Southeast Neighborhoods - Cobbs Hill

Southeast Quadrant - Cobbs Hill Neighborhood 

Riley-LakeThe Cobbs Hill Neighborhood’s quiet gentility and proximity to recreational and green spaces attracts and retains residents who relish the neighborhood’s expansive 20th century homes on tree-shaded streets.  

Nunda Boulevard is one of Cobb Hill neighborhood’s most inviting streets, featuring a wide grassy mall designed by landscape architect Alling DeForest. The Pittsford native, who worked for a time in the prestigious Landscape Architectural firm of Olmstead Brothers in Massachusetts, is considered one of the foremost landscape architects in the U.S.

Once a farmland within the Town of Brighton, it was annexed by the City in 1914. Today the neighborhood’s western boundary begins at Cobbs Hill, stretches north to Route 490, east to Route 590 and south to the city line and the Town of Brighton.

At its highest point, Cobbs Hill offers panoramic views of the Rochester skyline and contains a city reservoir. J.F. Warner, an architect with the A.J. Warner & CO, designed the reservoir’s columned gatehouse. The company designed most of Rochester’s most prominent architecture: the original City Hall, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Powers Building, among others. At its base, Lake Riley on Culver Road offers picnic pavilions and playgrounds while baseball, softball, soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts offer opportunities for sports.

Cobb's Hill had a less bucolic use during World War II, when it served as a POW camp. During the day, 60 Italian prisoners worked on local farms. As the war progressed, the Italians were allowed to work unguarded and were joined by local citizens at weekend dances. German prisoners followed and they too were popular with local residents who would stand outside the barracks and listen to their impromptu choir sessions. After the war, the barracks were converted to apartments.

Temple Beth ElWashington Grove, a 27-acre sanctuary of undeveloped walking trails, is harbored in Cobbs Hill. The Grove elicits high praise from the Sierra Club who praises “nature’s cathedral” of giant old oaks that attracts hikers and dog walkers.

The neighborhood is also home to Temple Beth El, a congregation that dates back to 1865, when the first Jewish families came to Rochester. Church history recounts Beth Israel as a small “Leopold Street shul” in Rochester. By 1916, a new synagogue was opened at the corner of Meigs Street and Park Avenue. In 1963, a new Temple Beth El on Winton Road was designed by architect Percival Goodman, an advocate for modern architecture in constructing religious buildings.

First Unitarian ChurchAcross the street, South Winton’s First Unitarian Church is a complementary structure to Temple Beth El. The church, designed by world-renowned architect Louis Kahn, was named “one of the greatest religious structures of the 20th century" by Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic Paul Goldberger.  

The former Martin B. Anderson School #1, named after the University of Rochester’s first president, was located on the north side of Cobbs Hill on Hillside Drive. It teaches students in PreK through 6th grade.  It is now RCSD School #15.

Cobb Hills neighborhood residents have easy access by foot or car to many stores and restaurants in several nearby shopping districts: Monroe, East and Park Avenues, in addition to the Town of Brighton's Twelve Corners.

Additional Information

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
(585) 428-7640