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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

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Hayden House 1

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

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes VJ Levy House 1

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

2012 Corn Hill Holiday Tour of Homes Caruso Home 1

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.

Tremont Circle ~ 1860

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The Holdsworth-Bertch Home on Tremont Circle, c. 1860

It has been ten years since this circa 1860 Victorian brick farmhouse was last seen on the Holiday House Tour. Like a pair of comfortable slippers, it has been shaped and worn by its various caretakers through the years. Features include original painted woodwork and fireplaces along with a rear attached apartment. Thanks to urban renewal in the 1960’s this home benefits from an unusually large city yard, originally the back yards of previous homes and businesses that faced Clarissa Street. Like many throughout the neighborhood, this home was in a state of disrepair before its early 1970s rehabilitation.  Several updates were made then while keeping the character of the house in mind, and previous owners Bill and Shirley Lowe later designed the generous front porch and first floor kitchen addition.

In 2005, the front porch and large yard were important attractions for the current owners, and the inviting Corn Hill neighborhood sealed the deal for them! Recently they have begun the process of making their own mark on the home with recent improvements to the floor plan along with updated wood floors through most of the first floor. As with all owners of older homes, they are now considering several other projects on their “to do” list.

Tremont Circle, Apartment ~ 1864

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The Webster-Kirley House Apartment on Tremont Circle, 1864
Weimer Home

The rear apartment at this Tremont Circle residence was fashioned out of the original kitchen and servant’s quarters. Like the main part of the house, one of the apartment entrances was converted from an original window. In 2010, the apartment was renovated extensively, including a restoration of the original pine flooring in the living room. Hand-scraped hardwood flooring was installed on the entire second floor, and crown moldings added to the main floor. Wood paneling from the 1970s was removed to create an exposed brick stairwell. Modern fixtures were added throughout and an antique leaded transom glass was installed over the main entrance door in an attempt to combine historic beauty with contemporary convenience.

South Plymouth Avenue ~ 1985

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The Giles Home on South Plymouth Avenue, 1985

In 1982, the Mark IV Construction Company completed the first phase of its Corn Hill Commons townhouses. 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. Note that this particular row of South Plymouth Avenue townhouses changed their appearance to multi-colored exteriors during the 2011 Corn Hill Commons re-siding project.

Today, this charming townhouse is opened on our Holiday House Tour for the first time. Visitors will be awed at the dramatic red, black, and grey Art Deco interior setting. The owner has enjoyed 12 years of living here and collecting artwork that reflects New York City, Jazz, and Fashion. Be sure to enter his basement “man cave,” where it’s all about African art. Our host extends a cordial “Welcome to my home!”

The Hoyt-Potter House ~ 1840

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The Hoyt-Potter House on South Fitzhugh Street, c. 1840

David Hoyt, a prominent Rochester bookseller and stationer, had this fine Greek Revival house built on South Fitzhugh Street about 1840 for his wife and family. In 1850, Hoyt sold his house to successful businessman Henry S. Potter.  In 1851, Hoyt became one of the organizers, directors, and largest stockholder of the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company—later known as the Western Union Telegraph Company. Henry Potter died here in 1884 at the age of 83. His daughter Henryetta Potter lived here until 1907.

The house suffered from neglect and, in 1969, Jack Lubelle purchased the house, then a boarding house. By 1972, all tenants had vacated and the owner began a 20 year process of suing the city for permission to demolish the building. Because of its historical and architectural significance, the Rochester Preservation Board protected the building from demolition. The empty building suffered vandalism and a 1976 fire caused substantial damage, including a hole in the roof that admitted the elements for over 11 years.

In 1989, a judge denied a final demolition request and the City of Rochester won final appeal to take title to the house. A request for proposals followed and was answered by Hoyt-Potter Associates with a plan to rehabilitate the house. By 1991, renovations were almost completed and the Landmark Society of Western New York purchased the building for their offices and library. The Corn Hill Neighbors Association is also housed here.

Today visitors can stroll through the double parlors, which have been rehabilitated and furnished to reflect the time of Mr. Potter’s greatest affluence—the mid-1850s.