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About the Mitigation Photos

Early History of the Area

Planning the First Wegmans

Planning the New Store



View the Collection

What Used to Be There?: Tracing the Address Numbers  through The Years



About the Mitigation Photos

The photograph in the middle (above) is one in a series of pictures taken by Andy Olenick to document buildings in the East Avenue/Winton Road area destined to be torn down for the construction of a new Wegmans Food Markets grocery store. These pictures were taken in April 2011. Archival black and white versions of these photos are being stored in the Rochester Public Library Local History Division's Picture File Collection.

When a construction project is planned, photographs and other tools are used to assess and
document the various stages of demolition and building. This is done in order to help mitigate any risks or potential problems that may impede the project. This information also happens to be helpful to historical researchers and local historians, who need to document and understand the past.

In the case of this one city block, over the past almost 200 years there have been many changes which have been documented through articles, books, records, maps and photographs.


Early History of the Area From Brighton Center to Brighton Village

The area began its commercial life as a small hamlet in the Town of Brighton named "Brighton Center" or "East Brighton." In Landmarks of Monroe County, New York, William F. Peck gave a brief description of the hamlet:

"Brighton village, or as otherwise known, East Brighton, is the larger and of first importance among the municipalities now existing in the town. Its location is in the northeast part of the town, on the line of the Erie canal, and also on the New York Central railroad; and to the presence of these great thoroughfares of travel and transportation it owes its prosperity, if not its very existence. The pioneer on the village site was Thomas Blossom, whose dwelling stood near the southeast corner. In 1820 Israel Blossom opened a public house, which was burned in 1867, the year in which the church was destroyed. It is said that a store was established here in 1816, but it is known that William Perrin had a store open in 1818. Justus Yale built a store in 1823, where now stands the Caley & Nash carriage shop, and about the same time Linus Wilcox also opened a tavern. Ira West was an early storekeeper, and also proprietor of a distillery in this near vicinity. The post-office was established in 1817, Dr. James Holden, postmaster. He was succeeded by Benjamin Blossom, the latter holding office thirty years. The first mails were brought on horseback from Canandaigua." - From Peck, William F., Landmarks of Monroe County, New York, 1895 (page 243)

According to a Rochester History article by City Historian Blake McKelvey,
Volume 33 Nos. 2 & 3, in the 1830s East Avenue to the east of Brighton Village was traversed by stage coaches heading to Rochester. Occasionally passengers would get off the coaches and embark on canal boats at Brighton to make the journey the rest of the way into the city.

1858 1872


Early History of the Area From Village to City Commercial Hub

In 1885, the hamlet became incorporated as a village in the Town of Brighton. As the village grew so did its neighbor to the west, the City of Rochester. The city's East Avenue residential area was expanding to the east at the same time commercial and residential growth occurred in the village, which included houses, a school, a fire house, four hotels and various stores. The people of the village were served by streetcar line and the New York Central Railroad. The roadway was given a macadam surface in 1899, and traffic increased.

Many factors conspired to result in the annexation of this area to the city in 1905. One of the best accounts of the annexation can be found in Rochester History, Volume 35, No. 1, written by Joseph Barnes. After annexation, the city invested in infrastructure (including a new fire station, Hose Co. No. 19), and new businesses joined old ones.

1902 1918


Planning the First Wegmans on East Avenue

According to an article in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle dated November 15, 1949, Wegmans (an established local food store chain) had been purchasing land since around 1946 in preparation for building a supermarket at this location. At that time, plans were to begin construction the following spring. However, the store did not open until October, 1962.

Just to the east of this block, many changes were in store with the construction of the I-490 and I-590 highway system and interchange. Many buildings to the east and south of the East Avenue/Winton Road intersection were torn down to make way for the highways. The chaotic highway interchanges that resulted became known as the "Can of Worms." The "Can" was eventually reconstructed to become more user-friendly.
1949 Newspaper Clipping
Map of Can of Worms area 1972 June 15
Photo provided by Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.


Planning the New Store

An article in the March 24, 2001 Democrat & Chronicle mentions that "Wegmans Food Markets Inc. has purchased three parcels of land adjacent to its East Avenue store, but the company says it has no plans to expand the supermarket, one of the smallest in its 60-store chain." Later in the article, Ralph Uttaro, Wegmans' director of development, explains that the company has a long-range strategy to control whatever is next to a store in case it decides to expand at some future point. The properties purchased around that time included those located between 1776 and 1804 East Avenue, housing Eastside Gymnastics, Jacqueline's Suburban Fashions & Bridal and the East Avenue Gift Shop.

Shortly afterwards, the local neighborhood association scheduled a design charette with Wegmans representatives to address neighborhood concerns. In planning a project of this scale, the City of Rochester, local residents and company representatives work together to plan the best possible outcome for all concerned. When Wegmans purchased the M & T Bank property on East Avenue in 2009 and announced plans to demolish their East Avenue store and replace it with a larger structure, necessitating the demolition of other structures on the street, the planning began to bear fruit. As part of this process, Andy Olenick photographed the existing buildings.

Google Earth Image taken  April 29, 2005, showing most buildings still standing
Google Earth Image taken May 9, 2011, showing that the buildings to the east are now gone

The Collection

Photo Key
Click a number to see the corresponding photo
1 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 10
Photo Collection
Click each image to read more
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20
21 22 23  


The original store closed for good in February, 2013 in preparation for its demolition. The new store was already in the process of being built and scheduled to open in May, 2013. Here are photos taken in March, 2013 that show the old and new buildings as they briefly co-exist.




Rochester Democrat & Chronicle [Rochester, N.Y.]:

"Wegman's buys half acre of land," November 14, 1949.

Bilovsky, Frank, "Wegmans buys East Ave. lots next to store," March 24, 2001.

Liu, Lara Becker, "Eastside neighbors get head start on Wegmans," October 30 2001.

Tobin, Tom, "Wegmans plans to build around East Ave. hold out," August 2, 2009.

Rochester History journal:

Barnes, Joseph C., "The Annexation of Brighton Village," Rochester History, Volume 35, No. 1, January 1973.

McKelvey, Blake, "East Avenue's Turbulent History," Rochester History, Volume 33, Nos. 2 & 3, April and July, 1966.


William F. Peck, Landmarks of Monroe County, New York, Boston : Boston History Co., 1895.

Rochester City Directories: available at the Local History Division and online at Rochester City Directories

Maps and atlases:

Beers, F. W. (Frederick W.). Atlas of Monroe Co., New York: From Actual Surveys by and under the Direction of F. W. Beers. New York: F. W. Beers & Co., 1872.

Brown, P. J., Gillette's map of Monroe Co., New York, 1858.

Hopkins, Griffith Morgan. Plat Book of the City of Rochester, New York: From Official Records, Private Plans and Actual Surveys. Philadelphia: G. M. Hopkins Co., 1918.

Hopkins, Griffith Morgan. Plat Book of the City of Rochester, New York: From Official Records, Private Plans and Actual Surveys. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: G. M. Hopkins Co.,1935.

Plat Book of Monroe County, New York. Philadelphia: J. M. Lathrop & Co., 1902.


Google Earth, V. 7, Rochester, N.Y., May 29, 2005, 43 08'43. 69"N 7733"22.57" W eye alt 1362 feet
Digital Globe, 2013, http://www.google.com/earth/index.html [March 5, 2013]

Google Earth, V. 7, Rochester, N.Y., May 9, 2011, 43 08'43. 69"N 7733"22.57" W eye alt 1362 feet
Digital Globe, 2013, http://www.google.com/earth/index.html [March 5, 2013]

Rochester Images database

Also, thanks to Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. for the photo of the original Wegmans store and for information provided.


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