Southeast Quadrant - Culver University East (CUE) Neighborhood
The Culver Road/University Avenue/East Avenue (CUE) Neighborhood is a small wedge of land that contains one of the City’s most beautiful residential avenues alongside others more industrial and commercial, and yet its charming character remains intact. Its boundaries stretch north to University Avenue, south to Park Avenue, west to Culver Road (Park Avenue to University Avenue), and east to just beyond Winton Road. The East Avenue Historic Preservation District, with its stately mansions and park-like settings, runs through its center.
The CUE Neighborhood Association was formed in the mid 1980's in response to a proposed “Can of Worms” expansion on I-490. The Association, comprised of merchants and residents, continues to protect East Avenue’s historic ambiance in the face of local commercial impacts.
Margaret’s Garden, a small pocket park at the corner of East Avenue and Winton Road, honors the memory of CUE founder Margaret Dunlay (1922-2004). Volunteers tend to the flourishing flower garden fixed with a huge boulder with a commemorative plaque. A commissioned mural entitled, “The Bounty of the West Wind,” by Krysia Mnick decorates the nearby back wall of a small shopping center. This includes independents Ristorante Lucano, Wong’s Kitchen and Canaltown Coffee Roasters, in addition to national chains like Subway.
CUE meets four times a year at the Rochester Academy of Medicine on East Avenue, the former home of Edmund Lyon, a 19th century philanthropist and inventor of manual symbols used in speech training at the Rochester School for the Deaf.
The CUE centerpiece, East Avenue, once a Native American trail, took shape in the early 19th century. The vision of a tree-lined boulevard of beauty leading away from downtown Rochester, and its very name, was the brainchild of Josiah W. Bissell. He carefully planted a double row of horse chestnut trees from a wooden Liberty Pole downtown to his home on East Avenue and nailed up streets signs along the way.
Settler Oliver Culver built one of the earliest homes at the intersection of East Avenue and present day Culver Road in 1816. According to a historical timeline, “Culver's house was built as a tavern (actual construction was in stages from 1805 to 1818), and is considered to be the 'best example of Post Colonial architecture in the Genesee Valley’ with the entrance said to be one of the most successful designs in the American Colonies.” (The home was moved to East Boulevard some 90 years later.)
Throughout the next century, Rochester’s most beautiful avenue blossomed with mansions of the rich and noteworthy, among them George Eastman and Hiram Sibley, the founder of Western Union.
By 1949, new zoning opened East Avenue to construction of multiple dwellings and trim brick townhouses joined majestic mansions. New York State’s first independent senior living community, The Valley Manor balconied high rise, was built on East Avenue in 1971. The CUE Neighborhood Association’s founder was a resident there. Today, residents of the luxury development hold a very popular annual fundraiser using an area-famous canned Lobster Bisque as bait.
The CUE neighborhood continues to keep a watchful eye on area development. It worked in concert with McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts to ensure landscaping and signage meld with the neighborhood. They currently monitor the expansion of Wegmans Groceries, the chain’s only city-based store, and work with the company to ensure appropriate architecture on its East Avenue façade
On University Avenue, Harris RF Communications maintains a global presence in the communications and information technology field. A favorite dining choice in CUE is Pomodoro Grill & Wine Bar on University Avenue. The Italian restaurant is housed in a former lunchroom of Huther Brothers blade factory, built in 1906 and expanded in 1920. The company remains in another part of the building, still run by the Huther family.
With its safe streets and close accessibility to the art and cultural center of the City, the CUE Neighborhood continues to attract residents happy to share in graceful city living.
If you would like additional information on this neighborhood, please contact the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
320 N Goodman St - Suite 209
Rochester, New York 14607