Southeast Quadrant - Wadsworth Square Neighborhood

Southeast Quadrant – Wadsworth Square Neighborhood

Wadsworth Square is a small neighborhood directly northwest of I-490; a triangle bounded by Howell Street and South Union, encompassing Broadway, Griffith, Marshall, Pearl and Denning, crossing Monroe Ave to include Jordan Alley, Ballou Place and Savannah Street. Wadsworth Square Park is the neighborhood green space, directly south of what is currently the Inner Loop, from where you can see the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at Strong Museum. Adjacent to Wadsworth Square Park’s green space, there is a playground and picnic area. There is municipal parking on the far side of the park (off Marshall Street) that is free and available to neighborhood residents and business patrons after 6:00pm and weekends.

Historically insulated both from downtown and other neighborhoods by the inner loop, Union Street, and Monroe Avenue, the Wadsworth Square area seems at first to have been transported from an earlier time. While a closer inspection revels an eclectic mix of housing styles, periods and sizes, the impression of historical unity is supported by the high concentration of older homes built before 1900 (76%) on shaded streets around a landscaped green. Almost all structures in the neighborhood have been rated historically significant and 65% of all those surveyed by the Landmark Society were judged to be "Superior" or "above average" in importance. Many have already been and continue to be charmingly restored and improved. With the current Inner Loop project underway, Wadsworth Square is ready to re-connect with the Center City, and provide a charming gateway to all that Rochester has to offer.

The Wadsworth Square Neighborhood Association welcomes participation from residents, home owners, property owners, and business owners, and has fostered a strong sense of community among these neighbors. Currently meeting on the third Saturday of the month at the Marshall Street Bar and Grill, the Association plans participation in Clean Sweep, neighborhood events to beautify the Park, and organizes the neighborhood PACTAC volunteers. The Wadsworth Square Neighborhood Association encourages communication among residents, provides a forum for discussing community matters, and works to preserve the unique character and historical qualities of the neighborhood, fostering a sense of neighborhood pride.



In 1823, the village of Rochesterville held a celebration to mark the opening of the western section of Erie Canal and the completion of the aqueduct, which carried the canal across the Genesee River. The Wadsworth Tract was located southeast of the village along the

northern bank of the canal (currently Route 490). Owned by General James Wadsworth of Geneseo, it consisted of 28 acres of land and was bounded by the present- day Howell Street, Monroe Avenue, Griffith Street and South Avenue. The first streets to be built were Broadway and Wadsworth Street (now Howell Street), which were completed in 1827. In the early 1830’s, General Wadsworth laid out a square in the center of the tract. Designed in the New England town commons tradition, the square was donated to the city for use as a park and became known as Wadsworth Square. Between 1851 and 1875, the building boom hit Wadsworth Square. Fifty-three percent of the structures that stand today were constructed before 1875. Another 23 percent were completed before the turn of the century. Houses on the northern part of the neighborhood were generally larger and of greater architectural detail than those built south of Griffith Street. The homes along Marshall & Griffith Streets were primarily the residences of prosperous business and professional people. Homes situated next to the canal at the western end of Marshall & Griffith Streets were usually more modest in character and housed canal boatmen and their families. Many of the houses south of Griffith Street were built in the 1850’s and 60’s as rental properties. About 50% of the buildings that are located there today date from that period. Beginning in the 1970’s, rehabilitation of residential and commercial properties by private owners, together with the City’s sidewalk and landscaping improvements, are a reflection of renewed confidence in the area by both private and public sectors. In the 1980’s, the Wadsworth Square Neighborhood association was formed and successfully persuaded the city to re-establish the square. The new square had no specific design; it is a lawn with randomly scattered trees, but it again became a place where people gather, to sunbathe, walk dogs, or toss Frisbees. Wadsworth Square Park is renown as a great location to view Rochester’s fireworks.

The Wadsworth Square Neighborhood Association can be reached by email at; through Nextdoor at; and through Facebook at

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