Rochester in Monroe County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Transportation and Commerce
From Seneca fording place to aqueduct and bridge — a perpetual crossing place
Erie Canal Rerouted South of the City and out of Downtown
The last canal boat passed through the Erie Canal in downtown Rochester in 1919. The city had grown because of the canal to a point where horse, trolley, automobile, bicycle and pedestrian traffic had become dangerous and congested. Because of these dangers in 1912, Main Street won the title "Aisle of Death." The canal was rerouted out of the city leaving behind a right-of-way through the city.
The Subway System
In 1921 the City began to build a subway in the bed of the old Erie Canal. It was completed in 1927. In order to accommodate automobiles a second level was built over the canal aqueduct and named Broad Street. The subway operated from 1927 to 1956.
Osburn House Postcard View
Looking south in this early 20th century post card South Avenue, the aqueduct, Erie Canal, Johnson & Seymour Dam and Genesee River are visible. The Public Library was built near the right angle turn in the canal. The subway ran through the canal bed under the library from 1927-1956. The Osburn House hotel was demolished in 1959 to make way for the Broad Street extension. The expanded public library was built in the site in the 1990s.
Photo above shows a canal boat in the weigh lock in 1915. (Shown on the map at the right inside red square). The weigh lock building on the Erie Canal determined the toll boats would pay based on the difference between their registered empty weight and loaded weight. The warehouse, inside the blue circle, was once Cheney Stove Works, which canal boat Captains said, was haunted because the wind whistled through broken windows.
Court Street Bridge Postcard
shows the Lehigh Valley Railroad station (lower left) wagons, cars and a trolley on the bridge over the Genesee River. On the far side of the river is the Erie Railroad station.
Genesee River Feeder
Originally intended to feed water from the Genesee River into the Erie Canal, the feeder became a by-pass for boats to enter the canal from the river. The junction of the feeder and canal are shown inside the blue circle at left.
The pioneer settlement, Castletown, was built where rapids in the river prevented boats from going further north. (Across the river from where the University of Rochester is currently located.) Boats had to transfer their cargo to wagons that would take the cargo to the Erie and Genesee Valley canals or to Lake Ontario to be shipped around the world. As river boats entered the Erie Canal feeder, bypassing Castletown, the settlement lost is profitable transfer business and today is part of the City's 19th Ward.
Erected by City of Rochester - The Community Foundation.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
Location. 43° 9.265′ N, 77° 36.628′ W. Marker is in Rochester, New York, in Monroe County. Marker can be reached from Broad Street (New York State Route 31) ¼ mile east of Exchange Street (New York State Route 383). Touch for map. This marker is down a flight of stairs to the right side of the sidewalk, between the sidewalk and the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial. Marker is in this post office area: Rochester NY 14614, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Erie Canal Aqueduct (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Mills and Races (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Historic Site in Journalism (about 600 feet away); From Hunting Ground to City (about 600 feet away); Front Street (about 700 feet away); Erie Canal (about 700 feet away); The Genesee River (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rochester.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 6, 2013, by Yugoboy of Rochester, New York. This page has been viewed 309 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 6, 2013, by Yugoboy of Rochester, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.