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Powers Building - Rochester, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member sagefemme
N 43° 09.347 W 077° 36.765
18T E 287572 N 4781428
Quick Description: "The Powers Building, architecturally innovative for its day due to its scale and metal structural system, has been the keystone of Rochester's downtown commercial area since its construction in 1869-70." 165 ft by 171 ft by 9 stories.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 12/30/2011 8:28:42 AM
Waymark Code: WMDDKE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 4

Long Description:
Wikipedia culls minimal information about the Powers Building. It highlights the open stairwell in the center, and the triple mansard roof. It notes that an observation tower was "added after initial construction, between 1873 and 1888 by Daniel Powers to maintain it's standing as the tallest building in Rochester." (visit link)

It was designed Andrew Jackson Warner. "The Powers Building ranks with Buffalo's old City Hall (now the Erie County Hall, built 1872-5) as the most important buildings of Warner's career. The Powers building was acclaimed as the first fire-proof structure in Rochester and at the time, the only building west of New York City equipped with elevators." (visit link)

The first floor was "unsympathetically" renovated, but the remainder was maintained with some care. I remember when the exterior was sand-blasted a couple of decades ago to restore the brilliance of the original detailing.

The seventeen-bay corner is a series of arched windows and vermiculated stoen quoins. The remaining sixteen bays on the State Street (east) facade and ten bays on the West Main Street (south) facade are framed with flattened arches and slender corinthian columns. The large expanses of glass relative to stone are a visual indication of the building's metal structure. A bracketed cornice divides the first five stories from the three upper ones which were added in 1872 and 1874 respectively and were constructed of riveted steel plate. All three stories are faced with light rose colored shingles in contrast to the grey stone of the lower stories. The windows of the first two mansard roofs have heavy window hoods unlike those on the final story which have simple stone moldings. The three-tiered tower is off center on the West Main Street (south) facade.

"The interior of the Powers Building reflects the same inventive quality characteristic of the exterior. Most notable is the interior court where the ornate cast iron stairway is located. Marble wainscoting is found throught the public spaces, and the corridor floors are of marble or tile. The doorframes on the first fourf floors are marble while those on the upper floors are wood. A marble plaque commemorates the architect and craftsmen who worked in the building. It reads:

Fire-Proof Buildings
A.J. Warner & Co., Architects
W.H. Gorsline, Mason
J.C. Wagner, Carpenter
Architectural Iron Works, New York
Henry S. Hebard, Marble
Peter Pitkin, Stone Front
Whitmore, Carson & Co., Medina Stone
John Siddons & Son, Plumbing
Sherlock & Sloan, Gas & Steam
A. Ernisse, Painting
M. Briggs & Son, Iron Vaults
W.G. Frutchey, Slating
M & E Huntington, Plate Glass" (visit link)

The nomination form describes Daniel Power's life as resembling an Horatio Alger novel. His ambition to own the tallest building in Rochester, howeer, is somewhat understated in both the nomination form and the information presented in the Wikipedia entry. Consider this: the building was first erected in 1869-70, with a single mansard roof. "The second and third were addedin 1872 and 1874 respectively." The observation tower was "added after initial construction, between 1873 and 1888". Powers persistd his ambition for 19 years!
Street address:
16 W Main St
(corner of W Main and State Sts)
Rochester, NY USA

County / Borough / Parish: Monroe County

Year listed: 1973

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1875-1899

Historic function: Commerce/Trade

Current function: Commerce/Trade

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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sagefemme visited Powers Building - Rochester, NY 11/30/2011 sagefemme visited it