East Avenue and Change in the 20th Century
George Eastman died in 1932 and his mansion was donated to the University of Rochester. However, both the University of Rochester and the Rochester Theological seminary moved to different areas of the city in the 1930's.
The Great Depression had affected many of the residents of the avenue. Mansions began to be vacated or converted for other purposes. The city began to pass new zoning regulations to allow the construction of apartment houses on the avenue in an attempt to increase revenue for taxation. Later, new regulations sought to convert the avenue back to single-family use.
The 1943 East Avenue Plan called for the transformation of East Avenue into a parkway. The construction of the expressway to the south put a stop to this dream, and much of East Avenue then became available for the construction of apartments and other institutions. New modern-style buildings were constructed. However, many of the old mansions were transformed. For example, the Erickson house became the new clubhouse for the Genesee Valley Club, the Pitkin-Powers house became the headquarters for the local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Bissell house became the Rochester Methodist Home.
Street of Museums
In this period, East Avenue also became home to several museums. The Rochester Historical Society had established itself at Woodside around 1940. In 1942 the Rochester Museum of Arts & Sciences (later renamed the Rochester Museum and Science Center) built a new facility at the corner of Goodman Street. The Strasenburgh Planetarium was added to the campus in 1968. The George Eastman House opened as a center for the study of photography in 1949 and is now known as the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The Dryden Theatre was built there in 1951 for the showing of films.
Left, the Dryden Theatre. Right, the Strasenburgh Planetarium
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