The 48th annual Landmark Society House and Garden Tour is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 9-10 at nine homes and two sites between Park and East avenues in Rochester.
“If you were an up-and-coming family in the late 19th and early 20th century, between the avenues was the place to live,” said Cindy Boyer, director of public programs for The Landmark Society of Western New York. “The streets connecting Park and East offered the chance to have an address in close proximity to the fine mansions of East Avenue. On this tour, you will get to see how high society lived on East Avenue and the fine craftsmanship of the homes on the connecting streets.”
East Avenue, originally a trail, was widened into a dirt road in 1811. A few farmhouses lined the road that was used as a major stagecoach route. It wasn’t until the 1830s that the first mansions were constructed. On the tour is one estate completed in 1865. Normally only the first floor is toured, but this one includes the second floor as well.
As the 20th century dawned, developers gave streets names that would appeal to those looking to move up in the world, according to Boyer.
“Collegiate names, such as Oxford or Vassar, and British-influenced choices like Westminster, Barrington, Berkeley and Buckingham bestowed an air of sophistication,” she said.
Houses on this tour include an East Avenue mansion, Colonial Revival homes, Victorian cottages and Tudor Revival houses.
“There is even a home in a structure originally built for a very different purpose,” Boyer said. “We challenge you to guess what.”
Participants can tour at their own pace, in any order, and can visit some houses on June 9 and others on June 10. Ticket booklets provide a map, house descriptions and one-time admission to each home. The tour headquarters is at Rochester Regional Joint Board, 750 East Ave.
A pre-tour talk will explore the history, architecture and past residents of the neighborhood at 7 p.m. on June 5 at Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave. The talk is free for ticketholders, $5 for the general public.
Tour tickets are available online and in person at Parkleigh, 215-235 Park Ave., Rochester. Tickets in advance cost $20 for Landmark Society members and $28 for the public, or $35 at the event, if not sold out.
Call (585) 546-7029 or visit landmarksociety.org for information.