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*Cross Posted by RochesterSubway.com

The interior of Rochester's missing rail station. The main waiting room with high arching windows and ornate ceiling would rival New York's Grand Central Station if it were around today.Lots of news has been brewing lately over the future of Rochester’s beat-up, 32-year-old Amtrak station on Central Avenue.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter recently announced that a $1.5 million federal stimulus grant has been awarded to New York state to plan for a new multi-modal station on the site. A $2.5 million appropriation to pay for the station design is expected to pass Congress next month. And Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has just made it abundantly clearexternal link that New York will take whatever federal money is left on the table by newly elected GOP governors in Ohio and Wisconsin.

So for now, let’s just assume that something very interesting is in the works for our pitiful excuse for a train station. This is the perfect time to take a step back in time—to be inspired by Rochester’s grand old stations…

A view of the first New York Central Railroad station located between Mill Street and Front Street. This station replaced a wooden structure, known as the Auburn Railroad shed, in 1852. It remained open until 1883 when a more modern station was constructed.Train Leaving Auburn Station Rochester NY [PAINTING: Eugene Sintzenich, Oil on Canvas, 1852]Here’s a view of the first New York Central Railroad station located on the west side of the Genesee River, between Mill and Front Streets (shown above) with State Street and the Savoy Hotel in the foreground. This station replaced a wooden structure, known as the Auburn Railroad shed, in 1852. It remained open until 1883 when a more modern station was constructed on the east side of the river. Talk about architecture that inspires… the Auburn railroad SHED was so grand in its day that it was immortalized in this 1852 oil painting by Eugene Sintzenich (shown at right). This 4’x3′ masterpeice is currently located at the Rochester Historical Societyexternal link.

Rochester's second NY Central Railroad Depot. It was the first to occupy the site of the current Amtrak Station between St. Paul and Clinton Avenue (view is looking west from Clinton, 1907).And this was Rochester’s second NY Central Railroad Depot (above). It was the first station to occupy the site of the current Amtrak Station between St. Paul and Clinton Avenue (view is looking west from Clinton, 1907). If you were to ask my opinion on what our new train station should look like—put your pencils down—this is it.

Another view of Rochester's second NY Central Railroad Depot. (looking east from St. Paul Street). This station was built in 1882 for $925,000 after the State paid to elevate the tracks to eliminate grade crossing in the City. It was only the 2nd such elevation in the nation—outside NYC.Another view of Rochester’s second NY Central Railroad Depot. (looking east from St. Paul Street). This station was built in 1882 for $925,000 after the State paid to elevate the tracks to eliminate grade crossing in the City. It was only the 2nd such elevation in the nation—outside NYC.

Rochester's third NY Central Station was designed by Claude Bragdon and opened in 1914 on the site of the current Amtrak Station. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Rooselvelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower were among those who used the station. Many spoke to huge crowds from a dais erected at the intersection of North Clinton and Central Avenues.Rochester’s third NY Central Station was designed by Claude Bragdon and opened in 1914 on the site of the current Amtrak Station. It was certainly the grandest of all of Rochester’s stations. Last year Infrastructurist.com declared it the 7th most beautiful station to fall to the wrecking ball. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Rooselvelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower were among those who used the station. Many spoke to huge crowds from a dais erected at the intersection of North Clinton and Central Avenues. No one really knows why this one was torn down. It was 1965. Someone was high on something.

Erie Railroad Depot. (looking from Court Street Bridge).The station shown above is probably the least known of the bunch. The Erie Railroad Depot. stood between the Genesee River and Exchange Street on the south side of Court St. This shot was taken from the Court Street Bridge. You can clearly read the Erie Railroad sign over the canopy where the trains pulled in from the south.

Erie Railroad Depot. (looking from Exchange Street from the south).Here’s another angle of this gorgeous building with its majestic clock tower as seen from Exchange Street. Today this site is a parking lot opposite the Blue Cross Arena.

Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (looking from Court Street). This is now home of Dinosaur Barbque.And that brings us to the only two survivors. Both now serve Rochester’s tastiest meals. The Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (above) is now home to Dinosaur Barbqueexternal link. The building also sits on top of the south entrance to the Rochester Subway but that’s another story.

Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh Depot. (looking from Main and W. Broad Streets). This is now home of Nick Tahou's Hots.And last but certainly not least, the Buffalo Rochester & Pittsburgh Depot—now Nick Tahou’s Hotsexternal link. This shot was taken from Main and W. Broad Streets. I love that this postcard shows the waiting platform (long gone today) peeking out from behind the building.

In place of the Bragdon Station now stands this uninspiring Amtrak building.So let your history inspire you Rochester. Let’s not build another Amshack. Cause I swear to God I will catch the next train out of town 😉

Visit our Postcard page for some more vintage views of Rochester.

— 2 Comments —

  1. There is a picture someplace that shows the Buff, Roch, Pit station with a covered porch across the Main street facade.
    You can still see the remains of the flashing in the brick.

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