Great Homes of Rochester

Charlotte Whitney Allen House from the episode "A House of Steele and Ice"

Charlotte Whitney Allen was rich, bright, independent, a lover of good talk and of even better friends. The Oliver Street home built for her as a wedding present far outlasted the marriage. Through it into the garden came a steady stream of interesting people, most often at the stroke of 4 every afternoon, the time Charlotte dubbed The Chilled Glass Hour. The house and the garden reflected Whitney Allen’s personality. The garden, designed by world famous landscape architect Fletcher Steele, had everything except what Charlotte loathed: namely, flowers. House and garden survive today in the hands of someone keenly aware of its interesting legacy.


The "Mushroom" House from the episode "The Mushroom House that isn’t"

Sometimes compared to an alien spaceship, the misnamed Mushroom House in Powdermill Park remains a national landmark. And the innovative spirit that gave rise to it in the 1970s continues through new and remarkable renovations in the early part of the 21st century.


Strong-Tood House from the episode "The best investment of buggy whip money"

Henry Strong took a room at a boarding house after his home burned down. Already well to do from his buggy whip factory, he nonetheless took an interest an idea posed by the son of his landlady. Strong’s 19th century venture capitalism helped get a little business called Eastman Kodak off the ground.


Hartford House and The Homestead from the episode "Rochester’s Royalty"

The family was among the first Europeans in the Genesee Valley. It has since generated two generals, a senator, a congressman, and an ambassador. All of that is still evident in the two very different estates that bracket Geneseo, two magnificent mansions still owned by the Wadsworths.


Sibley Watson Library from the episode "Rochester’s Renaissance Man"

He was, by turns, the visionary publisher who introduced T.S. Eliot to America, the groundbreaking medical researcher whose work still resonates today, avant- garde movie maker, wealthy patron of the arts, and silent recluse. James Sibley Watson remains one of the great untold stories of the Flower City as is what’s left of the family’s huge estate: a pretty, band-box of a building that seems plucked from Florence or Rome.


Sibley Mansion from the episode "Buy Alaska. Stop. Great Investment."

Hiram Sibley could have stayed in his early career as Monroe County Sheriff but his mind was working on a far different problem: how to unite the many small, often warring telegraph companies. He bought one, then another and soon there was Western Union. And in the course of trying to tie in Europe and Russia, Sibley saw what he thought was an even better investment. He told his good friend, the Secretary of State about it. That’s why his friend got the scorn for what some called Seward’s Folly, Alaska.

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