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The Hervey Ely House ~ 1837

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Hervey Ely 1

The Hervey Ely House sits like a Greek Temple atop a hill in Corn Hill near the site of the Seneca Indians’ Last Sacrifice of the White Dog. It is the sole remaining testament to the grandeur that once was the historic Third Ward’s Livingston Park. Boston architect S.P. Hastings was commissioned to design this grand mansion. The style is Greek Revival, with freestanding Doric columns guarding the portico. Various entablatures, paneled pilasters, and carved capitals are other important external features. Inside the elegance continues with lavish parlors, elaborate plaster decorations, and nine fireplaces.

Mr. Ely was one of Rochester’s leaders during the booming flour milling period. He made his fortune by running a general store, a sawmill and the Red Mill gristmill. Hervey Ely and his wife Caroline lived in this gracious mansion on Livingston Park, the social heart of the Third Ward for only four years. After the collapse of the grain market in 1841, Ely was forced to sell the house. He passed away at 71 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Over the years, this historic mansion passed from prominent owner to prominent owner, including William Kidd, president of the Rochester Savings Bank. In 1920, it was acquired by the Irondequoit Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution for their headquarters. The Hervey Ely House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a landmark by the Rochester Preservation Board.

End Time Deliverance Miracle Ministry ~ Gathering Place

End Time Deliverance Miracle Ministry - Corn Hill
The red Medina sandstone outer walls of this church are what remains of the Richardsonian Romanesque-style exterior of Corn Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1900. Due to declining membership, the United Methodist denomination donated the building to the African Methodist Episcopal denomination in 1969. Several suspicious fires damaged the building in 1970-71. After the last and most disastrous fire in August 1971, the handful of members left in the congregation banded together to build a new sanctuary within the surviving sandstone walls. The building now houses the End Time Deliverance Miracle Ministry.

Greig St. ~ 1986

Greig Street 1986 - Main
In 2006, when the current owner saw this property, he knew he had found his home. He was first attracted by the location and exterior details such as genuine wood clapboard siding (rare in a structure built in 1986), deep front porch, private patio and generous windows on three sides that impart the feel of a detached house. Upon entering, he was impressed by the nine-foot ceilings on the first floor, crown moldings, wide trim and baseboards, the wood-burning fireplace flanked by cabinets and bookcases, as well as gracious spaces that included two and one-half baths in a two-bedroom home. However, the place was sorely in need of redecoration.

All of the finishes, window treatments and lighting fixtures, hardwood flooring and carpeting have been replaced. Faux finishes in the living room and kitchen were painted by local artist Brian O’Neill. In the living room are three watercolors painted in the late 1800s by Emma Lampert Cooper, a member of the American Impressionists and one of the owner’s ancestors. In the guest bedroom on the second floor are two oil paintings by Cooper. The second bath’s pink fixtures are cleverly brought to life by the racy pink-and-black design envisioned by designer Todd Perkins and realized by O’Neill. Built-in bookcases line the hall to the expansive master bedroom.

Troup St. ~ 1889

Troup Street - 1889 - Main
This brownstone and cedar shake home was built in 1889 by John Harry Stedman. Mr. Stedman was the inventor of the “fuzzy pipe cleaner” and the railway transfer. He is also credited for reviving the European tradition of placing lit candles in windows on Christmas Eve.

The home was then occupied by A. Byron Smith in 1897 and remained in the family until the mid 1950s. Mr. Smith was a partner in a local grocery wholesaler located at 37 & 39 Exchange Street. The warehouse was located at the nearby Erie Canal at the corner of S. Washington Street.

The mid 1950s began a dark era for the home. Although an apartment was added to the back, the home saw a string of different owners, periods of vacancy, and overall neglect.

Major renovations were done during the 1990s by John Milazzo and the home was restored to its present condition.

The current owners purchased the home in 2002, restored the hardwood floors and the side porch, painted to their tastes and are slowly working on the landscaping. In October they installed a new wooden fence in the backyard where their two dachshunds, Oscar and Gertrude (Gertie), love to run around.

Eagle/Troup Streets ~ 1880

Eagle-Troup 1880 - Main
This impressive home, built in 1880 in the Eastlake style from the Victorian era, was purchased by its current owner in 1970. The home had been split into many apartments by that time; the owner worked with many of his artist, architect, carpenter and designer friends (as the RIT Art School was located in this area) to restore the home to its present state.

The house now serves as home, business and 5 apartment units. It was a labor of love, as during the process the owner lived in different parts of the house until that area was restored and then moved on to another area. A lot of the material used in the house was recycled from homes that were being demolished that had significant architecture.

In 1986 the carriage house was added to the house where the business is now located. The owner has been involved in the development of the Corn Hill Neighbors Association and its Arts Festival since their inception.

South Fitzhugh St. ~ c.1980s

South Fitzhugh circa 1980s - Main
This home’s original owners were Vietnamese and proprietors of a Rochester jewelry store which specialized in handmade custom gold and silver jewelry. They hid dozens of relatives who, in return, assisted with the production of jewelry for the family-run business. The newly arrived refugees lived in the basement while being taught the skills to craft jewelry. Neighbors recount stories of chickens fleeing from the basement and running down the carriage lane.

Originally, the living quarters of the house were elaborately decorated with Asian influence. The fireplace and mantle were encased in green marble and the wood throughout the house had been sheathed with glossy black spray paint. The balusters of the staircase had been removed and in their place were plates of glass nailed in with trim that had been dipped in that same black lacquer spray paint.

The home now reflects its current owners’ love for contemporary design. Clean lines and bright colors have replaced the dark walls, floors and fireplace. Participants of the 2007 house tour may recall the upstairs was in the process of being converted…those participants will now have the opportunity to view the completed renovation. The former apartment has been transformed into a full master suite. Additional projects completed since the 2007 tour include a new, open floor plan kitchen, updated bathroom and patio.

Adams St. ~ 1872

Adams Street circa 1872 - Main
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 1930s, when it sat empty for several years. By the 1950s, this once proud home had been broken up into eleven apartments, occupied by RIT students. In the 1960s the Landmark Society bestowed its “Landmark” status, and the house was converted into the current three-family designation.

Inside, care has been taken to preserve existing 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. 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 copper roof moldings and dormers, the replacement of hand-cut roof slate, and the installation of antique glazed tile chimney pots.

In November 2003, the owner was presented with the Landmark Society’s “Historic Home Award” for his care and commitment to the preservation of an architecturally significant house.

Troup St. ~ 1870

Troup Street 1850Two connected townhouses were constructed when land was at a premium, one of which is one today’s tour. To achieve the greatest living space from two small lots, the two properties share an interior wall and a slate mansard roof. The raised basement, at one time, likely housed the kitchens. These features augment the real and apparent height of the structure, which, at 40 feet, is taller than any of its immediate neighbors.

During its early years, this home was owned and occupied by Fred W. Dewey, a lumber dealer, then by Charles G. Arnold, a bookkeeper and, later, by Mary Rohde. Fast forward to the 1960s and 1970s, when the structure, as part of RIT’s “student ghetto,” fell prey to abuse and neglect at the hands of careless owners and tenants. There were eight apartments in this home and another eight in the adjoining townhouse.

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.

In 1990, this home was purchased by its current owners, fortunate beneficiaries of their predecessors’ hard work. They occupy the upper floors and rent the ground floor efficiency apartment.

Greenwood St. ~ c.1860

Greenwood Street - circa 1860
This charming brick home is a prime example of homes originally built on the once private avenue of Greenwood Street for craftspeople, shopkeepers, and widows of modest means.

In 1858, widowed milliner Mrs. Ann Eliza Darragh purchased the lot upon which the house sits. Its construction exemplifies common details of homes built in that time period, including simple stone lintels and sills flanking the windows and doors.

The house remained in the Darragh family for many years. A daughter married a grocer and it is speculated that a horse-drawn grocery cart may have necessitated the construction of the carriage house.

Mrs. Helen Murray Fish moved into the home in 1940, at which time it became like a second home for many neighborhood children. Some neighborhood boys constructed walls to create a secret garden.

Later, this home became the first of several homes in the city that the Landmark Society purchased in their efforts to revitalize historic homes.

The current owner makes a concerted effort to maintain and respect the integrity of this fine historic home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this home is a treat to behold.

Greenwood St. ~ 1850

2010 Greenwood Street 1850 - Main Image
Built in 1850, 4 Greenwood Street was originally part of a larger property of what is now 111 Troup St. In 1888, both properties were owned by James M. Backus, a local grocer and the manager of the winning team (the Live Oaks) in Rochester’s first organized baseball championship in 1858. The property was deeded to the Selden family in the early 1900s. George B. Selden, whose father was a lawyer and represented Susan B. Anthony, was himself a patent lawyer and inventor. He was granted a U.S. patent for an automobile in 1895.

This small home has had a number of owners and renovations since the mid-1950s. In the early 1990s the previous owner gutted the second floor of the home, removed the traditional staircase and installed a narrow iron spiral staircase, opening up the first floor and creating a loft area on the second floor. The current owners, who have lived here since 2007, installed new hardwood floors on the first floor, ceramic tile in the kitchen and a new tumbled stone bathroom on the second floor, giving the interior a more current motif. The partially finished basement was also remodeled and now serves as a small “man cave.” Plans are to add a wisteria trellis and more decking to the backyard in 2011.