The late, lamented Rochester subway:
Most people have no idea that Rochester, NY even had a subway. But from 1927 until 1956, red and cream colored trolley cars and four-car commuter trains rushed thru tunnels beneath downtown Rochester — above ground from the General Motors plant all the way to Elmwood Avenue and Rowlands. Known to most simply as the “Subway,” it was built to ease interurban traffic from the streets of Rochester. It also served as an interchange for the five railroads that entered the city and as a link to interurban lines serving the east and west.
There were several proposals in its final years that would have significantly expanded the line from downtown to Pittsford, Charlotte Beach, and the airport. The Subway was never really meant to die. This map shows how the system might have looked today – had it survived.
A few other details, via Strange Maps:
For much of late 19th and early 20th century, Rochester was among America’s two dozen biggest cities. But not anymore, not by a long shot: the former economic powerhouse by Lake Ontario’s southern shores has slipped to 97th place, and into relative obscurity. At its peak, Rochester had a third of a million inhabitants; now, at just over 200,000, it at least has the consolation to be still the biggest Rochester in the world. It out-sizes all 18 other Rochesters, including the original one (in England, with under 30,000 inhabitants). More importantly, metropolitan Rochester (about 1 million inhabitants) still is the second major economic hub in New York State, after – obviously – New York City.
And has anyone read Smugtown U.S.A.?
Rochester also attracted a significant amount of garment factories, became the centre of copying industry as the headquarters of Xerox and generally was a hub post-world-war-two high-tech – creating a self-confident culture mocked in the novel Smugtown USA (1957).
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