Browncroft has no "designated" landmarks, but application has been made to have the eight and a half foot wrought iron street markers declared landmarks. C.J. Brown placed these decorative posts to support street signs on corners throughout the subdivision. The two remaining ones are at the corners of Ramsey Park and Corwin Road and Windemere Road and Newcastle Road.
Churches have played an active part in the community beginning with the Brighton Reformed Church in 1891. Some notes on their history are in Appendix II.
The businesses in our area were located along Winton Road.
One of the earliest businesses was Hoster’s Hotel, a wood frame building that formerly stood at the northeast corner of Winton Road and Atlantic Avenue. Mrs. Albert Westfield recalls the cracker barrel in the grocery store there around 1905. Elva Hallings remembers the pies sold there. "There was a horse through right outside on Atlantic Avenue", according to John J. Gery. After Minnie Hoster married Charles Spies it became Spies Hotel and was used later as a meeting hall and Sunday school. (17)
Some farm homes of the late nineteenth century still exist in the area. The farms of Frank Morrill and Edwin Terrell on Blossom Road are gone but Abraham DePotter’s farmhouse at the northwest corner of Croydon Road and Blossom Road still stands although extensively changed.
Beers 1872 Atlas shows that two homes of Moses Smith are 669 Winton Road and 67 Merchants Road (adjacent to the Rose Garden).Though these houses have been altered throughout the years, they are still at their original locations.
The house at 273 Dorchester Road (near Croydon), according to the late Miss Elva Hallings who lived there for many years with her parents, was originally a tenant house. Around 1910 the Browns moved it from a location near Dorchester Road and Ramsey Park. They added some of the pillars from the original Brown Brothers Company office when that building was taken down.
C.J. Brown renovated and enlarged his home at the southeast corner of Corwin Road and Winton Road. It evolved from a private residence onto the nursery office. (18) Later it was a nursing home and now it is an apartment building. The Italiante features of the original structure can still be discerned in this house which is listed in the 1872 Atlas as being owned by Steven Corwin.
The quality of architecture of many residences in the neighborhood reflect the affluence and tastes of the prominent businessmen who built them in the 1920’s. Names of well-known residents included Anderson (bottling), Bausch, Gleason, Hickok, Martin (Hungerford-Smith), Morley (Morley Tools), Olney (Birdseye), Strasenburgh, and Wehle (Genesee Brewing). The style of the neighborhood architecture was influenced by C.J. Brown but also must have been influenced by the firm of Gordon and Kaelber which was responsible for designing at least 20 homes in the area. (See Appendix III for a listing.)
The original dreams of the Browns and the other nurserymen of the area have been fulfilled by the nurturing of its trees, shrubs, and flowers - our living landmarks. There are monumental beeches - split leaf and copper - as well as clumps of Austrian pines. Magnolias in abundance grace two streets. Many residential yards have dogwoods and rhododendrons left from the nursery era. Lilacs spirea, and wisteria enhance the area between the sidewalk and the pavement along many streets.
This legacy of landscaping as well as the stately homes indeed make the Browncroft area a beautiful section of a beautiful city.
1. Margaret MacNab, The Sesquicentennial History of the Town of Brighton.
2. Margaret MacNab, Katherine Wilcox Thompson & Shirley Cox Husted, Northfield on the Genesee, (Rochester, New York, 1981).
3. Dorothy Baschnagle, interviewed by Holly Petsos in Rochester, New York, 1984.
4. Patricia Brown Kaul, interviewed by BNA History Committee in Rochester, New York, January 12, 1984.
5. Mrs. Harold Phelps, interviewed by Sharon Bloemendaal in Rochester, New York, February, 1984.
6. Brown Brothers Co. Continental Nursery, A plate book used by salesmen or agents, circa 1905.
7. Kaul, op.cit.
8. Carl Kaelber, Information from the architectural files of Gordon and Kaelber, March 1984.
9. John C. O’Brien, interviewed by BNA History Committee in Rochester, New York, August, 1983.
10. Browncroft Realty Corporation, Extension Brochure, circa 1926.
11. Kaul, op.cit.
12. O’Brien, op.cit.
13. Kaul, op.cit.
14. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, December 25, 1923.
15. Extension Brochure, op.cit.
16. O’Brien, op.cit.
17. "Church Extension Society Gets Option on Former Saloon Property", The Rochester Herald, Sunday, January 18, 1920.
18. Kaul, op.cit.
* Barnes, Joseph, "The Annexation of Brighton Village", Rochester History, Vol. XXXV, January, 1973, pp. 1-23
* Beers, Atlas, 1872.
* Browncroft Realty Corporation, Extension Brochure, circa 1926.
* Democrat and Chronicle, December 25, 1923.
* MacNab, Margaret S., "The Sesquicentennial History of the Town of Brighton".
* MacNab, Margaret S., Thompson, Katherine Wilcox, & Husted, Shirley Cox, "Northfield on the Genesee; The Story of a Frontier Town of Monroe County, New York", Monroe County Historian’s Office, County of Monroe, Rochester, New York, 1981.
* Monroe County Clerk’s Office, Land Records, Rochester, New York