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Bates-Ryder House (East Avenue Historic District) - Rochester, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member sagefemme
N 43° 08.874 W 077° 34.030
18T E 291252 N 4780438
Quick Description: At the time the East Avenue Historic District was nominated for historic district status, this house at 1399 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610, was owned by Mary Gooley, who had lived there her whole life. She bequeathed it to the Landmark Society.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 11:52:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMEGFW
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 2

Long Description:
The description in the nomination form specific to this property is brief:

built in 1856, "a stucco home with a square tower in front and low pitched roof lines, is an excellent example of Italianate villa. When Thomas Leighton acquired it, in the 1870's, he added a wing to make it the largest mansion on the avenue. In spite of a fire that recently severely damaged the interior, it remains as a residence for one of the few old families still occupying East Avenue mansions."

I've learned that the mansion has since been divided into condominium units. In fact, the original address, 1399 East Ave, is now assigned to the carriage house, with the mansion addressed as 1391-1397 East Ave. One of its occupants, Kay Leary, was manicuring on an Italian garden (very much in keeping with the mansion). She spoke fondly of Mary Gooley, the last owner. Ms. Gooley was a doctor, and director of the hemophelia unit at Strong Memorial Hospital.

In 1975, Paul Malo was commissioned to write "Landmarks of Rochester and Monroe County: A Guide to Neighborhoods and Villages" by the Landmark Society of Western New York. He described this building on page 60:
"nearby at Number 1399, is the large pink house built in the Italianate style in 1856 ny Colonel Thomas C. Bates (Plate 29). A wing added in 1875 made this the largest house of that time on the avenue. It is one of few major buildings of Italianate style in the East Avenue Preservation District. Spacious grounds contribute valuably to the scenic quality of the area, particularly since generally continuous high-rise construction has extended on the other side of the street this far from Winton Road. For this reason as well as for the intrinsic historic and architectural worth of the house, it's preservation is critical. When the beautifully finished and furnished interiors (with a notable music room of French period decor) were badly damaged by fire in recent years, the owner faced the difficult decision of either restoring the property or yielding to the sort of development that was beginning to surround it. Fortunately for the community and future generations, Miss Helen Ryder decided to restore the historic house to its original condition and to give it to the Landmark Society. She continues to reside here and to maintain the property and its future protection is assured."

The description of Plate 29 follows:
"Bates-Ryder House, 1399 East Avenue, Rochester. An Italian villa, as it was envisioned in its own time, this mansion, with characteristic low pitched roofs (here concealed by a balustrade), broad overhanging eaves, arched windows, and square tower, is the principal model of its kind in Monroe County as well as in the East Avenue Preservation District. The building and its extensive grounds gave been given to the Landmark Society by Miss Helen Ryder."

This confirms a note on the nominating form about Miss Helen Ryder (who has since passed away: "The last to live in this mansion when it was, as the nomination form says, "a residence for one of the few old families", she lived there when the fire (mentioned in the nomination form and in the book cited above) and presided over its restoration.

The grounds are rife with specimen trees: Horse Chestnut, Walnut, Red Maple, Canadian Hemlock, Pin Oak, Copper Beech and Weeping Beech. There are many examples of Japanese specimens including miniture Japanese Maple, Weeping Cherry, and Japanese Yew. The latter inspired one of the present owners to create a Japanese garden under its branches and framed by rhododendrun specimans. In addition to this and the Italian garden that Ms. Leary put in, there is a traditional Italianate garden, with walls of arbervitea and lined with French lilac. The round garden at the end of the gravel walk used to contain rose specimens, but now contain lower maintenance plantings. There are other gardens that were flowering on the grounds during my visit: wisteria, irises, a mock orange bush, just to name a few. The lilacs were generally faded, and Ms. Leary indicated that the French lilac would be pruned back soon, now that it was finished blooming (they were encroaching on the walkway).

As Ms. Leary was giving me a tour of the grounds, I noticed a neglected building deep into the property and asked about it. Ms. Leary said that Ms. Gooley described it as the play house. More accurately, this was once the East Avenue Toll House, when East Avenue was a toll road! Today, is might be used as a maintenance shed, and houses a family of woodchucks!

I took a ton of pictures. I'll try to be selective about what I include here!
Name of Historic District (as listed on the NRHP): East Avenue Historic District

Link to nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com page with the Historic District: [Web Link]

NRHP Historic District Waymark (Optional): [Web Link]

Address:
1399 East Avenue Rochester, NY 14610


How did you determine the building to be a contributing structure?: Narrative found on the internet (Link provided below)

Optional link to narrative or database: [Web Link]

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sagefemme visited Bates-Ryder House (East Avenue Historic District) - Rochester, NY 6/12/2012 sagefemme visited it