Northwest Neighborhoods - Dutchtown

Northwest Quadrant - Dutchtown

Dutchtown-aerialVisitors to Rochester’s Dutchtown Neighborhood may expect some historical connection to Holland. However, while it may hold gardens of tulips, the name is actually a mispronunciation of the word “Deutsch,” the language spoken by its early German settlers.

These settlers migrated from Frankfort, Rochester’s earliest settlement along the Genesee River, to streets farther west. They worked the mills in Brown’s Race near High Falls and by the 1840s had built the “Deutschtown”/Dutchtown Neighborhood.

While the majority of the neighborhood housing was made up of small tidy, cottage-sized dwellings, more prosperous residents built two-story houses and even a large mansion or two.

One notable resident was Henry Gold Danforth, a lawyer and legal scholar who edited several law reviews along with serving as a Republican U.S. Congressman (1911-1917). His family’s primary residence was on West Avenue.


Heinie-grohAnother of the neighborhood’s favorite sons was baseball legend Henry “Heinie” Knight Groh (1899-1968), described as “one of the best fielding and hitting third basemen of his generation.” The diminutive Groh played for the New York Giants in the early 1900s and took part in several World Series. He is best remembered for a custom-made baseball bat he used described as having “a distinct resemblance to a milk bottle.”

Over 150 years later, residents continue to take pride in their historic community today bounded by Lyell Avenue on the north, Child Street on the east, Glide Street on the west, and West Avenue to the south.

The Dutchtown Neighborhood Association has been a continual presence in the community. It worked together to create “Caring Park,” a small pocket park at the corner of Sykes and Maple Streets. This quiet spot of green with benches and a patch of amber-colored irises commemorates the life of Rochester City Police Lieutenant Joyce Walsh, who worked with many of the residents on issues of neighborhood safety.

Down the street from Caring Park, residents welcomed nationally known local sculptor Sarah Ferrari Rowley’s art installation in May 2010. The work, entitled “Rochester’s Waterways,” features four panels of stainless steel waves that flow across the Glide Street Bridge between Jay and Maple Streets. Ferrari Rowley’s other piece includes the “Western Gateway Project” that made sound barriers along Rt. 490 a work of art.

 The Dutchtown Neighborhood Association continues to keep its eye on other areas of possibility  --  the former site of the 19th century manufacturing plant, Taylor Instrument on West Avenue and Ames Street — advocating for another green space to this old German neighborhood.