Neighborhood History

1830 – Culver Road is laid out.

1852 – Park Avenue is laid out. Park Avenue began in the late 1860’s as three separate streets, which explains its erratic course. Park Avenue ran from Alexander to Goodman. Crescent Street, part of the original driving park, ran between Vick Park A and B. Bates Street, named for an early East Avenue resident, ran from Barrington toward Culver Road. By 1875 the three were joined and shortly thereafter the street was renamed Park Avenue.

1865 – James Vick purchased the Union Park property from Joseph Hall in 1866. Along with the track the purchase included Hall’s nurseries. Vick was very successful with his seed farm, but eventually he broke the property into small parcels and sold it for housing. Vick Park A and B were the north-south legs of the track, and the curved section of Park Avenue that connects them (originally Crescent Street) is the southern end of the old race track.

1870 – Harvard Street, though named for a developer’s brother-in-law, was the catalyst for naming some streets in the Park Avenue area after colleges. Harvard Street began at Meigs Street in the early 1870’s and was gradually extended eastward to Culver Road by 1900. 

1874 – City annexes the land east to Culver Road.

1883 – Horse/car lines expanded down Park Avenue.

1905 – Village of Brighton is annexed in 1905 to become part of the City of Rochester. Twenty-first (21st) Ward formed; population 1147; 1910 population 1582.

1906 – The Oliver Culver house is moved from the corner of Culver and East Avenue to East Boulevard by Howard Smith. Eldredge house is moved to Park Avenue as a private school for girls, and the empty lot across from the Chapin House is rebuilt as the Willow Pond.

1910 – Harvard Street developed from Culver Road as far as 873/902 Harvard Street.

1911/1912 – Harvard Street extended to 992/1023 Harvard Street.

1913/1914 – Harvard Street extended to 1054/1035 Harvard Street. 

1915/1916 –  By this time Harvard Street extended to 1063/1092 Harvard Street.

1920’s – Noise and congestion of auto traffic destroy the genteel ambiance of East Avenue. Wealthy residents leave for quieter suburbs to the south and east. 

1921 – Erie Canal abandoned and later drained in 1926.

1927 – Rochester Subway System is completed in December of 1927. 

1943 – East Avenue Association forms to fight the downslide of the area. Zoning changed from D-1 Residential to F-Residential, and a section 260 feet deep on each side of the Avenue from Alexander to Oxford and wider strip from there to Colby became F-Residential. This area was to have single family residences only. Public institutions and churches were allowed. The city offered to take the unwanted properties and convert them into parks.

1945 – Zoning variances allow rooming houses. Additional cars overwhelm limited spaces available.

1949 – State agrees to the construction of an expressway from the new State Thruway into the city along the old subway and canal bed. City planners now drop the idea of East Avenue’s conversion into a parkway. New zoning opens East Avenue to multiple dwellings. They are only restricted in an area one half mile east and west of Culver Road.

1957 – The revised zoning code supports the conversion of large single-family homes to multi-family dwellings. Rochester Subway System is abandoned.

1960’s – Several Neighborhood Associations form in the area, to preserve and upgrade the neighborhood. Most residents are new to the city.

1969 – The East Avenue Preservation District, which includes East Avenue, its side streets, and Park Avenue, is established.

1974 – Housing Court created to speed enforcement of code violations by landlords.

1975 – A new zoning code linked zoning to present use. The area is rediscovered as a popular neighborhood, and there is an increased demand for houses and apartments. Neighborhood newspaper, City East, begins publishing.  Morrison Park is established and Mayor Tom Ryan dedicates the parts planting by the Park-Culver Association.

1985 – The city notified area residents that, due to Can of Worms re-construction and sound barrier project, that they would be losing land and/or property. Prior to in-person visits by City reps, all communication related to re-construction indicated it would only affect properties east of Winton Road. These meetings and many individual meetings with both the state and city resulted in many homeowners losing less property than originally announced.

1986CHAP21 official name given to neighborhood association. CHAP21 stood for Culver/Colby, Harvard, Alphabet (later changed to ABC) and Park.  21 represented the ward.  Nine officers named. Zelda Artson-Crichlow and Bea Slizewski named first co-chairs.

1987Zoning sub-group formed within CHAP21 to focus on zoning issues.

1988The Can of Worms construction project, and the ensuing issues that directly affect our neighborhood, become a focus for the Neighborhood Association.

2000 – Natalie Frame and Mark Ritter named co-chairs of the CHAP21 NA.

2005CHAP21 NA membership grows to over 100 households and effectively works with various members of other neighborhood associations and local government to amend City Noise Ordinance.

2007 – Mark Ritter steps down as co-chair after serving for 7 years.  John Rudy named as co-chair

2008 – Natalie Frame steps down after 8 years of serving as co-chair.  Co-Chair positions changed to President and Vice President.  John Rudy remains on the CHAP21 board as President.

April 2009 – Tom Hasman elected President of CHAP21 NA.

Fall 2009 – The first meetings take place between CHAP21 NA, The City of Rochester and Bruce Zaretsky (a Park Avenue neighbor and landscape architect) to discuss the redesign of Morrison Park.  Bruce Zaretsky volunteers his time to the effort.

December 2009 – Members vote to change name to ABC Streets Neighborhood Association to better reflect our location and create a more meaningful moniker. Morrison Park fundraising efforts begin.  Over $1700 raised by the Association and an additional grant of $1500 awarded to the project by the City of Rochester.

March 2010 – The city kicks off the Morrison Park redesign project by repairing the curbing around the park.

January 2011 – ABC Streets NA Board Member, Marianne Pastecki, appointed to the vacant Vice President’s position.

April 2011 –  ABC Streets NA is awarded a grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation (RACF) for a Welcome Sign to be placed in Morrison Park.

August 2011 – The NA recognizes the fact that many homes had reached their 100th “birthday” and designed plaques to commemorate the event.  Residents were given the opportunity to purchase plaques that were customized with their address and “circa” year.

July 2012 – Thirty seven years after Morrison Park was dedicated, members of the ABC Streets Neighborhood Association came together to revitalize the park with new trees, plants and flowers.  In addition, the traffic box was painted by neighborhood artist Dick Lubey, and a “Welcome” sign and stone garden (complete with flowers) were added at the southwest corner of the park.  The ABC Streets Neighborhood Association re-dedicated of the park on July 13, 2012.

November 2012
– ABC Street Banners were installed on light poles throughout the neighborhood.  This project could not have been completed without the generous and supportive neighbors on every street.

May 2013 – Tom Hasman steps down as ABC Streets NA Board President after serving 4 years.  Susan Glenz is elected President and Dave Burnet is elected Vice President.