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MMD > Archives > April 1997 > 1997.04.28 > 07Prev  Next

Visiting East Rochester NY
By Bruce Clark

In response to David Kerr's request for the address of the Ampico smoke
stack, as well as addresses for Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Rochester.

The Ampico smoke stack is *not* located in Rochester.  It is located in
East Rochester, a suburb about ten miles South-East of Rochester.  This
little town, was originally named Despatch, New York (not "Dispatch").
American Piano felt that Despatch (N.Y.) was not a very appealing address
for their prestigious piano factory, and were instrumental in having the
name Despatch, New York,  changed to East Rochester, New York.

East Rochester is a very small village.  It's main street (W. Commercial
Street) runs parallel with the railroad tracks.  The smoke stack is
located at West Commercial and Washington Street.

To reach East Rochester, one would take the 490 Expressway, and exit at
East Rochester.  There has been some construction and one of the exits to
East Rochester has been closed if one is heading North.  Should one miss
the East Rochester Exit, or be on the side where the exit was eliminated,
one may exit at Fairport, and follow signs to East Rochester, using
secondary roads.  It is a short drive.

East Rochester is a quaint little village, with many small homes
originally built for those who worked for American Piano Company.  I fear
that sooner or later someone may decide that the chimney should be torn
down, for it serves no purpose other than a reminder of our glorious
past.  It is not connected to anything, standing by itself beside a large
parking lot.  (It appears to be very sturdily built, and in excellent

The vertical letters spelling "AMPICO" are in red brick, which contrasts
nicely against the yellow brick body of the smoke stack.  This year, East
Rochester is celebrating their 100th Anniversary.  It would be an
excellent time to visit this little village.

In regard to Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Rochester New York, I know of
one house located on East Boulevard (Boynton House).  East Boulevard, is
located off East Avenue, the next street (East) beyond Culver Road and
East Avenue intersection.  The Frank Lloyd Wright House is visible from
East Avenue, but as I recall is located one or two houses from East
Avenue on the left side of East Boulevard.

This is only a few blocks from the George Eastman house, (900 East
Avenue) open to the public, as a museum.

At one time the Eastman home housed an AEolian Duo-Art player unit
connected to an AEolian organ.  The organ remains partially intact, and
is playable manually, but rather weak, due to removal of one division by
a *near sighted*  $#@!#%^ curator  to make room for his office.  The echo
division on the third floor was sealed over in the name of heat
conservation.  The Duo-Art single roll player was located remotely in the
front hall to the left of the grand staircase.  It has been disconnected
and removed to a storage area.

This was the first player instrument I ever saw, and later was allowed to
play when I was a child.  I was allowed to select two rolls from the roll
library, and go to the music room, and press the mother-of-pearl push
switch high up (I could just reach it)  on the main organ console,
turning on the main organ blower.  Next, I would proceed into the front
hall, and lift the top of the cabinet which housed the Duo-Art roll
player.  There I would insert the roll, and connect the tab to the
take-up spool, set the tempo, and push another switch, and run up the
main staircase and stand in front of the grill work on the second floor
and listen to the magnificent organ.

As a ten year old, I was thrilled to hear the thunderous organ, and
would have stayed all day to play rolls, if it were not for the two roll
restriction.  The memory of playing those rolls will remain with me
forever! Fifty years later, I still have dreams of being there and
playing those rolls!

How sad I was, when in my twenties, I visited the house and asked about
the organ and was sharply told by the curator that he had enough of that
organ and had cut the cables with a hack saw!  An attempt to restore the
organ by volunteers of the Rochester Theater Organ society was made a few
years back, but the organ needs a lot more attention to restore it to
it's former glory.  Unfortunately, there seems to be very little interest.

Bruce Clark

(Message sent Mon 28 Apr 1997, 13:56:20 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  East, NY, Rochester, Visiting

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