Southwest Quadrant - Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood
The Upper Mount Hope neighborhood was once called the “Strong Neighborhood," its nickname—“the white coat district” - for its plethora of doctors and medical students from the University of Rochester Medical Center. Residents could walk to work from small, snug houses built primarily during the 1920s and 1950s on formerly rural, wooded land. One half century later, the residential streets continue to exude the tempo of a small college town, albeit one surrounded by busy thoroughfares. Its boundaries extend to Elmwood Avenue on the north and Westfall Road on the south, city line/The Village of Brighton on the east and the Genesee River on the west.
Green space still abounds: Mark’s Park, on Westmoreland Drive along the historic Erie Canal, Eastmoreland Park and the Playground on Eastmoreland Drive. Highland Park’s urban arboretum and Frederick Law Olmstead's designed Genesee Valley Park, along with the Erie Canal Trail, afford leisure activities within walking distance.
Currently, residents are witnessing an exciting revitalization of their neighborhood. The new College Town-Village District project turns a stretch of the Avenue into a destination not just for University of Rochester students, but for the entire city. Nearby West Henrietta Road and South Avenue have also received curb, sidewalk and roadway improvements. This new corridor of commerce, from Elmwood Avenue to Rossiter Road, includes pedestrian-friendly streetscape, off-street parking, restaurants and shops underneath new decorative “tear drop” style streetlights. In summer 2010, Chipotle Mexican Grill was the first new store to join the scene and more are on the way.
A very active Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association (UMHN) has been engaged throughout the College Town planning. Founded in 1994 in response to development concerns and a desire for greater communication with the University of Rochester, the Association has some 28 “neighborhood representatives” who share interests and concerns among the greater membership.
UMHN offers events that benefit the entire community - whether it’s an Erie Canal Trail Clean Sweep or the annual UMHN National Night Out at Eastmoreland Park where residents enjoy free ice cream, entertainment and community. UMHN Committees include “Gardening, Safety, Dog Walking, Children’s Activity, Canal Path, Newsletter, and Parking.”
Committee Project Hope worked with the Mary Cariola Children’s Center students in creating drawings that expressed “hope.” From the drawings, steel silhouettes were created by artist Achille Forgione and Larry Warner of GM Welding through a grant from The Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Council, the City of Rochester and M&T Bank. The artwork now graces utility poles along Mount Hope Avenue.
Its quarterly newsletter, “Neighborhood View,” once delivered to 900 homes, is now sent via email. In addition, their website, Facebook page and Google group keeps the neighborhood electronically connected.
The Mount Hope Business Association is also a vital partner in the community, representing some 50 businesses including Mt. Hope Service Center Corporation, with 40 years on the avenue. Another member, Rowe Photo and Video, has an even longer history. Rowe opened Rochester’s first photography store in 1898. Run by the same family, the business moved to Mt. Hope Avenue in 1969.
The South Presbyterian Church, at 4 East Henrietta Road, began as a one-room Sunday school when the area was West Brighton. By 1895, a larger building was constructed and has been remodeled throughout the 20th century. It is also home to the Ellwanger Barry Nursery School, a cooperative nursery school, that opened in 1974.
St. Anne’s Catholic Church, founded in 1930, in 2008 joined in partnership with Our Lady of Lourdes, a Brighton church, founded in 1928, on Mount Hope Avenue.
Today The Upper Mount Hope neighborhood remains a center for health care within a vibrant, diverse neighborhood. The Ronald McDonald House on Westmoreland Road, a 20-bedroom facility, houses families visiting their hospitalized children. The Al Sigel Center’s two campuses focus on developmental skill building for people with special needs. In addition, Mary Cariola Children’s Center, founded in 1949, works with children with disabilities.
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