Southeast Quadrant - Culver Merchants Neighborhood
Culver-Merchants neighborhood homes may have been built, for the most part, only a century ago, but area streets date back many years earlier as trails for Native Americans, European explorers and settlers. Nearby Ellison Park was the site of Native American and French collaboration in the 1700's and was a place where travelers beached their canoes before following the Portage Trail to the Genesee River. Others traversed the Seneca Trail to native villages farther south. Later, commercial ships brought goods to Irondequoit Bay to be carried overland on what is today’s Merchants Road.
Two hundred years later, the triangular-shaped Culver-Merchants Neighborhood remains a busy retail area where businesses set up shop and stay within boundaries that extend south to East Main Street, north to Culver Parkway, west to Culver Road and east to Merchants Road.
Johnny’s Irish Pub opened in 1997 as Rochester’s first “smoke-free” bar in an old building on Culver Road, complete with a tin ceiling. As a music venue, it is most well known for its monthly Traditional Irish Music sessions where musicians of all ages come to play on Uilleann pipes and Bodhran drums and tin whistles. Carroll’s Irish Bar and Restaurant, housed in a small white house on E. Main Street, is another neighborhood mainstay, serving up corned beef sandwiches with its pints of stout.
A year later in 1998, James Brown’s Place, whose motto is, “If You Could Cook Like This At Home, You Wouldn't Need To Eat Here,” opened on Culver Road. The restaurant’s diner fare continues to attract foodies from around the region who wait in line for its breakfast specials. A more recent arrival, The Merchants Grill, is a homey neighborhood favorite that promotes a “Cheers vibe” and encourages locals to sign up for the Grill-sponsored sports teams.
The Culver-Merchant neighborhood also includes East High School on East Main Street. The school originally opened in 1902 in an Alexander Street building designed by 19th century notable Rochester architect J. Foster Warner. Its most recent location includes both junior and high school students who study in a variety of academics that focus on Business Management and Finance, Art and Communication among others.
Neighborhood churches include the Memorial Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Greater Love Temple Church of God on Merchants Road, and St. Mark and St. John’s Episcopal Church on Culver Road.
The North East Area Development Inc. is a non-profit neighborhood organization that works with the neighborhood on quality of life issues along with business and housing development and other community-building activities. It also offers an emergency residential repair program and a tool library. The area Merchants Business Association also works to promote today’s business community with a long retail history.
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