Southeast Quadrant - Beechwood
The sign reads, “Welcome to Beechwood, Where Roots Grow Deep,” and below, www.beechwood14609.com. This blend of small town pride and 21st century savviness defines the Beechwood Neighborhood. Boundaries reach Bay Street to the north, Atlantic Avenue to the south, Culver Road (CSX Railroad tracks/Atlantic Avenue) to the east and west to North Goodman Street.
Neighborhood homes retain this interesting mix of old and new. Many houses, built between 1900-1930, retain classic architectural elements like American gumwood trim and stained glass windows, while updating interiors to current times and taste.
Beechwood was named for a local post office and the famous Beech-Nut baby food and chewing gum company located on East Main Street. One of Beechwood’s more notable neighbors was Martha Matilda Harper, who emigrated from Canada to work as a domestic servant in Rochester in the late 1800's. Along the way, she began selling a homemade hair tonic that grew so popular that, by the time she died in 1950, she’d created “ the first business format franchising system in the U.S.” Her customers included suffragist Susan B. Anthony and Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson. Another neighborhood story places Babe Ruth playing on a baseball field on Bay Street during a visit to Rochester.
Today, the area is described as a “rainbow community” filled with young families and long-time residents served by a variety of organizations working to improve the community. The Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition holds monthly meetings to discuss crime, housing, youth, neighborhood zoning and other issues that impact the quality of life in the area. The group maintains contact between meetings via a website, Facebook and a blog.
The group worked closely with the City of Rochester and the Rochester City School District on the design of the Thomas P. Ryan, Jr. Community Center, named for a former City Mayor, which opened in 2009 on the corner of Bay Street and Webster Avenue. The Center offers year round programs for children in arts and sports. Adjacent to the Ryan Center is the Sully Branch Public Library and Audubon School #33.
Other community advocates include the non-profit North East Area Development (NEAD) and the Community Place of Greater Rochester, which houses a senior center, counseling center, summer day camp and children's programs.
Established in 1977, Mercy Outreach Center offers access to health and dental care to the uninsured and the underserved along with referral services.
The neighborhood is home to two arts organizations. Formed in 2001, The Dazzle School of Visual & Performing Arts on Webster Avenue promotes dance, music, theater and other artistic endeavors through education and performance. Also on Webster Avenue is The Museum for Kids Art (MoKA), a multi-discipline arts center that motivates area children to gain self-discipline and other skills through the arts.
The area has many established businesses, but one neighborhood favorite attracts visitors from around the city: The Swan Market, “the Best of the Wurst,” a German restaurant on Parsells Avenue that opened in the early 1900's. Diners flock to the restaurant not just for the food, but also for the German musicians who play on special days in the month.
The Beechwood Neighborhood ultimately is eclectic Rochester at its best.
If you would like additional information on this neighborhood, please contact the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
846 S Clinton Avenue
Rochester, NY 14620