News Release - Historic Rochester Painting Goes on View at City Hall

City of Rochester

News Release

Click image to view a gallery of
the mural restoration project
Col. Rochester Welcomed Home After 80 Year Absence

(Monday, Aug. 29, 2011) — The first of nine mural-sized historic Rochester paintings, known as the Holloran Murals, stored unseen for over 80 years, is now on public view in the front lobby of City Hall, 30 Church St.

This circa 1914 cultural treasure, Col. Rochester’s Arrival in the Genesee Valley, painted by noted artist Carl Raschen, will be on long-term loan from the Rochester Historical Society to the City. The painting is an imagined portrayal of Col. Rochester’s arrival on horseback to this area, yet but a frontier land, which took place in 1800.

“This mural affords us an opportunity to reflect on our rich heritage,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “By preserving our past, we have a touchstone as we move forward with growing Rochester’s legacy. It is important to ensure that these murals are appreciated both today and by future generations.”

The large painting (5.35’ by 16.25’) has undergone meticulous restoration and conservation and was funded with a $33,000 grant from the City to the Rochester Historical Society. The Society is seeking to secure corporate, private and community funding to restore the remaining circa 1910 murals. The murals, approximately five feet high and from 11 to 25 feet wide, convey early historical scenes of the development of Rochester from stage coach days through pioneer railroading and the construction of the Erie Canal to the pre-Civil War period.

The murals have been stored at the Society in several locations since 1929 and, over time, suffered significant – though not irreparable – damage.

“We are thrilled that the City has recognized the historical importance and artistic excellence of these paintings,” said Meredith Keller, executive director of the Rochester Historical Society. “We are encouraged that this grant will provide the impetus for others to step forward to ‘adopt’ the remainder of the paintings.” Those interested may contact Ms. Keller at 428-8470.

The Rochester Historical Society engaged West Lake Conservators, located near Syracuse, New York, to examine, restore, conserve and eventually install the painting. The restoration included: reweaving areas that had canvas loss; mounting the canvas onto a semi-rigid woven fabric enabling the paintings to be rolled for travel and storage; cleaning; filling and in-painting paint losses; and the application of a final protective varnish layer. Individuals may view photographs of the project on the City’s website at

West Lake Conservators, founded in 1975, is a nationally recognized firm specializing in the preservation and restoration of historic and artistic works including conservation of paintings, frames, murals, textiles, paper and photographic materials.

Joseph C. Holloran, an early member of the Historical Society, gave the murals to the Society in 1927. The murals were on view for nearly 20 years on the walls of the Cafe DeLuxe which Holloran owned at 113 East Main St. Their presence in the Café made it “one of the most unusual restaurants in Western New York,” according to the October 6, 1926, Rochester Evening Journal. Prohibition forced its closure.

The titles of the remaining eight paintings are:

•Gov. Clinton’s Visit to Rochester,1825 by Edward S. Siebert
•The Meadow at Genesee Valley Park by Seth C. Jones
•Along the Old Feeder by C. Rudolph Theuerkauff
•Lower Genesee Falls by John J. Inglis
•Main Street Bridge from Andrews Street by Edward S. Siebert
•Genesee Gorge from Lower Maplewood by Harold Bishop
•The Aqueduct by John J. Inglis
•Atlantic Dugway by C. Rudolph Theuerkauff

Each of these artists held several artistic credits to their name; each was, or became, well-known; some were members of the Rochester Art Club; several taught at the Mechanics Institute, now the Rochester Institute of Technology; most became listed artists and were the teachers of the next generation of noteworthy Rochester painters.

The Rochester Historical Society will next seek sponsorship for Main Street Bridge from Andrews Street, now on display at the Historical Society Museum on the second floor of the Rundel Memorial Building, 115 South Ave., and open to the public Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Artist Edward S. Siebert also painted portraits of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Watson (Populist Party candidate for President) and Thundercloud, the famous Blackfoot Indian Chief whose profile appears on the five cent Buffalo coin.

The public may view the Col. Rochester painting during City Hall hours, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


News Media: For more information, contact Alinda Drury at 428-6140.