The 49th Annual Landmark Society House and Garden Tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June1-2.
Advance tickets are $20 for members and $28 for nonmembers. On the days of the tour, if not sold out, $35 tickets will be available at tour headquarters St. Mary the Protectress Church Hall, 3176 St. Paul Blvd.
A pre-tour presentation “History and Architecture of the Tour Area” by Christopher Brandt will be held at 7 p.m. May 30 at the Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Ave. The talk is free for ticket holders with tour tickets available at the talk and $5 for non-tour goers.
Participants at this year’s event will tour nine architecturally distinctive sites in West Irondequoit: Winona Woods and on St. Paul Boulevard. Each ticket admits participant to each house or garden one time, on either day in any order.
“This is a Destination House Tour — and you will be amazed at the architectural treasures to celebrate north of Titus Ave.,” said Cindy Boyer, Landmark Society director of public programs. “The area could easily qualify as an official historic district, with the largest collection of significant early 20th century houses in western New York.”
The houses fall into two categories, the grand houses on the Boulevard and the homes on the Winona Woods streets. The tour includes a grandiose Colonial Revival, a Tudor revival designed by Ward Wellington Ward, and a home that hides a “secret” — a speakeasy-style bar room from Prohibition Days.
“The homes on the side streets including entrancing bungalows, plus a ‘storybook style’ house that will have you swearing you’ve been magically transported to Paris,” said Boyer. “Gardens on this tour will be quite enjoyable — with one spectacular sunken garden stealing the show.”
According to Boyer, Irondequoit didn’t start out as a popular residential area. In the early years, the area was home to many small farms, orchards and woodlots which supported early settlers. As late as 1902, most of the land was owned by three farmers: Colt, Grant and Leake.
The change came with the development of St. Paul Boulevard as a toll turnpike and a trolley route. Rochesterians eager to escape the city heat supported the development of “Summerville Boulevard” in 1893 as a popular drive out to the lake. The Rochester and Irondequoit Railroad Co. purchased a 17-foot wide strip to either side of the road and laid down tracks for their electric trolley. Irondequoit took over the roadway in 1910, with the trolley continuing through the 1940s
Efficient transportation to the city drove demand for more housing in the area. By the 1920s, areas along St. Paul Boulevard experienced rapid growth. The original homes on St. Paul Boulevard were followed by more modest but architecturally detailed houses on the side streets.
As the farms and orchards sold their lands, subdivisions were filled almost as quickly as they could be built. Early advertisements from the time period described future streets as “cut through a field of oats” and “picturesque woods” to entice city residents to consider life in the suburbs.
Tickets can be ordered on the Landmark Society website starting May 6. Starting May 14, tickets can be purchased in person from the Landmark Society office or at Parkleigh on the corner of Park Avenue and Goodman Street.
Call (585) 546-7029, ext. 11, for more information.