Not only did the neighborhood lose a great commercial street in Clarissa, but Exchange was also gutted (from the Ford Street Bridge effectively to Main St.). I’ll let the pictures do the talking.












Overall Site Plan
So here’s a quick glimpse of the siting we’re leaning towards. The driveway will be cut back to just be one car worth next to the garage, but otherwise, we’re really feeling this. Don’t mind the interiors, not only will they change, we don’t own a VW.


Since my posting schedule doesn’t exactly line up with the posting schedule at Rochester Subway, I let the crosspost slide until today. In any event, the first post about the house went live over there a few days ago. You can find it here. Thanks again to the entire team at RochesterSubway for being so supportive of the project.


So one block west of the house-to-be is Clarissa St. Once the nexus for Black culture in Rochester, it was ‘urban-renewaled’ out of existence not long after the rather famous riot in 1964. One of the saddest parts of this is not just that a once great commercial street was removed (as you’ll see), but also that the only readily-available archival photos of the street come from the riots themselves. This paints a dark picture of a street that was lively and urbane before hand. In any event, the change is stark, as you can see from the few before and after pictures I was able to line up below. More about the neighborhood, and the wide-scale destruction that was wrought on it over the course of building the highway, civic center, and reducing Black culture in Rochester to rubble can be found in the excellent book (Amazon link) about the neighborhood published by Images of America.

Clarissa St. 1
a.clarissa st 1
b.clarissa st 1b

Clarissa St. 2
a.clarissa st 2
b.clarissa st 2b

Clarissa St. 3
clarissa st 3

Clarissa St. 4
clarissa st 4


So no news is good news, right? Unfortunately, I don’t have any real updates today. That said, I am thinking about, once construction starts, anthropomorphically tweeting as the house. Thoughts?


We’re waiting on a little bit of news later this week, so I’m holding off on any real updates until then. I hope to have all kinds of news on Thursday, though. See you then.


I present to you all the goings on of Beaver Street (née Plum Alley) from the Monday, February 20th, 1899 edition of the Democrat and Chronicle. Have a great weekend everyone.

Newspaper clip 1899

* An earlier version of this post incorrectly referenced the former Plum Alley as Eagle Street. Thank you to Bob for the excellent catch.


Slow news day over here, so I’d just like to post a little historical information about RIT, which you may not know, was originally located in the 3rd Ward/Corn Hill. They probably weren’t the best stewards of the neighborhood (famously buying up houses and tearing them down for parking). But they are inextricably linked with the area’s history, and only made the decision to move once it was clear most of thecurrent campus would be torn down for I490.

I’ve attached an image of the campus map from 1957 as well as a photo of a row of fraternity houses. I would love help identifying the location of the frat houses. I have the sneaking suspicion that they were on Clarissa St. and were all torn down shortly after RIT left, but if anyone can help locate them (they’re pretty distinctive), please let me know.

Downtown campus map.jpg.crop_display



Here are a few early sketches trying to fit everything into the ground floor that we want (which is to say SWBR trying to fit everything into the ground floor we want – Thanks guys!). Once we have the layout of the house downstairs set, the other levels and the siting will fall into place much more easily. Starting with the first sketch and moving through to the third one, you can see how the concepts are coming together.

Sketch 1:
Sketch 1

Sketch 2:
Sketch 2

Sketch 3:
Sketch 3