Southeast Quadrant - Highland Park Neighborhood
The Highland Park Neighborhood takes pride in its botanical pedigree. Many of its tree-lined streets were once part of world-renowned horticulturists Patrick Barry and George Ellwanger’s nurseries. Over a century later, it’s retained its verdant landscape now graced with a wide array of 19th and 20th century homes that realtors today tout as the easiest city homes to sell.
According to a Highland Park Neighborhood Association (HPNA) historian, “Large portions of the homes built from Linden Street south were developed from 1870-1940 by the Ellwanger and Barry Realty Company. The firm was created specifically to subdivide sections of the former nursery grounds once known as the "Mount Hope Botanical and Pomological Gardens...the company actually referred to it as "The Highland Park Section: The Finest and Healthiest Part of the City.” In 2007, the Ellwanger Barry Neighborhood was formally renamed to link it with the park that makes up its southern border. The Neighborhood’s other boundaries on the north reach the south side of Gregory Street, on the west South Avenue (Gregory Street to Highland Park) and on the east, South Clinton (west side from Gregory Street to Brighton).
HPNA, founded more than 30 years ago, adds to the community’s urban “livability” quotient. It works closely with the Southeast Area Coalition (SEAC), western New York’s oldest Neighborhood Preservation Company. SEAC serves nearly 50,000 people and functions as the umbrella group for over thirty neighborhood, block club and merchant associations. In 2014, SEAC joined with the South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC) and today shares facilities and staff.
The HPNA Association’s mission to support "Community, Education, Business and Safety” within the Neighborhood led to a series of general meetings organized around each of those initiatives, including traffic calming, community heritage and gardening, security and youth services. Most significant was its well-attended meeting on "school choice" where it demonstrated its commitment to encouraging families to consider educational alternatives and to continue to live in the city.
Its reputation as a “family friendly” neighborhood attracts many young families. One street - Mulberry Street - is now affectionately nicknamed “Mulbaby” Street. Planning activities like “Movies for Kids at the Cinema Theater” also helps.
Each month HPNA distributes a monthly newsletter to more than 2,000 households, and weekly E-mail “blasts” alerting residents to upcoming events through their blog, “Buzz, Blast and Blog Neighborhood News and Events. They offer neighbors opportunities like “The Three Hour Team,” which invites busy residents to volunteer in three-hour slots to help plant a garden or deliver the Buzz Newsletter.
The Ellwanger & Barry Park Playground on the corner of Linden and Meigs Streets has grown into a multi-purpose unofficial neighborhood center. Summer play dates (BYOC or bring your own coffee) meet there. Music in the Park concerts and HPNA’s annual Taste of the Neighborhood draw both neighbors and others farther afield.
In September, HPNA will celebrate the installation of a sculpture designed by Craig Wilson, an artist and exhibit designer for the Strong National Museum of Play. The sculpture was funded primarily by the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester with additional support from the City of Rochester and SEAC.
Among the neighborhood landmarks is Peace Lutheran Church, which began as a Sunday School Mission to German immigrants in 1884. In 1886, a white frame structure at the corner of Mount Vernon Avenue and Caroline Street was built, and Friedenskirche (German for Peace Church) became an official congregation in 1890. A larger brick church was constructed in 1928.
Within walking distance of this historical residential Neighborhood are the vibrant commercial districts of the South Wedge and Swillburg with a variety of restaurants, boutiques and pubs.
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