Rochester Timeline

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1500 years ago: The Senecas make good use of the forests and waters of the area, hunting and fishing, and building homes for themselves. They make longhouses out of trees and elm bark, and build a fort near Victor, Ontario County.

1789: Ebenezer Allan erects a gristmill on the Genesee River.

1803: Col. Nathaniel Rochester, William Fitzhugh, and Charles Carroll arrive to buy land, including what will become Rochester.

1823: The Erie Canal opens, giving Rochester access to farflung markets.

1828: Reynolds Arcade, a Rochester institution and a prototype of a 20th century shopping mall, is built. Rochesterians receive their U.S. mail, shop, and obtain other services. Both Bausch & Lomb, and Western Union Telegraph Company are founded here.

1834: Rochester becomes a city. Jonathan Child (Nathaniel Rochester’s son-in-law) is 1st mayor.

1847: Frederick Douglass moves to Rochester. With money raised by English and Irish friends, he buys a printing press and begins publishing the abolitionist weekly North Star. He continues publishing it until 1851.

1850: University of Rochester is founded as a Baptist-sponsored institution. The University opens as an all-male institution with 60 students in its first year. The United States Hotel, on Buffalo Street, now West Main Street, is the first home of the University.

1860s: Seth Green invents the fishing reel and opens the first fish hatchery. Abraham Lincoln’s train stops for five minutes at New York Central Railroad station as Lincoln travels to Washington, D.C., for inauguration. Sibley, Lindsay, & Curr Co. department store is founded.

1880s: The Rochester Electric Light Co. installs the city’s first electric lights in the Reynold’s Arcade. George Eastman invents the Kodak camera. Rochester’s first park, Highland, starts with 20 acres donated by George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry.

1890s: Jacob Myers’ automatic voting machine is the first mechanical device used in a public election. Frederick Douglass monument is unveiled at St. Paul and Central Ave. Barbers close on Sunday, leaving patrons upset that they have to shave themselves.

1900: Eastman Kodak introduces the Brownie Camera. It costs $1, and film is 15 cents. Susan B. Anthony persuades Rush Rhees, president of the University of Rochester, to admit female students.

1912: Mrs. James Sibley Watson gives Memorial Art Gallery to University of Rochester in memory of her son. Eastman Kodak begins 16-story building on State Street.

1919: First Community Chest drive. George Eastman announces gift of Eastman School of Music to University of Rochester.

1921: Fist Memorial Day parade of World War veterans. City Council approves subway construction in old Erie Canal bed. Massachusetts claims right to Ontario Beach; U.S. Supreme Court later sustains city’s right to it.

1924: Nazareth College opens. Oak Hill Country Club deeds land to University of Rochester for River Campus. Strong Memorial Hospital opens.

1927: First true ‘talking’movie shown. Merchant B. Forman makes first trans-Atlantic telephone call from city – it costs $75 for three minutes. Subway opens. First passenger flight from Rochester to New York.

1932: George Eastman dies. Rochester records its first bank robbery; $3,000 taken at Clifford-Portland branch of Lincoln-Alliance Bank & Trust Co. Only recorded tornado in city’s history kills two, injures scores, does property damage of hundreds of thousands of dollars. New Colgate-Rochester Divinity School dedicated.

1938: Kodak factory workers get first paid vacations. First female grand jurors serve. Six Rochester men fight for losing Republican side in Spanish Civil War and one is killed- University of Rochester track star John Field.

1941: Last trolley car ends service and is replaced by bus; trolley tracks removed from Four Corners. Statue of Frederick Douglass is moved to Highland Park. After bombing of Pearl Harbor, blackouts are ordered and Cobbs Hill Reservoir is put under guard.

1948: First dial telephones are used by downtown Baker and Hamilton exchanges. Haloid Co. unveils xerographic printer. Lilac replaces aster as official city flower.

1949: WHAM television (now WROC) begins broadcasting with special programs from Chamber of Commerce Building; 61,000 homes are within range of signal by end of 1950. Eastman House, formerly George Eastman’s residence, opens as a museum.

1954: Rochester is test city for new Salk polio vaccine. 22,632 children are inoculated in first week. WHAM television begins color broadcasts and switches from Channel 6 to Channel 5. First luxury apartment building opens on East Ave; rents average $150 a month.

1956: Passenger service ends on subway, part of which is to be replaced by the Eastern Expressway.

1959: First urban renewal project, Baden-Ormond, displaces 850 families and builds new housing for only 256. Work begins on Midtown Plaza, first enclosed downtown shopping mall in the nation. New East High School, costing $13 million opens.

1964: Four die as race riots sweep two sections of Rochester. Work begins on on final link of Inner Loop expressway. Air Force Airman Eugene Richardson is killed in Vietnam, the first Rochester casualty.

1965: City Council officially nicknames Rochester the Flower City. Power fails for four hours as faulty relay in Canadian power station triggers massive blackout through Northeast. Activist group FIGHT (Freedom, Integration, God and Honor, Today) is founded by Saul Alinsky. Katz Brothers Market is last merchant to leave Front Street as demolition crews knock down buildings to make way for Genesee Croosroads urban renewal project. New Liberty Pole, a 200-foot-high stainless steel tower, is built downtown.

1972: New nonpartisan school board kills busing plan and and replaces it with open enrollment plan to promote integration. Bandits get $836,000 in cash from armored car in front of Kodak’s Hawk-Eye Works. 26-story Lincoln first Tower is completed.

1978: National Weather Service issues a severe blizzard warning and city shuts down; blizzard gets lost near Batavia. Picasso’s Flowers in a Vase stolen from Memorial Art Gallery, but recovered. City Hall moves to former federal building at Church and Fitzhugh streets. Bombing death of Salvatore “Sammy G.” Gingello begins war for control of Mafia. Joseph Hogan retires as Catholic bishop.

1980: City School District teachers strike for 10 days. Commerce Building is demolished to clear way for convention center. Laval Wilson becomes first black superintendent of Rochester schools. Demolition begins on 28-year-old Hanover Houses, city’s first low-income housing project. Chamber of Commerce begins “I’d Rather Be in Rochester – It’s Got It” promotion. American Cablevision begins cable service to city.

1982: Ground is broken for new convention center at East Main Street and South Avenue. Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum opens. Kodak introduces disc camera.

1986: More than 4500 jobs cut at Eastman Kodak Co. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, is elected to Congress, defeating incumbent Fred J. Eckert. He announces, ” I will sift through offers. The worst thing that could happen to me is I might become wealthy.” Seven women are arrested for going topless at Cobbs Hill. Later, two of the “Topfree 7” appear on a national talk show.

1988: Eastman Kodak Co. chemicals are found in the ground water near Rand Street. A controversy ensues , though no evidence of a health hazard is found. Work begins on the untangling of the Can of Worms – the intersections of Interstate 490, Interstate 590, and route 590.

1990: Arthur J. Shawcross, 45, is charged in the serial killings of 11 women. And is later sentenced to 250 years in state prison. Sibley’s downtown department store closes. Rochester Police Chief Gordon Urlacher faces embezzlement charges. The Hyatt hotel is no longer stalled as millions of dollars are pumped into the project.

1991: March ice storm leaves 250,000 homes and businesses without power. Can of Worms renovation project is completed. Journalist Terry Anderson, formerly of Batavia, freed after more than six years of captivity in Lebanon.

1993: William A. Johnson Jr. is first African-American to be elected as Rochester’s mayor, replacing Thomas P. Ryan.

1994: Fire destroys 79-year-old carousel at Seabreeze Park. Rochester Tel creates Frontier Corp. McCurdy & Co. closes its department stores. Ground is broken for Frontier Field.

1996: Frontier Field opens to the sounds of the Beach Boys. A day later it becomes the home field for soccer’s Rochester Rhinos. Rochester Red Wings play their last game at Silver Stadium. Renovations of Rochester Community War Memorial begins.

1998: Xerox announces layoffs of 9,000 worldwide. Rochester’s Betty Tyson is freed after 25 years in prison. Judge rules she was wrongly convicted in killing. The 150th anniversary of first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls is celebrated. Bishop Matthew Clark removes Father James Callan from leadership of Corpus Christi Church because of his departures from Roman Catholic teachings.

1999: Kodak to abandon its Elmgrove manufacturing complex in Gates. Layoffs will drop the company’s Rochester work force here to under 24,000, lowest since the 1940s.

2001: Genesee Hospital closes after 114 years. Opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti performs at the Blue Cross Arena. Ticket sales reach nearly $1.1 million. Rochester gets a new area code: Goodbye 716, hello 585. Seventeen people with Rochester-area connections have been reported missing or confirmed dead in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

2005: On Dec. 31, 2005 Kodak employed 14,100 people in Rochester, down from 16,300 the year before. The area’s top employer then became the University of Rochester which had 17,199 staffers, with 14,498 employed full-time. Full-time equivalents totaled 17,339. The Rochester to Toronto Fast Ferry begins services.

2006: Mayor Robert Duffy of the City of Rochester announced that the City of Rochester and Rochester Ferry Company LLC will be discontinuing its operation of the Rochester/Toronto high-speed ferry project.

2012: Kodak files for bankruptcy protection in January.

2013; Kodak exits bankruptcy. The new, smaller Kodak has shed the cameras, film sales and consumer photo developing that made it a household name, focusing on printing technology for corporate customers, touch-screen sensor components for smartphones and computer tablets, and film for the movie industry.

2014: Anthony J. Costello & Son Development LLC has signed an agreement with Costco Wholesale Corp. to locate its first Western New York warehouse this fall at Costello’s CityGate development.