Take a Walking Tour through Downtown

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

When traveling through the city, you're probably focused on the time and where you need to be. Most of us do it. But what you're missing is big, you're driving right by all the gems of Rochester's past (and future). Maybe it's time to get out of the car and give our city a second look, it is Spring after all.... right?

Did you know that the Landmark Society of Western NY has walking tours you can access online and on your phone? So, you can either print the maps ahead of time or just pull them up on your phone as you go! Why do we love this? Here are 4 reasons:

1. Six quick tours

These walks are broken down into manageable distances, averaging at 0.7 miles with the longest at 1.2 miles. You could even walk around the city for a few hours and enjoy each of these tours in one day.

2. It's good for you

We spend our time in cars, sitting down, eating, working at a desk and looking at our the screens on our phones. Going for a walk is good for you! When you travel to bigger cities like the Big Apple, you may not think twice about walking around for an hour or two (or five!) - why not do that here?

3. Our city is fascinating

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

With quite a few years of Wall\Therapy under our belt we are constantly discovering a new mural, maybe you'll discover a few as well. Our city also has beautiful architecture, sculptures and unique things that are easily missed when not taken in slowly.

4. It's ok to leave the path

the Rochesteriat

the Rochesteriat

You might be on a tour to look at specific buildings, but who's to say you can go off the path just a little. Our suggestion? Head to the top of a nearby parking garage for a different view of some of the places you just looked at from the ground. You'll have a whole new perspective on the city.

Each of these 6 walks give you different views and different things to learn about our in city, its buildings, and its history. Take a break, grab a friend, and go for a walk.

Landmark Society: Walking Tour Details

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Rochester Civic Garden Center: a castle in the city


Tucked behind a hill on Mt. Hope across from the cemetery one may not expect to see a castle here in the city of Rochester, but you will definitely find one!

Warner Castle, Rochester Civic Garden Center

Built in 1854, Horatio Gates Warner designed his home to resemble the ancestral castle of the Clan Douglas he saw on a trip to Scotland. Built from native limestone from a local quarry, the castle originally had 22 rooms and 62 doors inside. The west tower vestibule floor is made from Vermont marbled quarried in the Lake Champlain area and if you look closely you can even find fossils in the tiles.

Fossils in the Marble at Rochester Civic Garden Center

There was a drawing room, a billiard room, a ladies sitting room, the children's nursery, library, bedrooms, bathrooms, wine cellar, kitchen, dining room and much more. But today, you'll find quite a different home.

Warner Castle Stairwell

In 1964 the Rochester Civic Garden Center became the tenant of this historic castle (for the full history a self-guided tour is definitely recommended). The RCGC is a not for profit horticultural education center. It's mission is “to improve the quality of life in the Genesee Region by fostering knowledge, providing information, increasing interest and promoting all aspects of gardening and horticulture.”

1926 Photo of Warner Castle

Over 200 classes a year are offered to the community, including certificate programs in basic gardening, landscape design, plant propagation, plant identification, pruning, and floral design, and a variety of individual gardening, horticulture, and floral design classes.

Landscape Design program at Rochester Civic Garden Center

Planning a wedding and want to do the flowers yourself? Take the "Make Your Wedding Magical" class in April!

Floral Design Classes

If you're looking to learn without taking a class right away, the horticultural library contains over 4,500 volumes on all aspects of horticulture and gardening, as well as many magazines and garden catalogs.

Library at Rochester Civic Garden Center
Library at Rochester Civic Garden Center

And we haven't even begun to discuss the Sunken Garden! The garden was designed by noted Landscape Architect Alling Stephen DeForest in 1932, who also designed the original landscape of the George Eastman House. The Sunken Garden can even be rented from the Monroe County Parks Department for wedding photos (click more information).

Warner Castle Grounds Map

So whether you take a class or 10, become a member and reap the benefits, volunteer, attend an event, or peruse the library, we hope you enjoy this city gem!

Volunteer Opportunities

Rochester Civic Garden Center:

Website: http://rcgc.org/
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 9am-4pm

Library Hours: Regular RCGC hours as well as 9:30-12:30 on the 3rd Saturdays of January through June. RCGC is open to the public. Reservations requested for groups of 8 or more. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

George Eastman House: preserving an incredible history


If you haven't been to the George Eastman House, we're guessing you've at least heard of it. For many of you, Kodak was a household name. We had Kodak cameras, used Kodak film, and maybe even had a parent or relative (or three!) who worked for Kodak.

But what we might not know is that the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, which opened to the public in 1949, is the world's oldest photography museum and has one of the world's oldest film archives! According to their website they "strive to inspire widespread recognition of how the media we collect, preserve, and understand broaden and enrich life."

George Eastman called this Colonial Revival mansion home from 1905 to 1932.

When it was built there were greenhouses, 10.5 acres of workable farmland, stables, barns, pastures, and gardens.

And it doesn't matter what season you go, the museum and gardens are open year round! If you get a chance, go over the holidays and you'll enjoy it beautifully decorated.

Our city was a hub of innovation, and entrepreneur, George Eastman, was a huge contributor. Though he wasn't the inventor of photography, he did invent flexible film, the film roll and holder, and many other things. 32 patents total! And, his cameras brought photography to the masses in 1888 with the Kodak camera and in 1900 with the $1 Brownie camera.

And what we have shared already does not even begin to tell of the history of this man, his home, and the impact that he and Kodak had on the city of Rochester and the world. Here is a quote from their website:

George Eastman can be called the "Father of Rochester." He believed Rochester should be the best city in which to work and raise a family, and as a result he heavily funded healthcare, education, and the arts. Rochester donations include support for Hillside Children's Center, Rochester Friendly Home, University of Rochester and Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Institute of Technology, American Red Cross, and the chamber of commerce, and donated land for several city and county parks. In Rochester Mr. Eastman founded Kodak, the Center for Governmental Research, the United Way, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman School of Music and Eastman Theatre, Strong Hospital, and a dental dispensary. His far-reaching philanthropies include dental dispensaries in several countries, plus funding for Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tuskegee Institute, and Hampton Institute -- with most of the donations made anonymously.”

And we have yet to even touch on Dryden Theatre, the theatre inside of the Eastman House used to showcase the incredible films which are held in the museum... but that my friends, is a story for another day!

Whether you take a guided tour, or set out on your own, you're sure to learn and enjoy every minute here.

Website: http://www.eastmanhouse.org

Tue - Sat : 10am - 5pm
Sun : 11am - 5pm

Sibley's: a city within a city



Rochester is a city of history. A walk down Main Street today shows remnants of what it was in the past. If your family grew up in Rochester, even if you're too young to remember, your parents and grandparents would be able to share stories of Sibley's...

Sibley's, Rochester NY

Founded in 1868 by Rufus Sibley, Alexander Lindsay & John Curr, their first storefront was often called "the Boston Store" as its founders were Boston natives who came to Rochester to go into business for themselves. We find it pretty suiting that its redevelopment and renovations are by a Boston based development company, WinnDevelopment! Urban renewal is important to the revival of our city and it's great to know that it's important to them as well, read more here.

Sibley's Rochester NY

Sibley's was Rochester's first department store (and eventually became the largest between New York City and Chicago) and it also still contains Rochester's first escalator. 3,000 people attended its grand reveal in 1937! Ribbon cuttings today cannot compare to this event.

Rochester NY's 1st escalator, Sibley's NY

WinnDevelopment's plans to bring back some of Sibley's original features, such as making the green window trim copper, and keep the ones that still exist, like these doors...

Sibley's doors

There's so much space that's not being used and it will soon have new life breathed into it. This was the Tea Room Restaurant and we can't wait to see what it becomes:

Sibley's Rochester NY

But enough with the history... how about the future! WinnDevelopment spent 10 years looking for a project like this and with renovations already underway Sibley's will once again become a vibrant part of downtown. Lofts, office space, retail... it will become a city within a city! We're thinking residents won't even need to leave the building and if they do they can hop on a bus at the new transit center! Did we mention their plans for green space on the ROOF? Because they have plans for this as well....

Sibleys Rooftop2

Sibleys Rooftop

And the building boasts some incredible views...

View from Sibley's

So, what will it be? Will you live here, work here, play here, or even open a business? Only time will tell!

The Sibley Building: Website: http://www.sibleybuilding.com/ Email: sibleybuilding@winnco.com Phone: 585-546-1711

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1872 Cafe: making a difference in their neighborhood



In the historic Susan B. Anthony neighborhood stands 1872 Cafe.

1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

It was here, in this neighborhood, that Susan. B. Anthony lived and fought for the right for woman to vote. And it was here, near the site where 1872 Cafe now stands, that Susan B. Anthony voted illegally on November 5, 1872. If you can't tell, Rochester's roots run deep.

1872 Cafe, Rochester NY rights

You don't have to look far inside to find a list of women, in addition to Susan B. Anthony, who've made a difference in all areas of society: Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart, Julia Child, and many others...

Mural inside 1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

Run by Spiritus Christi Church, proceeds from every purchase help men and women being served by the church's outreach ministries. Their website lists these outreach ministries.

Inside 1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

The Cafe has a great menu: food, pastries, snacks and of course coffee! Come and enjoy the atmosphere, sit with friends, or get some work done on your own. If you're free on a Thursday night come in and enjoy some live music from local bands!

MVT, Live music 1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

MVT was playing during our visit. We really enjoyed our dinner and coffee listening to their jazz. Check out their Facebook page.

MVT Jazz Trio, 1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

1872 Cafe has become a place for community...

1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

... and a place to learn about our history. So come in and try the Barista favorites or pick your own:

1872 Cafe, Rochester NY

... and get to know Rochester a little more.

Website: http://www.1872cafe.com/

Find 1872: 431 W. Main Street Rochester, NY 585-730-7687

Hours: Mon-Fri: 6:30am-4pm Thursday: 6:30am-9pm Sunday: 8:00am - 1pm

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