Rochester is a great destination. Often dubbed the Flower City it was first known as the Flour City. At one point in time Rochester made more flour than any other place in the world. Even Queen Victoria reportedly stocked her kitchen with 6,000 barrels of Rochester flour because, “…it made the best cakes.”
In the mid-1800s Rochester became the Flower City due in large part to nurserymen George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry then later Frederick Law Olmsted, called the Father of American Landscaping, who created the city’s park system. Other notables have left their mark on Rochester including George Eastman, Margaret Woodbury Strong, Susan B. Anthony, and George Long, Jr.
George Eastman, a photographic pioneer and founder of the Eastman Kodak, made photography available to the average person by creating small, easy-to-use cameras. The motto for the camera he introduced in 1888 was, “You push the button, we do the rest.” A visit to Eastman’s house is to learn more about the man who claimed, “I want to make Rochester the best city in which to live and work.” At the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film see the historical development of photography in the Machines of Memory gallery, visit changing photographic exhibits, wander the gardens, and tour Eastman’s house, a National Historic Landmark.
Margaret Woodbury Strong agreed with Plato who over 2000 years ago said, “Life must be lived as play.” A prolific collector of dolls and toys, Strong founded her namesake museum in 1968. Today it is larger and more dynamic than ever due to a major expansion project that was completed in 2006. The carousel and diner are still by the entrance but the museum offers new adventures for young and old.
On a quiet tree-lined street the home of Susan B. Anthony tells the story of a lady who dedicated her entire life to making America a better place for everyone. She first became active in the temperance movement and joined the women’s rights movement in 1852. She dedicated her life to getting “…women their rights and nothing less.” Anthony died 14 years before women got the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
Rochester is another city that owes its existence to the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825 creating an affordable western route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Even Mary Jemison did not live in Rochester but her legacy lives on in the name of one of two local Erie Canal tour boats. The Mary Jemison, a 1931 historic wooden boat, honors the legacy of “the white woman of the Genesee,” who chose to remain with her adoptive Seneca family after being taken captive as a child. The Mary Jemison departs from the trendy Corn Hill area traveling the Genesse River and the Erie Canal offering unique and different views of the Rochester area.
Seabreeze opened in 1879 where the main attraction was the shore-side picnic area but mechanical rides soon arrived. In 1904 George Long, Jr. and his family brought a merry-go-round to Seabreeze beginning a family legacy that continues to this day with his great-grandchildren working at the park. The park has grown to include a water park with a wave pool and a variety of state-of-the-art thrill rides for all ages. Currently Seabreeze is North America’s 4th oldest operating amusement park with the Jack Rabbit the 3rd oldest operating roller coaster.