Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #13

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about the Rundel building of the Rochester Public Library. That building houses the Local History and Genealogy Division.

The Rundel Memorial building, South Avenue and Court St. houses the Reynold’s Reference Library and the Rochester Public Library completed in 1936. It is constructed of limestone and designed in a modern interpretation of Italian Renaissance style. Funds for the completion of the building were bequeathed by Morton W. Rundel, (1835 – 1911) who born in Alexander, N. Y., conducted an art store on Rochester for several years and fostered local exhibitions of water colors and oil paintings. In his will he left the city $400,000 for a building to be used as am art gallery and library. The fund increased to nearly a million dollars and was finally made available in 1934. With the addition of a Federal PWA grant of about 200 thousand dollars the building finally was completed in 1936 and houses the central public library.

Old News – Autos

In 1917 there still wasn’t any standard for road signs along highways. Then again most highways were still dirt.

In the ad, a Ford roadster is selling for $360. In 2017 dollars that would be only about $7000.


Thursday, Jan. 11, 1917


In many cities associations are providing a system of warning signs upon the highways and boulevards, designed to advise automobiles of the proximity of schools, hospitals, fire stations and other institutions, where careful driving is necessary. These signs are always placed on the right side of the roadway upon which the cars approach, and about a block distant from various buildings. If for example, a hospital is located upon a corner, the “Hospital—Quiet” signs are placed about a block distant on that institution. The sign proper may be square, round or oval, but usually they are conspicuous by reason of their white background and clear lettering. Sometimes the posts are of wood, painted white, and in other localities the posts are of iron, piping, covered with asphaltum or other rust-resisting paint. It is safe to say that the warning given is rarely disregarded.

Guide: Newspapers

I uploaded a new chapter to the Genealogical Guide on newspapers of Monroe County.


This appears to be the kind of record that has the greatest growth over the last ten years. There are a couple of big websites with Monroe County newspapers. Also see the paragraph on the newspapers that are on Google. They have some newspapers that are not anywhere else.

Online newspapers are scanned and then software has to recognize the text. The accuracy of the final product depends on the condition of the newspaper, That is why sometimes names are nor found when they are actual in the newspaper.

There were two newspapers in German that were published for many years. The Rochester Beobachter is available on microfilm at the Rochester Public Library. That newspaper does not have any vital records. Then the Rochester Volksblatt was published from 1854 to about 1900. The Rochester Library only has one copy and there are only another 12 issues scattered around the country.

Kodak News

Kodak Ektra Camera Phone

Kodak is at CES 2017, the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas this week showing new items.

There is the Kodak Ektra camera/phone that is made by Bullitt Group of the UK. They say that it is a camera with a phone not a smartphone with a camera. That is because the main camera is a 21 megapixel camera. Then there is a front-facing (selfie) camera that is 13 megapixels. There are many automatic modes to get the image you want. In manual mode you can adjust exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed. The camera also takes 4K video. It features 32gb of memory and a microSD card slot. It has been available in Europe since last month and will be for sale in the US and Canada in April. Price $549.00.

Also at CES, Kodak is showing a functioning prototype models of the new Limited Edition Kodak Super 8 movie camera. Visitors can view test footage “demonstrating the camera’s ability to capture 8mm images with incredible quality.” It is supposed to be available in the spring. Not sure why Kodak would think that anyone would want a new movie camera. Most people would rather make digital videos.

At the same booth is the other Kodak; Kodak Alaris. That corporation was created by U.K Kodak Pension Plan in 2013 and they bought the consumer photo division from Eastman Kodak. They sell 35mm film, one time use cameras, kiosks and other related products. for printing digital images. They are bringing back Ektachrome (100 speed) 35mm film that Eastman Kodak stopped selling in 2012. This film format is used to make color slides. It was in the past used mostly by professional photographers. The film should be available by fall.

This web page from Kodak has a video highlighting what Kodak is showing off at CES 2017.


Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #12

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about the house that is known as “Woodside.” It was donated to the Rochester Historical Society in 1941 and they used it until 2008 when they sold the property because they couldn’t afford to maintain the building. It is now a private residence.

The Silas O. Smith home at the corner of Sibley Place and East Avenue, now the home of the Rochester Historical Society and formerly the home of Mrs. Ernest R. Willard, was built in 1841, of red brick. It is the first example of classic revival style in Rochester. A columned entrance porch, surmounted by a second story balcony shelters the wide doorway. From the front vestibule a hall 18 feet wide leads through the house to a rear sun porch. From this hall, a stairwell reaches to the roof cupola with a circular stairway with newel post and balustrade of mahogany. Massive double doors open from the hall into high-ceilinged rooms finished in old ivory. A brass-hooded fireplace, hearthed and mantled with marble, balances each ground floor room by centering the wall opposite the door. The end walls of each room are broken by 3 narrow pilasters supporting on their acanthus capitals the ornamental plaster cornice. Candelabra hang from central floral designs in the ceiling. The interior of the house has remained unaltered through a century. This house is now (1947) open to the public at certain times. The weather vane atop the cupola from the first Monroe County Courthouse.

Sibley’s History

I uploaded a history of the Sibley, Lindsay & Curr department stores. They started in Rochester in 1868. They suffered a big fire in 1904 but they soon started building the big store in downtown that many remember. They were acquired by Associated Dry Goods Corporation in 1957, who started building suburb stores. That company was acquired by the May Department Stores in 1986. In 1990 the store’s names were changed to Kaufmann’s. The May Company was purchased by Federated Department Stores in 2005 and the next year all the stores were renamed Macy’s.

Through all the changes in the last 30 years, the downtown store was closed in the early 1990s. It has been used by Monroe Community College’s city campus but they will be moving in the next couple of years. The current owner of the building is changing it into a mixed use building, which will have some apartments on the upper stories.

Old News – Fire in Brockport

A big fire in Brockport destroyed much of one of the blocks in the Village in early 1917.


Thursday, Jan. 4, 1917


Friday morning about eight o’clock when Joseph Ryan, clerk of the Gordon shoe store opened up for the day he detected a strong odor of smoke. He immediately turned in an alarm of fire. In the meantime, Louis Patrou in the Beuerlain clothing store had also discovered the smoke and traced it to the cellar door, and by the time Mr. Ryan had rushed to the Beuerlain store both sides of the building were fast filling with smoke. Both clerks were able to carry out several record files but by the time the firemen arrived the stores were so filled with smoke that ir was difficult to work. The cellar does not extend to the rear of the building and the only entrance to the basements is by means of trap doors about twenty-five or thirty feet from either end of the stores. It was almost impossible for a fireman without a helmet .to work inside for more than a few minutes let alone attempting to enter the basement

Chemical was poured into the cellars and for a short time it was thought to have quenched the fire but in the meantime the firemen had worked their way rapidly to the rear of both stores on the first floor and Chief Benedict was obliged to order the water turned on about ten minutes after the firemen arrived. There was seven streams of water playing on the flames at times which kept the fire inside. The fire was at no time a spectacular one as no blaze could be seen, but the shelves were charred. In the Richards shoe store goods were damaged by smoke and water and A. C. Dagnar’s new shoe repairing machinery was badly damaged. Records and book were damaged and several trunks and some articles of furniture belonging to Miss Germain and Miss Page were carried out of the building. As this is the second time these people have experienced fires while lived in the Benedict block, they have the sympathy of their many friends as their misfortune.

Mr. Beuerlain was on his way downtown when the fire was discovered and Mr. Gordon was out of town and arrived home at noon. The fire left the Beuerlain stock an almost total lose and Mr. Gordon’s loss lose was a very heavy one. His rubber stock was entirely destroyed and it is stained that it is almost impossible to replace rubber supplies at any price now a days.

It was only about three years ago that the Benedict block was the scene of another fire which apparently started in the same manner.