The Maplewood neighborhood may have stayed only a park had the city agreed with landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead’s original plan – a linear park along the Genesee River gorge that joined Seneca Park with Maplewood Park. Instead, between 1870 and the 1930s, grand estates on large lots and architecturally distinctive homes were built on its shady tree-lined streets.
Today residents enjoy the best of urban living: beautiful older homes that increase in value (many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and a lively, diverse population working together to preserve its history and protect its future. The current neighborhood’s boundaries reach west to Mt. Read Blvd., north to the historic Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, and east to the Genesee River. Its southernmost boundary, Driving Park, was a popular “sulky” or harness racing course, Rochester Driving Park, from 1874 to 1895. Along with the racetrack, it also hosted exhibition shows such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.
Several of the streets were designed by Olmstead, including Seneca Parkway, which includes a central street mall almost one mile long, now lined with an impressive collection of early-20th-century homes in various architectural styles. Farther north, the former St. Bernard’s Seminary, erected in 1892 with red Medina stone, was transformed into St. Bernard’s Park studio and one-bedroom apartments, many with vaulted ceilings. EZ Rochester Junk Removal
The Maplewood Neighborhood Association, whose motto is “Historic Maplewood – A Family Place,” often draws 75-150 participants to its monthly meetings. It also publicizes numerous ways residents can get involved: block clubs, the CERT (Certified Emergency Team, Dewey Avenue “Adopt-A-Block” Litter Pick-Up, Maplewood Gardening Team, and the MNA Arts Committee.
A festival at the Maplewood Rose Gardens in Rochester, New York, reminds the neighborhood to stop and smell the roses each June. First planted in the 1920s, the Garden attracts thousands of visitors. Some 3,000 rose bushes with over 250 varieties are buried there. The Park also includes the path to the Genesee Railway Trail and an incredibly scenic view of two river waterfalls with the gorge.
Maplewood recreation assets include the architect Claude Bragdon-designed YMCA at 25 Driving Park Avenue, built-in 1916. Most recently, it underwent a multi-million dollar expansion and renovation. Rose GardenReligious congregations within the neighborhood are also architecturally noteworthy: the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Flower City Park, Hope Ministry at Emmanuel Temple on Seneca Parkway, Ascension Episcopal Church on Lake Avenue, and the Dewey Avenue Presbyterian Church in Rochester, NY.
Residents are looking for ways to bring new businesses into the area to make their urban neighborhoods more inviting. One such business is The Dark Horse Café on Dewey Avenue, which serves as a coffee shop and a neighborhood-meeting place.
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