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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.

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!