 1860s and 1870s, the convenience of the horsecar spurred exclusive residential development along transit routes such as Lake Avenue. With electrification of transit systems, noise generated by trolley cars and increased volume of traffic disrupted the peaceful atmosphere and made the transit route a less desirable setting for large mansions of the wealthy. Generally, trolley lines were associated with small clusters of commercial development which provided limited goods and services to the surrounding neighborhood. On Lake Avenue, commercial development occurred north of Riverside Drive and south of Driving Park Avenue, outside the Maplewood Historic District.
In a national trend, residential expansion of cities along new electric streetcar routes led to the development of a distinctive residential type known as the "trolley car suburb." Modest fares and increased mobility offered by expanded transit systems enabled employees to commute to the workplace from greater distances. New suburban developments located around the perimeter of the city, provided the middle class with the opportunity to reside in lower density neighborhoods previously occupied by the affluent upper class.
The Thistle Apartment Building (1228-1244 Lake Avenue and 65-85 Seneca Parkway), constructed in 1913, is a unique building type in the Maplewood Historic District representing housing for middle-class office and white-collar workers located on the trolley line. Occupations of residents reflect differences in status and income from owners of detached single-family homes in the neighborhood. In 1925, residents of the Thistle Apartment Building included salesmen, steamfitter, draftsman, painter, department manager in women's apparel, telegraph clerk, stock manager, and ball player.
In the typical trolley car suburb, residential side streets were subdivided into house lots averaging three to six thousand square feet, spacious by the standards of the inner city. Development was based on the model of a detached single-family house, set back from the street, with a front lawn and garden in the rear. The Maplewood neighborhood diverged from the usual standards of the trolley car suburb in its distinctive upper middle-class character. A prime asset was its location in proximity to the Genesee River gorge and Maplewood Park, enhancing the rural associations of the suburban ideal. The quality of the neighborhood was also distinguished by the retention of natural topography, street plantings, large lot size, and deep setback of houses. In contrast to the standardized architecture associated with typical middle-class subdivisions, large-scale houses in Maplewood were characterized by singular designs inspired by a wide range of popular architectural styles.
Among the prominent residents of the Maplewood Historic District during the early twentieth century were individuals associated with the residential development and construction of the neighborhood. Many of the architect-designed homes in the Maplewood Historic District exemplify the work of the local firm of Crandall and Strobel. Architects Charles F. Crandall and John F. Strobel were in partnership from 1906 to 1920, and during this period designed several homes in the Maplewood Historic District, including 1020, 1040, 1041, and 1186 Lake Avenue; 55 Lakeview Park, and 232 Seneca Parkway. In 1929, John Strobel designed the Episcopal Church of the Ascension (1360 Lake Avenue), a contributing resource in the Maplewood Historic District. Both architects were also residents of the Maplewood Historic District. John F. Strobel resided at 52 Lakeview Park, and Charles F. Crandall lived in a home of his own design at 1050 Lake Avenue. Other well-known examples of the work of Crandall and Strobel include the Duffy Powers Building, the Hotel Rochester, the Cornwall Building, and the Howe and Rogers Building in Rochester.
Homeowners in the Maplewood Historic District were primarily members of the upper middle-class, working individuals who achieved economic stability and a measure of social status through their professions. Among Maplewood residents, the local trend towards diversification of industry was represented by owners and officers of companies associated with a broad spectrum of manufactured goods and services. Included were presidents of manufacturers of paper boxes, shoe polish, furniture, woodworking machinery, optical products, surgical instruments, interior woodwork, clothing, and shoes. Many of the Maplewood Historic District residents were dentists, physicians, or attorneys. A notable example of the latter was James E. Briggs (22 Lakeview Park), one of the founders of Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company in 1882. Reflecting the economic growth and prosperity of the period, Maplewood Historic District residents also included professionals associated with financial services, including bankers, accountants, brokers, and officers of credit institutions.
Construction of Kodak Park in 1890 was an impetus to residential development of the Maplewood neighborhood. The new manufacturing facility was located near the intersection of Lake Avenue and Ridge Road, less than one mile north of the Maplewood Historic District. The Maplewood neighborhood provided a convenient location and attractive setting for homes of Kodak executives. The most prominent of these was William Stuber, a pioneer in photography and expert on emulsions. Hired by George Eastman in 1894, Stuber served as President of the Eastman Kodak Company ca.1924-1934, and as Chairman of the Board ca.1934-1941.
During the peak period of residential development in the Maplewood Historic District, ca.1900-1930, ecclesiastical, educational, and recreational properties were established along primary traffic arteries.
Nazareth Academy, a secondary school for girls, opened at its present site in 1916. The building complex at 1001-1017 Lake Avenue and 4-22 Lakeview Park incorporates nineteenth century buildings associated with prominent figures in local history. William Purcell, an editor of the Rochester Union and Advertiser newspaper, member of the Board of Education, Board of Public Works, and the New York State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, formerly lived at 1017 Lake Avenue. The academy property also includes the former carriage house (977 Lake Avenue) associated with the Lake Avenue home of Lewis Selye, industrialist, prominent civic leader and United States Congressman in the late nineteenth century. The carriage house was originally associated with the "Glass House," built for Selye in the mid-nineteenth century, and demolished in the late 1920s. The building occupied by Nazareth Convent at 4 Lakeview Park was constructed in 1908 as the home of George M. Whetmore, the founder of the Shinola Shoe Polish Company.
The Maplewood YMCA (25 Driving Park Avenue), designed by architect Claude Bragdon, was constructed in 1916 on Lots 23 and 24 of the former Maplewood Resort Subdivision owned by George Ellwanger.
In 1920, a rose garden was planted at the south end of Maplewood Park north of Driving Park Avenue. During renovation of the rose garden in the late 1940s, new irrigation and drainage systems were installed and a terrace was constructed along Lake Avenue.
As a component of the Rochester public parks system, Maplewood Park is significant in the area of landscape architecture as a representative example of an Olmsted-designed park system intended for use by all city residents. In its concept and original elements of design, the park represents the principles of the late nineteenth-century scenic reservation combined with the purpose of public access for passive recreation. Lakeview Park and Seneca Parkway contribute to the significance of the Maplewood Historic District as examples of small urban parks and parkways representative of late nineteenth-century approaches to landscape design.
The Maplewood Historic District is historically significant as an intact city neighborhood which retains original street plans, landscape features, and a concentration of residences representing residential development and expansion of the city to the northwest during the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries. Continuing to reflect its historic identity as one of Rochester's finer residential neighborhoods, the Maplewood Historic District is also architecturally significant for its retention of a high level of visual and architectural integrity. The Maplewood Historic District retains a wide range of popular architectural styles of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, and is notable for its many homes of distinctive and unique eclectic designs. A large number of residences represent the work of leading local and regional architects of the period. The scale, integrity, design, and quality of workmanship characterizing the contributing resources of the district contribute to its architectural significance as an intact upper middle class residential neighborhood representing the period between ca.1870 and ca.1945.
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Driving Park Drive • Lake Avenue • Maplewood Avenue • Park View Street • Riverside Street • Seneca Parkway