Thursday, February 26, 2015

February 26

February 26, 1904: "Rochester's Greatest Fire" Starting before morning in a fuse of an elevator at the Rochester Dry Goods on East Main Street, a fire sweeps through nearly 2 acres of the city. Request for help in battling the blaze was made to Buffalo which sent 26 firemen and Syracuse which sent 30 firemen. The total damage was estimated at over $3 million.

Sources and Further Reading:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Rochester's Worst Winters Storms

Rochester ranks among the top U.S. cities with the most annual snowfall at 92.3 inches, just below our neighbors Syracuse (#1 at 115.6 inches) and Buffalo (93.6 inches).   Rochester's official weather station was established in 1870, but the early settlers recorded several large storms in diaries for decades before that. Below are a list of the worst winter storms in Rochester History. 

Snow Storms (Post-1870)

1. Feb. 28-March 2, 1900: 43.5 inches

2. Feb. 27-March 3, 1984: 32.7 inches

3. Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, 1966: 28.8 inches

4. Feb. 5-7, 1978: 25.8 inches

5. Dec. 8-11, 1981: 25.4 inches

Snow Storms (Pre-1870)
  • Jan. 26-27,1839: 2.5-3.0 feet (diary of Edwin Scrantom)
  • Feb. 15, 1837: 2.5 feet (diary of Edwin Scrantom)
  • Feb. 2-7, 1845: 30 inches
  • Feb. 4-6, 1854: 30 inches

Top Snowfall in a Season: 1959-60 with 161.7 inches

Ice Storms
  • March 3-4, 1991: 1.5 inches of Freezing Rain, over 135,000 Rochester Area homes without power.
  • January 3-5. 1913: Over 1.1 inches of frozen rain.
  •  April 4-5, 2003: About 100,00 homes lost power.

  •  Coldest Day: -22 F on February 9, 1934 (the prior day, February 8 also holds a record for that day at -16 F)

References and Further Reading:
  1. "Top 101 cities with the highest snowfall in year",
  2. Golden Snowball Award 
  3. Rochester History, vol. XXVII, issue , January 1965
  4. "Rochester Historic Snowfalls", Democrat and Chronicle, March 12, 2014
  5. "Storm Up State Continues", New York Times, March 3, 1900
  6. "An Ice Storm Paralyzes Western and Northern New York", New York Times (March 5, 1991)  
  7. Ice Storm of 2003 Left Many Devastated, Democrat and Chronicle, April 5, 2013
  8. "A Meteorological of Ice Storm Impact Variables in the Rochester, N.Y. Area Including a Probability Analysis of Freezing Precipitation Return Periods for Significant Ice Storms", Mroz, Paul J., WOKR Weather Services, August 20, 1991
  9. NOAA Weather Records for Rochester, NY

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Season Food Conservation and Recycling during WWI

1918: Rochester was doing it share to help support the troops during WWI duringvthe Thanksgiving season.  This included recycling fruit pits and nut shells for their carbon for use in gas masks.  The U.S. Food administration also encouraged citizens to eat less on Thanksgiving to conserve food for the troops.

  1.  Simmon's Spice Mill Vol. XLI, No. 1, pp 1353 (1918)

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24

November 24, 1883: Rochesterians, including reporter and amateur astronomer Henry C. Maine, observe the "Red Light" or "Red Sunsets" that have been filling the skies all Autumn.  There is much speculation about the meteorological or astronomical cause of the strange red and oranges glows in the sky that persist after sunset.  The red skies continued for more than two years through 1884 and into the fall of 1885.  Theories about the cause included sunspots and solar disturbances, comets, hurricanes and cyclones, and great lake storms.  The true cause was the August 1883 eruption of  Krakatoa in the Indian Ocean which spewed ash and sulfur dioxide into atmosphere causing global climate changes through 1888.

  1.  History and work of the Warner observatory, Rochester, N.Y. 1883-1886, Volume 1, pp 53-70 (1887)  (source of images)
  2. Wikipedia: 1883 eruption of Krakatoa
  3. Rochester History,v9, issue 1 (1947) 
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Friday, August 23, 2013

List of U.S. Presidents to Visit Rochester

List of U.S. Presidents to Visit Rochester, N.Y.

Visits of sitting presidents and president-elects:

February 18, 1861: President Abraham Lincoln (16) stops to make some brief remarks in Rochester during his inaugural train trip to Washington, D.C. [1], [2]

May 30, 1892: President Benjamin Harrison (23), New York Governor Roswell Flower, and Frederick Douglas give speeches at the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument commemorating civil war veterans in Washington Park, accompanied by a parade of 10,000 people.  The monument includes bronze statues of infantry, cavalry, marine, and artillery soldiers with a central figure of Abraham Lincoln. [9]

October 17, 1936: Franklin D. Roosevelt (32) addresses Rochester area citizens. It was raining. [14] 

May 2, 1940: Franklin D. Roosevelt (32) returns to Rochester.  It rained again. [15]

October 8, 1948: Harry S. Truman (33) visits Rochester. [16]

October 15, 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson (36) attends a political rally in Rochester. [ 17]

June 18, 1971: Richard Nixon (37) discusses taxes, Vietnam, drugs, and race relations in Rochester. [18]

October 31, 1977: Gerald Ford (38) visits Rochester. [19]

October 29, 1980: Jimmy Carter (39) attends a political rally in Rochester. [20]

November 1, 1984: Ronald Regan (40) attends a political rally in Rochester. [21]

May 18, 1989: President George H. W. Bush (41) addresses local teachers at the Wilson Magnet High School and business leaders at Kodak on the issue of education. [10], [11], [12]

May 24, 2005:  President George W. Bush (43) talks about social security in Greece, N,Y. [13]

March 14, 2006: President George W. Bush (43) again visits Rochester, meets local autistic basketball hero Jason McElwain and gives a speech at Canandaigua High School. [7], [8]

August 22, 2013: President Barack Obama (44) stops for lunch in Rochester on Park Avenue while on a bus tour traveling between Buffalo and Syracuse.

Visits of presidents prior or subsequent to holding office:

July 27 - 28, 1843: Former president John Quincy Adams, at the time serving as a congressman from Massachusetts, spends the evening in Rochester dining at the Eagle hotel and touring Mount Hope Cemetery. [22]

November 1, 1960: A week before the election, Vice President Richard Nixon delivers a speech at the Rochester War Memorial Auditorium during his unsuccessful first campaign for the Presidency against John F. Kennedy.  [3]

October 20, 2011: Former President Bill Clinton gives a speech at the University of Rochester Meliora Weekend. [4],[5]

October 19, 2012: Former President Bill Clinton returns to Rochester to attend a political rally at the Riverside Convention Center. [6]


[1] Rochester History (July 1940) v. 2, n. 3, pg 4
[2] Rochester History (July 1943) v. 5, n. 3, pg 17-18
[3] The American Presidency Project: Richard Nixon, University of California, Santa Barbara
[9] History of Rochester and Monroe County, New York (1908); Peck, William F.; page 108
[10] Rochester History (Fall 1989) v. 51, n. 4, pg 13
[22] The Memoirs of John Quincy Adams: comprising portions of his diary. Volume 11, pg 397

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 14

August 14, 1884: The body of Lt. Kislingbury, second in command of the Greely Arctic Expedition, is exhumed from Mount Hope Cemetery to investigate allegations of cannibalism. Kislingbury had been laid in state at Rochester City Hall four days earlier. Inspection of the body revealed that flesh had been stripped from the bone, confirming the rumors.

Sources and Further Reading

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10

August 10, 1889: The westbound Thousand Island Fast Express train on the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad (╩║Hojack╩║ line) collides with a stopped morning commuter train at the Forest Lawn station in Webster, killing two and injuring nine of the passengers and crew.

Sources and Further Reading:
  2.  TO PREVENT RAILROAD ACCIDENTS, New York Times, Oct. 2 1889
  3. The Hojack Line Story, Batzing, Dick, Friends of Webster Trails