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The Pratt House (1860)

The Pratt House Adams St.

A far cry from the one bedroom bachelor pad/music studio/fixer upper purchased by Craig Iannazzi in 1999, Corn Hill Cottage at 111 Adams St. has evolved into a true urban oasis fit for a growing family with a diverse set of interests and a passion for both historic and city living. Through extensive renovations and restorations dating from 2009 through the present, Craig and wife Kristine have rediscovered many interesting facts regarding the home and surrounding double lot property. While diligent neighborhood historians have recently traced the tax record on the house back as far as 1860, the Iannazzi’s believe it is even older due to the crafted details made without tools including the field stone foundation and hand planed rafters. Until 1970, 109 Adams street stood in what is now the Iannazi’s side yard, a large multi family home just feet from the original brick home. The first owner after the Riots of the 1960’s paid a mere $800 for the home at auction, and began its current transformation from a rubble filled shell to a proper home. Since 2009, the home has been completely remodeled inside, with an additional bathroom and bedroom constructed on the first floor, as well as a redesigned master bath, spiral staircase addition, sky lights, and a re imagined open concept flow. The exterior gained a face lift in the summers of 2014 and 2015, with a new roof, front landscape, and the current Corncord creme color. 2016 brings the addition of Kristine’s garden shed and Craig’s epic workshop in the back. Always striving for “ease of living” the Iannazzi’s chose gravel rather than sod to trim outdoor entertaining areas. On any given summer evening, the family can be found lounging on the front bench or enjoying dinner al fresco under the cafe lights in back

The Lee House (1864)

Lee House - Glasgow

Records say this house was built in 1864, but the current owner has found documents indicating that it is older. City directories report Elizabeth Lee, widow of Rochester attorney Charles M. Lee, was living here as early as 1861. Philadelphia-born in 1805, she arrived at the tiny village of Rochester in 1821. She immediately committed herself to a lifetime of service as one of the founders of the Rochester Orphan Asylum and the Female Charitable Society, Rochester’s earliest organization dedicated to social reform. She died in this house in 1893.

Today’s owner is Corn Hill historian Jim DeVinney. He has filled the home with family mementoes including a china cabinet owned by his great-grandmother. Before retiring, he was a television writer and documentary filmmaker—you might spot some his television Emmys stuck up in a corner somewhere. But watch out! He’s an Irish storyteller and, once he gets started, you may not want to leave.

Irwin-Goodling House (1872)

A Second Empire Victorian Landmark

Home of Rob Goodling

Irwin Goodling House - Adams St.

The distinctive Italianate tower, iron cresting, “widow’s walk”, French Mansard slate roof and embellishments of double bracketry under “Yankee guttered” eaves, all characterize the style of this well-known Second Empire Corn Hill mansion. Completed by Rochester manufacturer, Jacob Irwin in 1872, this house remained the residence of his daughter, May Irwin Montague, until the 1930’s, when it sat empty for several years. By the 1950’s this once proud home had been broken up into eleven apartments, occupied by R.I.T. students. In the 1960’s the Landmark Society bestowed its “Landmark” status, and the house was converted into the current three-family designation.

Purchased by the current owner in 1982, care has been taken to preserve existing interior moldings and ceiling medallions. A variety of Rochester artists and craftsmen have contributed to its restoration and to the trompe l’oeil, faux painted woodwork found in the gracious parlor and dining room as well as a dramatic upstairs bathroom. The kitchen has been restored in an Arts and Crafts style and Mr. Irwin’s former first-floor bedroom is now an elegant library with linen-covered walls. Recent restorations include the exterior copper roof moldings and dormers, the replacement of hand-cut roof slate, and the installation of antique glazed tile chimney pots.

This home has been opened to the public on various “house-tours”; has been photographed for numerous books and publications of Rochester architecture and history; was filmed and featured in a six-part television series on Rochester preservation; and was the inspiration for local novelist, T.M. Wright’s ghost story, “The Woman Next Door.”  In November 2003, owner Rob Goodling was presented with the Landmark Society’s “Historic Home Award” for his “care and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally significant house.”

Dewey-Arnold House (1870)

2016 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes - Merriman

Built in 1870, this two unit row house was originally owned and occupied by Fred W. Dewey, a lumber dealer, then by Charles G. Arnold, a bookkeeper and, later, by Mary Rohde.  Like several of the houses on today’s tour, this two-unit row house was once a boarding house and was scheduled for demolition in the mid to late-1970s.  Part of the urban renew plan to level every dwelling possible to create low-income housing, the home was one of the reasons that the historical and preservation community came together to say, we will save every house possible.

In 1978 Norm and Eleanor Burgess bought the entire structure. They retained this side and sold the other half to Bob and Marion Sherwood. Both families took great pains to restore their homes to their former splendor. The current owner purchased the house in 1990.  Many colorful stories have been passed along as the structure has gone through several transitions.

While these Second Empire attached houses share a mansard roof of bracketed slate and arched windows, each structure has unique characteristics. On the east side of the touring house, find an oriel window of a semi-square plan projecting from the face of a wall and supported by a corbel or bracket.  This house has a wrought iron fence with pineapple finials. The raised basement, at one time, likely housed the kitchens but today contains an upscale efficiency apartment.

Mark IV on S. Fitzhugh (1982)

Mark IV on S. Fitzhugh

This single family home has a surprisingly private feel given the proximity of neighboring homes. Originally built as a two-unit home, the current owners converted it into a single family home. The home leans towards a modern retro style with custom made stainless steel railings and rubber industrial flooring utilized in various parts of the home. The tour participant will be treated to many unique décor and decorating options that complement the modern feel to the home.

These modern homes were a “new build” in 1982 by Mark IV Construction (who also built Corn Hill Landing on the Genesee River.)

The Grant House (1851)

The Grant Home - Eagle St.

This Eagle Street home was built in 1851, and is in a vernacular Italianate style with a low hip roof on the main structure, gabled roof on the rear extension and a pillared covered porch as the main entrance. The traditional Italianate has a tower with arched openings, molding and double doors, which may have been lost during home updates. There are also some Eastlake elements such as the brickwork on a chimney and the brick alterations on the front. Both the covered porch and the enclosed porch were original to the house. The open porch was added in 1979.

The first owners appear to have been S. M. Grant and James Crane, a wigmaker. Over the years the single home morphed into an eight unit boarding house, and in the 1980s was returned to a single family dwelling.

As you approach the side door of the home, notice the stucco outbuilding at the rear of the property that was originally a horse stable. Today it is a two car garage with a basement and a second-floor apartment. The current talented owners are enjoying a new life in Rochester, having purchased the home in 2011 after retiring from their respective jobs and life in New York City. You might smell some wonderful cooking from Mr. Caruso, who was recently the head chef and director of Operations at A Meal and More, the oldest soup kitchen in Rochester. He has written two cookbooks, the latest being Oy Italia, a Jewish Italian cookbook (available at Although Dr. Gehl will not be singing, he is a member of several Rochester choral groups, including Madrigalia, The Rochester Oratorio Society/Resonanz, The Eastman Rochester Chorus and First Inversion. You may also see some of his Lionel trains around the Christmas tree; the main collection is in the Carriage House basement.

The main floor is open on the tour, along with the master bedroom and bathroom on the second floor. You may also enjoy the extensive collection of Al Hirschfeld caricatures throughout the house. If you can identify all 14, you will receive – an extra Christmas cookie!


Pagan House (1983)

The Pagan House 1983 2
This residence is one of two attached townhouses built in 1983 on the site where two single-family homes once stood. The current 3-story, AIA award-winning structure was designed by local architect, John Pagan, a resident of Corn Hill. Another Corn Hill resident, Al Rayburn, built the two homes.

While the design of these two units is quite contemporary, the brick exterior with V-shaped bay windows and front gables very nicely mimics the lines and features of nearby historic houses, helping this structure easily blend into the neighborhood. The interior’s eleven-foot high ceilings, open floor plan, skylight, tiered levels and angled walls and alcoves create a beautiful, modern space that makes an instant impression on any visitor.

The current owner purchased the property from its original owners in 1998 and recently completed a few renovations on the home. The living room sits at the front of the home’s first level and steps up to the dining room with a built-in sideboard separating the two spaces. The hardwood floors on the first level were recently refinished from a walnut colored stain to a natural red oak.

The dining room steps up one more tier to the brand new, contemporary kitchen at the back of the house. Earlier this year, the original, contractor-grade galley kitchen and adjacent breakfast room were taken down to their studs and the wall between the two rooms removed to make way for the new gourmet kitchen. The kitchen looks out over a recently rebuilt, multi-tiered deck made from sustainably forested Brazilian Cumaru hardwood.

The stairway runs from the lower level, through the first level, up to a mezzanine converted to office and media room, and on to the top level with two bedrooms and two full baths. The master bedroom and mezzanine both recently received brand new oak flooring, completing the updates made to this architectural gem.

Mark IV (1982) – Frederick Douglass Street

Mark IV Frederick Douglass
In 1982, Mark IV Construction Company completed the first phase of its Corn Hill Commons homes. This was the city of Rochester’s first comprehensive housing development in 30 years. These residences were advertised as maintaining “the flavor of Victorian America, coupled with the convenience of today.” Over a five-year period, hundreds more housing units would be constructed on 12 Corn Hill acres.

This home is one of two multi-family townhomes in the Corn Hill Commons. A unique feature of the home is that in addition to the 1400 square-foot “owner’s” apartment, it also has a lovely one bedroom loft apartment with hardwood floors, ideal for one person on the go. Both apartments will be on display for the Holiday Tour of Homes.

The larger unit has two bedrooms, 1 & 1/2 baths and a wood burning fireplace. It also has a lower level office/family room with a separate laundry room and a one car attached garage — convenient for avoiding Rochester’s inclement weather.

Corn Hill Commons recently completed the siding project it had started the last time a Corn Hill Commons townhome was on the Holiday Tour. The $1.2 million siding project has enhanced the value and energy cost savings to owners while using historic colors to blend in with the historic nature of the neighborhood.

The Hayden House (1850) – South Fitzhugh Street

Hayden House S. Fitzhugh

This Italianate landmark, named for previous resident Rochester mayor Charles Hayden, was damaged by fire and had been vacant for twelve years before the Loftus Brothers—Tom, Jim and John—bought it in July of 1982. This brick mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a prime example of how many Corn Hill mansions of yesteryear have been repurposed into apartments. The Loftus restoration created seven apartments that range in size from 650 to 1,200 square feet. They include five working fireplaces with original, refinished mahogany mantels. Original ceiling moldings have been restored or replaced with custom-made moldings to match.

Apartment 2, on the tour today, is 1200 square feet and an urban dweller’s dream – especially one who has an affinity for 19th century architecture. The large windows, bamboo floors and fully functioning fireplace with a marble mantel create a warm and inviting space on the first floor. The kitchen offers modern conveniences and style while maintaining the character of this historic landmark. The second floor accommodates a bedroom suite, recording studio and guest space. Beautiful hand hewn beams adorn the second floor, serving as a reminder of the painstaking labor inherent to 19th century building practices. One can easily see where the ax fell in the forming of these support beams. Finally, a spiral staircase leads to the third level cupola, with windows on all four walls offering beautiful views of the Rochester skyline as well as a perfect and private place to take in the fireworks.

The Scott House (1907) – Atkinson Street

The Scott House (1907) – Atkinson Street
A charming American Foursquare, the home you see today was constructed in 1907. It was converted to a two-family home in 1941, denoted by the unusual full bath on the first floor, and was restored to a single-family home in the 1950s.  

While the style of the home is common for the era in which it was built, it has a number of unique architectural and design features, such as the pediment-style dormers on the hipped roof. Further, the home’s foundation is brick, while the first story is fashioned with wood shingled siding, and the second story aluminum. The living room showcases a fireplace, framed in heavy oak and covered in an ornate brass grill, original to the house. Details from the home’s construction such as the gumwood trim, woodwork and doors abound.  

A great deal of the home’s restoration is owed to the Scotts, who resided here for over half a century. Mr. and Mrs. Roy L. Scott lovingly furnished and maintained the home, emphasizing its original character and warmth. Mrs. Scott also took great pride in her garden and landscaping and their collective efforts won them the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for neighborhood rehabilitation long before the revitalization of Corn Hill began.   

The current owner bought the home in 2013 and has been busy maintaining it and putting on his own touches.