The History of Rochester

train, rochester, new york

Rochester is the city on Lake Ontario and New York State’s primary port. In 1803, Col. Nathaniel Rochester, Maj. Charles Carroll, and Col. William Fitzhugh obtained the 100-acre Tract on which Rochester would grow and started a settlement there in 1812. In 1817, they joined their lands with other land owners (mainly Brown Brothers); the settlement was incorporated as a village named Rochesterville. Rapid growth began with the opening of Erie Canal, in years 1820 and 1834 the population of village was 1,502 and 12,252 people respectively. In 1834, the city was given the name Rochester. By then 20 mills were producing 500,000 barrels of flour a year. By 1838, Rochester produced more flour than any other city in the world. The University of Rochester was established in 1850, in 1900, it allowed women to study. In 1857, St. Mary’s Hospital, the first hospital of Rochester, was established. In 1900, after post-war industrial boom, the city was populated with 162,800 people. Clothing, shoe manufacturing, brewing, and machine tools industries developed during the boom. City businessmen donated land to build Highland and Maplewood Park. At least 5 railroads served the city, each of them with it’s own station.

In the1900’s, Eastman and Carnegie made generous donations to the University of Rochester. In 1918, the Barge Canal was opened and Erie Canal was closed. The Court Street Dam was constructed to raise the river level to that of the new canal. By 1930, University of Rochester had one Ph.D. and was training more candidates for their doctorates. In 1928, Red Wing Stadium opened. By 1930, the population had reached 328,132 and The Rochester Municipal Airport opened. With the beginning of WWII, around 29 thousand men from Rochester area went to serve in the army. The prisoner of war camp was built in the Cobb’s Hill Park and filled with Italian POWs before the capitulation of Italy and German POWs – after the capitulation. In 1964, the Rochester race riot began and started riots all over United States. Due to the riots the city saw its first African American safety director, police officers, and radio announcers. During 60s-70s, Rochester was the leading jazz city in upstate New York. The fabric and culture of Rochester was woven by the people who call this beautiful city home. In 2000, the population had declined to 219,773, 33.9% less than in 1950, it went even lower in 2006, down to 206,000. It was stabilized with a 0.25% annual growth rate in 2010. The history of Rochester is rich in tradition and tied to the waters that service it’s waterways. Rochester is a proud city that continues to welcome people from all walks of life. There are many activities in and around the city for all to enjoy. The city is alive with restaurants and theaters. There are vineyards and parks throughout the city and surrounding areas. Every year see festivals and entertainment come to Rochester and it’s many venues.

Best Bars and Nightlife

Lux Lounge
4.2 Stars
Offbeat hangout for cocktails with a backyard & fire pit, plus a pool table, jukebox & board games.
666 South Ave
Opens at 5:00 PM
Lux Lounge

Winton Bar and Grill
4.1 Stars
Sports Bar
Neighborhood haunt serving burgers & bar food amid TVs showing sports in a homey, dark space.
196 Winton Rd N
Winton Bar and Grill

Scotland Yard Pub
4.1 Stars
$$ · Pizza
Weekly karaoke & trivia enhance this cheery English pub sporting a long bar & twists on grill fare.
187 St Paul St
Scotland Yard

Johnny’s Irish Pub
4.1 Stars
Irish Pub
A convivial vibe & the scent of popcorn fill this Irish pub featuring local bands & basic pub grub.
1382 Culver Rd
Johnny's Irish Pub

Victoire Belgian Beer Bar & Bistro
3.7 Stars
Euro-inspired pub featuring Belgian brews & dishes in addition to classic American bar fare.

Temple Bar & Grille
3.9 Stars $$
Karaoke, nightly beer specials & sports TV in a comfy bar & grill with a pool table & darts.
109 East Ave.
Temple Bar and Grille

The Distillery Restaurant Rochester
4.0 Stars
Hopping American sports bar & grill lined with 30+ TVs in lodgelike digs with an outdoor terrace.
1142 Mt Hope Ave.
The Distillery Restaurant

4.3 Stars
Warm hangout featuring live bands most nights, plus an eclectic beer list & backyard seating.
153 Liberty Pole Way.
Abilene Bar and Lounge

Windjammers  Bar & Grill
4.5 Stars
$$ · Bar
Long-lasting tavern known for its wings & burgers, music (live or DJS) & multiple TVs showing games.
Address: 4695 Lake Ave, Rochester, NY 14612
Phone:(585) 663-9691

Local Museums and Art Galleries

Memorial Art Gallery
4.6 Stars
Sprawling collection from medieval to contemporary works, with paintings by Rembrandt & Monet.
500 University Ave
(585) 276-8900

4.9 Stars
Art Gallery
Renovated factory building housing many multidisciplinary art pieces & offering event space.
565 Blossom Rd # L
(585) 288-7170
artisan works

Rochester Contemporary Art Center
1 review · Art Gallery
137 East Ave
(585) 461-2222
Rochester Art Center


Local Theatres

Rochester Broadway Theatre League / RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre
4.7 Stars · Performing Arts Theater
Built as a Masonic Temple theater in 1928, this elegant space now hosts touring Broadway shows.
885 E Main St



Blackfriars Theatre
4.7 Stars · Performing Arts Theater
Professional theater putting on 6 plays per year, from Broadway musicals to holiday shows.
795 E Main St



Geva Theatre Center
4.4 Stars · Performing Arts Theater
Professional shows & public programs staged in a renovated 19th-century arsenal with a bar & cafe.
75 Woodbury Blvd




Downstairs Cabaret Theatre
No reviews · Performing Arts Theater
Veteran nonprofit staging a variety of innovative theatrical productions, plus jazz concerts.
20 Windsor St.



The Little Theatre
4.5 Stars $ · Movie Theater
A mix of indie & foreign films, rotating art displays & music in a 1929 theater with a casual cafe.
240 East Ave #100
Opens at 5:00 PM


Dining Favorites

There are tons of places to eat in Rochester. We have listed some of your favorites below.

The Owl House
4.5 Stars
$$ · New American Restaurant
Address: 75 Marshall St, Rochester, NY 14607
Phone:(585) 360-2920
Hours:Thursday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–10:30PM
Friday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–10:30PM
Saturday 11AM–3PM, 5–10:30PM
Sunday 11AM–3PM, 5–9:30PM
Monday Closed
Tuesday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–9:30PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–9:30PM

Creative, vegan-friendly American plates & craft beer served in a snug house with a bohemian vibe.


Pane Vino On The River
4.1 Stars
$$ · Italian Restaurant
Address: 175 N Water St, Rochester, NY 14604
Phone:(585) 232-6090
Thursday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–10PM
Friday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–10PM
Saturday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–10PM
Sunday 4–9PM
11:30AM–3PM, 5–9PM
Hours might differ
Tuesday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–9PM
Wednesday 11:30AM–3PM, 5–9PM


Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
4.4 Stars
$ · Barbecue Restaurant
Address: 99 Court St, Rochester, NY 14604
Phone:(585) 325-7090
Thursday 11AM–11PM
Friday 11AM–12AM
Saturday 11AM–12AM
Sunday 12–10PM
Hours might differ
Tuesday 11AM–11PM
Wednesday 11AM–11PM
Barbecue chain serving Southern-style meats & draft brews in a retro setting (most have live music).


Jines Restaurant
4.1 Stars
$ · Restaurant
Address: 658 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607
Phone:(585) 461-1280
Thursday 7AM–10PM
Friday 7AM–10PM
Saturday 7AM–10PM
Sunday 7AM–8PM, Monday 7AM–10PM, Tuesday 7AM–10PM, Wednesday 7AM–10PM

All-day breakfast & Sunday brunch draw crowds to this friendly Greek diner with sidewalk seating.


Rooney’s Restaurant
4.2 Stars
$$ · Restaurant
Address: 90 Henrietta St, Rochester, NY 14620
Phone:(585) 442-0444
Friday 5:30–10PM
Saturday 5–10PM
Sunday Closed
Tuesday 5:30–10PM
Wednesday 5:30–10PM
Thursday 5:30–10PM
Nestled in a residential area, this intimate spot offers an upscale American menu & long wooden bar.

Lento Restaurant
4.2 Stars
Located in: Village Gate Square
Address: 274 Goodman St N, Rochester, NY 14607
Phone:(585) 271-3470
Friday 5–10PM
Saturday 5–10PM
Sunday Closed
Tuesday 5–10PM
Wednesday 5–9PM
Thursday 5–10PM
Warm, softly lit space serving creative, upscale New American fare made from local meats & produce.

Rochester Ranks 6th for Best & Worst Cities for Women Owned Businesses

A commissioned report by American Express sought to find the trends in the business world from 1997-2015. In particular the trending of women owned businesses and the environment going forward. It found that between 1997 and 2015 women owned businesses grew at a rate of 74% as opposed to the overall growth of 51%. This means that women are becoming business owners at a faster rate and generating nearly 1.5 trillion in revenue and employing over 7.9 million people. The rates at which women owned businesses is growing is the fastest of all sectors and Rochester is one place where that holds true.

“The only bright spot in recent years with respect to privately-held company job growth has been among women-owned firms. They have added an estimated 340,000 jobs since 2007. Among men-owned and equally-owned firms, employment has declined over the past eight years.” –American Express Open Report

Nationally the trend of women owning business has been on the rise. Women owned business has risen 74% since 1997. While other segments of start ups has fallen women have increased. Between 2002 and 2015 the number of women owned firms has increased 45%. The biggest increase has come in the firms that concentrate on education which has seen a rise of 139% women ownership. The increase in minority women business ownership has skyrocketed. In 1997 there were less than 1 million minority women owned firms in the U.S. In 2015 that number has climbed to over 3 million. With minority women owned businesses comprising 33% as compared to 17% in 1997. The good news for Rochester was recently ranked sixth in the country overall in the top ten on 2016’S Best and worst cities for women owned businesses. Rochester ranks #18 in overall new business friendliness rank for women. Rochester ranked fifth for “Business climate for women” which helped propel the city to sixth overall. See all the numbers below.




Overall Rank


Total Score

‘Overall New-Business Friendliness’ Rank

‘Female Entrepreneurship’ Rank

‘Business Climate for Women’ Rank

1 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 70.04 13 20 18
2 Chattanooga, TN-GA 69.79 2 50 18
3 Columbus, OH 68.13 7 23 27
4 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 66.99 4 66 18
5 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 66.44 30 48 2
6 Rochester, NY 64.89 18 77 5
7 Kansas City, MO-KS 64.82 22 14 25
8 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 64.60 25 55 11
9 Greensboro-High Point, NC 64.57 6 56 40
10 Honolulu, HI 63.88 43 3 17


10 Years Ago Jason McElwain Became a Legend

If you are from Rochester you probably remember this story and how the video of this young man went viral. It has been 10 years and he has grown into a good man. We at want to thank Jason for inspiring us all to be better at whatever we do.