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75+ Reasons to Celebrate 75 Years: Corn Hill & Genesee Landmarks Foundation

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To help us celebrate 75 years of service to western New York, we put together 75+ Reasons to Celebrate The Landmark Society’s 75 Years, a publication that highlights just some of the preservation and revitalization successes the organization has helped achieve since 1937. (Thank you to former Landmark Society trustee, Richard Reisem, for researching and writing this impressive collection of achievements.) Over the next year we’ll be featuring some of those 75+ reasons in greater depth.

With the wildly successful Corn Hill Arts Festival coming up on July 7 & 8, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the neighborhood’s early revitalization efforts. The work that The Landmark Society and many residents undertook in the 1960s and 70s to save historic homes and turn the neighborhood around laid the groundwork for the successful neighborhood you see today.


1965 Forms Genesee Landmarks Foundation to restore historic houses in Third Ward.

The Landmark Society formed a subsidiary organization called Genesee Landmarks Foundation to acquire, rehabilitate, and market historic houses in what was then known as the Third Ward (now Corn Hill). This was a project to demonstrate the feasibility of rehabilitating the impressive collection of historic houses in the Third Ward after the area was abandoned by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which placed dozens of historic buildings that had been owned or associated with the college in jeopardy in a deteriorating neighborhood. Some brave Landmark Society trustees, like Sally Rial and Bill Chapin, as well as other visionary neighborhood residents bought collapsing houses, restoring them to sparkling, handsome examples to the community. The Landmark Society itself bought, restored, and sold nine properties during the 1960s. The enormous success of Genesee Landmarks Foundation is evident in the vibrant, livable community today.

11 Greenwood, 40 Atkinson, and 42 Atkinson are three examples of houses that the Genesee Landmarks Foundation acquired, rehabbed, and sold to new owners. Today, these houses are a critical part of the neighborhood’s streetscape, contributing to Corn Hill’s character, appeal, history, and economic value.

11 Greenwood – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.
42 Atkinson – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.
40 Atkinson – One of the nine properties that The Landmark Society’s Genesee Landmarks Foundation rehabbed and sold.

The property pictured below, 96 Adams, was one of many houses that ultimately were not saved from demolition.

This newspaper clipping from 1968 reflects the urban renewal approach to city planning that most American cities adopted during the post-World War II era.

In addition to efforts by The Landmark Society to rehabilitate and find new owners for existing homes, other at-risk properties were moved into the neighborhood to fill some of the vacant lots. The vernacular Greek Revival cottage that today sits at 102 Adams St., was moved from 101 Edinburgh in 1977, replacing the original 102 Adams that you see below.

This is the original 102 Adams, likely demolished around 1969.
This is the house that currently sits at 102 Adams, moved from 101 Edinburgh in 1977.

And here is 102 Adams as it stands today–a thriving part of the Corn Hill neighborhood.

Visit our 75th Anniversary page to learn more about the exciting events taking place throughout the year as well new initiatives that we’ll be launching.

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75+ Reasons to Celebrate 75 Years: Corn Hill & Genesee Landmarks Foundation

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