The History of Rochester

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.

train, rochester, new york

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.


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