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Immaculate Conception Church ~ 1849

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Immaculate Conception Church 1

Tour Gathering Place

A Rochester landmark for 150 years, Immaculate Conception Church was founded by Irish immigrants in 1849.  The first church was a frame structure that was destroyed by fire in 1864.  Construction of a second church began that same year.  The new church, which was built of brick in a modified Romanesque style, was damaged by fire in 1872.  The parish subsequently repaired and enlarged the surviving structure.

The present church is basically the 1864-1873 building modified by two large-scale renovations.  An entrance portico was added to the east façade and the spire was removed from the north tower.  The main sanctuary windows, installed in 1923, are made of richly colored German stained glass.  Pike Stained Glass Studio installed the handsome blue rose window and the three large lancet windows behind the organ in the 1950s.

In 1992, Immaculate Conception Church was placed on the National Register of Monroe County Historic Buildings. To prepare for the 150th anniversary of the church, the building underwent extensive rehabilitation in 2000.  Some pews were removed to make room for a gathering space near the back of the church.  An accessible entrance was added and the entire interior of the church was repaired and painted.

Today its congregation has joined with the St. Bridget’s community to form a thriving Roman Catholic Church of African American tradition.

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.

Charles E. Hart Carriage House ~ 1888

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The Charles E. Hart Carriage House on Troup Street, 1888

Salis Residence

The Italianate Villa on the corner of South Plymouth Avenue was built in the 1830s by James Seymour, president of the Bank of Rochester and later the Sheriff of Monroe County. In 1866 Henry S. Potter, the first president of Western Union, purchased it and in 1888 the next owner, Charles Hart, had the Troup Street carriage house built for his livery. There are poignant photos of this period, when the Hart family simultaneously housed horse and carriage as well as automobiles here.

In 1952, the Rochester Institute of Technology leased the carriage house to showcase arts and crafts created by its “School of American Craftsmen” professors and students that included internationally recognized artists such as Albert Paley and Wendell Castle. The gallery, called Shop One, was a unique institution in its time, providing not only a business venture originated and managed by crafts people, but also a forum for the presentation of museum quality avant-garde craftwork. Until it closed in 1972, Shop One continued to promote its mission of educating the public to the special beauty of handmade objects.

When the current residents purchased the carriage house in 1975, they converted the upper level into a family home befitting of its artistic legacy. A ceiling was removed in the main living space to expose four more original windows, which illuminated much of their collection of late 18th and early 19th century American portraiture, landscape, and still-life oil paintings. The German/Swiss armoire dates from the 1700s, as does the desk at the end of the hallway. The spiral staircase leads to an open- air garden and dining space. But before ascending to this unique residence, be sure to take notice of the 1957 Morris Minor parked in the large heated garage.

Campbell-Whittlesey House ~ 1836

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Campbell-Whittlesey House 1

The Campbell-Whittlesey House on Troup Street, 1836

Yearwood Residence 

This spectacular Greek Revival home was designed by Finger Lakes architect Minard Lafever for Rochester flour miller Benjamin Campbell. In 1841 the house was sold to Rochester’s fourth mayor, Thomas Rochester, who used it as a boarding house. In 1852 its ownership passed to Rochester lawyer Frederick Whittlesey, who later became Judge of the Supreme Court of New York State.

Preserving this important mansion was a major impetus for the founding of the Landmark Society of Western New York in 1937 and in 1971 the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From 1939 until 2010 the Campbell-Whittlesey House functioned as a museum for the Landmark Society

In the summer of 2011, the mansion was once again purchased privately and its current owner immediately began extensive renovations. The entire electrical system was upgraded; all aspects of plumbing and lighting were modernized, taking care to preserve period chandeliers; and the chimneys were restored as well as the seven original fireplaces.

Today, visitors will pass through the restored main entrance into formal salons, which feature Empire styled pieces, some of which were part of the original museum collection. Here the original ceilings have been restored with gold moldings and two colors that are unique to the house. The renovated library features the original Venetian green wash colored walls as well as a Georgian drum table that was also found in the museum. As in the salons, the formal dining room floor is covered with a European carpet specially ordered and customized for the house, and the antique Georgian sideboard was an original exhibit piece when the house was a museum. The newly installed powder room boasts its own fireplace and a generous sitting area.

The owner’s objective has been to “create a habitable and comfortable single family home with a sensible balance between past and present that preserves unique architectural and historic details while incorporating modern utilities and comforts.”

Hayden House ~ 1854

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The Hayden House (Apartment # 7) on South Fitzhugh Street, 1854

Howard Residence

This Italianate landmark, named for 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. Originally built as a single-family home, the brick mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the 1960s, it housed eleven apartments out of which the Loftus restoration created seven apartments that range in size from 650 to 1,200 square feet. They include five working fireplaces with original mahogany mantels that have been stripped and refinished. Original ceiling moldings have also been restored or replaced with custom-made moldings to match.

In 1985, a charming, columned, Colonial wood slat porch was added to this 1,000 square foot apartment. Upon entering, visitors will view a tasteful contemporary interior with 22 windows and 4 skylights that provide a light and airy ambiance. A winding, open oak staircase leads to all three floors. The second floor features a galley kitchen and a delightful window seat where guests can view downtown Rochester. The third floor accommodates a small office, a tiled bathroom, and a spacious bedroom with vaulted ceilings and an interior double-gated stained glass window that opens to the floor below.

Fraver Home ~ 1986

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The Fraver Home on South Fitzhugh Street, 1986

This home is one of seven townhouses built as part of the Mark IV Construction project designed to complement Avery Mall Park. This city pocket park, which runs between South Plymouth Avenue and Adams Street, was named after nationally acclaimed Rochester watercolor artist Ralph Avery, who lived in Corn Hill. The elegant townhouse was built on a site once called the Montgomery Greens/Riley subtract. Upon entering this end unit, visitors will have the sense of a much larger space inside as the home includes six rooms, two and one half baths (about 1500 square feet) and a full basement. Features include a recently updated kitchen with cherry cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. Located off the kitchen is a spacious cedar deck and upstairs are an en-suite master bath with skylight and an office with an outdoor balcony.

The current owners, who relocated to Corn Hill in March of 2011, were drawn to the history and vitality of the area. They have replaced the wood-burning fireplace with a tiled gas fireplace that accents their mission-style furniture; walls display their framed collections of Rochester photos, old maps, and Corn Hill posters; and the latest addition is newly installed hard wood flooring of Brazilian koa. Fully decorated for the holidays, this home features a personal collection of Santa Claus figurines throughout the house.

Sage House ~ 1850

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Sage House

The Sage House on Corn Hill Terrace, c.1850

William Sage, a shoe manufacturer and civic leader, had this Italianate home constructed in the late 1850’s. The Italian Villa style features wide eaves, a shallow-pitched roof, and very tall windows. Sage and his family lived here through the 1800s and added several additions to the original house. Two of these (the center and western portions) remain today as separate residences.

During the 20th century, the structure became a rooming house. When developer George Zimmer bought the property in 1978, it contained 18 “apartments.” His plan was to convert the home into luxury apartments when a couple approached him and inquired about the possibility of developing the building as three townhouses. The couple then found 2 other buyers and the restoration of the home as townhouses began.

Center Townhouse – McNeil-Petrella Residence

Visitors will approach the center townhouse of this converted complex through a private gate and narrow sidewalk that leads to the modest porch entrance of the smallest of these three units. When the current owners first considered purchasing this home, they were immediately impressed that it was “move in ready.” Once inside, one is greeted by a spacious eat in kitchen complete with a breakfast bar and galley style cooking area.  The tall ceilings and serving/conversation window between the kitchen and living room help to create an open, airy feel. Just beyond the kitchen is a large living room with a wood-burning stove flanked by two large windows. Double tier crown moldings accent the dramatic ceiling lines, and a powder room and large closet complete the first floor amenities. Although not open on today’s tour, the upstairs is softly lit by a master bedroom skylight and features matching claw foot bathtubs in the guest and master bathrooms.

West Townhouse — Faucher Residence

When the current owner of the west end unit first viewed it in 2008, he noted, “It was a step back into the past. Nothing had been done here in over 20 years. The bedroom and living room walls were all either antique gray or lilac and the bathrooms and kitchen were covered in tired, dated floral wallpaper.” But he instantly saw unique possibilities in the layout and especially in the dramatic ceilings. He gutted the old kitchen and replaced it with a cherry floor and new fixtures of travertine and maple. The master bath now includes a double shower and the second level features red oak floors with designer painting and lighting throughout. Exiting this second townhouse, visitors will notice gardens that have been reconfigured with curved walkways through both the sun and shade areas.

V. J. Levy House ~ 1887

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V. J. Levy House on Glasgow Street, c. 1887

Delehanty Residence

This Eastlake style Victorian home was built as a single-family house in the late 1880’s.  Early in the 20th century, Dr. V.J. Levy, the first African American dentist in Rochester, purchased it and practiced dentistry here for many years. The first floor served as his office while he lived on the second and third floors. It’s rumored that he used the third floor to improve his golf game by installing his very own putting green. A prominent member of the Jewish community, Dr. Levy also served on the Red Wings board of directors. After his death, the house was divided into two apartments, one downstairs and another on the second and third floors.

The current owners purchased the home in 2002, having previously owned a smaller house on Hubbell Park, just one block away. They note that sometimes during the arts festival, complete strangers stop by and comment, “I once had a tooth pulled here.” They quickly converted the house back into a single-family residence as they were expecting the birth of their first child. Now, three children, aged nine, six, and six-months, fill this home with laughter, love and the stampeding of little feet. The owners are both teachers at East High School and have frequently offered their wonderful home as a place to entertain students, family and friends.

Caruso Home ~ 1988

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The Caruso Home on Clarissa Street, 1988

This charming townhouse was one of seven condos built in the first phase of an award winning Corn Hill Village on Greig Street at Clarissa. These were developed along the lines of a 19th century English country compound, each unit with a different layout rather than “cookie-cutter” sameness. This townhouse facing Clarissa Street was constructed with a two-bedroom plan that allowed for a master suite to be added on the second floor and has a full basement. Inside a very unique fireplace mantel and hardwood floors are featured.

The home’s current owner (its fourth) purchased his residence in 2011 and, upon settling in, immediately began several upgrades. A retired history professor and drama director, his collection of over 160 theatrical posters date from 1969-2011. While only a few are displayed on walls, the remainder may be viewed in three artist portfolios, which are available for inspection.

Outside, to the west, you’ll notice Corn Hill’s newest housing development—the Clarissa-Santiago townhouse complex. When completed, this project will consist of 8 townhouses in 2 four-unit buildings.