Southeast Quadrant - Browncroft Neighborhood
Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens could find ample photo opportunities in the Browncroft neighborhood. Over 400 homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Large houses fronted by sprawling lawns and big trees (blue spruces, red maples, magnolias and beeches, to name just a few) can be found in this historic district. This glorious confluence of residences and landscape design is the long-lasting gift of Charles J. Brown, president of Brown Brothers Nursery Company, and later real estate developer of the area.
The residential neighborhood attracts many of Rochester’s most prominent public figures in politics and government as it has in the past. City Treasurers, Monroe County Sheriffs, County legislators, judges, corporate executives from the James Gleason Family, S.R. Hickok, and the Strasenburghs are just a few of the notables. Beyond the quiet enclave, residents have easy access to the North Winton Road business district with its shops, restaurants, grocery stores, public library and post office.
Today, Browncroft’s boundaries extend north to Elmcroft Road, south to Blossom Road, east to the city line/Town of Brighton and west to North Winton Road. From the 1880's through 1910, the area flourished as the Brown's Nursery site. Browncroft Reality Company homes were woven into the existing ornamental trees.
The neighborhood was annexed from the Town of Brighton in 1914. An article in the Rochester Herald Newspaper in 1926 details the thousands of visitors who drove through Browncroft to view the “Chinese wisteria now in full bloom...planted at the foot of all the lamp standards in this beautiful residential section.” In winter, thousands more came back to view the houses decorated with Christmas lights. At the time, each street held an 8 1/2 foot black iron post with Gothic lettering that spelled out “Browncroft” with street name signs below. Only four posts remain today, at Ramsey Park and Corwin Road, at Windemere Road and Newcastle Road, at Beresford Road and Blossom Road, and Dorchester Street at Gramercy Park.
242 of the 672 households are in the Elm District of the Browncroft neighborhood. While they may not be in the preservation district, they are a vital part of the neighborhood. Some of the Merchants Road homes are included under NYS preservation grants. These homes on Quentin, Merchants, Lanark, Berwick, Elm and Elmcroft are just the right size for a lifetime. The neighborhood is full of teachers, principals, doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, librarians, engineers, local media personalities, and non-profit leaders. The gazebo and rose gardens are both in the Elm District.
The neighborhood Rose Garden, located at Browncroft Blvd and Merchants Road, contains some 300 rose bushes and other flowers that are maintained by surrounding neighbors. The Browncroft Neighborhood also maintains the gazebo at the Winton/Merchants/Elm intersection with the North Winton Village Association.
The Neighborhood remains mostly residential through the committed efforts of the very active Browncroft Neighborhood Association (BNA), who keep in touch via monthly meetings, the Browncroft Crier newsletter, their website, and Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Founded in 1973, the Association sponsors a wealth of year-round events from a summer picnic to a winter gathering buffet and a “Bi-Annual Ultimate Garage Sale”. BNA also holds a Browncroft History Day at the Winton Branch Library, which includes displays and a walking tour.
Members participate in a variety of committees: Zoning, Beautification, Neighborhood Watch and School #46. Charles Carroll Public School #46 is a magnet school that serves grades PreK-6. The campus contains a soccer field, baseball diamond, basketball courts and a playground.
One of BNA’s most forward-thinking committee, “Browncroft-the Home for a Lifetime,” explores aging-in-place options for older residents through a NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) design.
Beyond the attractive real estate, the appeal of the Browncroft neighborhood goes much deeper, as seen in its residents' strong commitment to working together to preserve and protect their very special neighborhood.
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