Monday, March 30, 2009

Rochester, NY's 19th Ward

I grew up in Rochester's 19th Ward and lived there for more than twenty years (and was damn proud of it). Even though I have lived in south Florida for some thirty-eight years, I still follow news and events in the Rochester area. I have noticed that there is a very active 19th Ward Community Association and I'm delighted that folks have taken an interest in that area of Rochester. However, reading the description of the neighborhood of their 19th Ward is but a part of the 19th Ward that I grew up in.

The Association and the Rochester Wiki describe the boundaries as:

The 19th Ward is bordered, clockwise from its northern edge, by West Avenue, Genesee Street, Scottsville Road and the Erie Canal.
Let's just see what the actual boundaries of the 19th Ward are. But first a bit of the history of the ward system in Rochester and the 19th in particular.

In the first half of the 19th century Rochester, like a number of other cities instituted a political ward system and each ward had an elected representative on the city council. As the sity grew additional wards were created, each with a representative and the 19th Ward was created in 1892. The boundaries for the 19th Ward were generally as noted above except the eastern boundary was not Genesee Street but it was the middle of the Genesee River. That boundary was down the middle of the river to it met the Erie Canal.

I lived on Flint Street (which is east of Genesee Street) until 1950 and I will guarantee you I lived in the 19th Ward!

The 19th Ward as with each of the other twenty-three Wards had their representation in the city council until 1925 when the city council comprised of five at-large representative and four district representatives. Each district covered multiple wards and the 19th Ward was a part of South District, along with the 3rd, 4th, 11th, 13th and 14th Wards.

The ward system was also used for representation in the Monroe County Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors consisted of representatives of each of the twenty-four city wards plus one for each of the county's towns. This was the case until 1967. At that time for all intents and purposes the ward system went bye-bye.

But that doesn't explain why the difference in description of the 19th Ward boundaries. It had to do with the Postal Service and ZIP codes. When I lived on Flint Street it was: 484 Flint Street, Rochester, New York 19. When the ZIP codes were introduced, the ward number was preceded with 146, the are number for Rochester. Before the 19th Ward Community Association was formed, that portion of the old 19th Ward east of Genesee Street was given 14611. The Association took its name from the ZIP code.

So the 19th Ward Community Association should really be called the ZIP Code 14619 Community Association or the One-half 19th Ward Community Association! Or maybe not.


Anonymous said...

Flint West of the river. It ran from the river west to Genesee St. as I recall. I grew up at Plymouth and Flint in the '30s

Padraic Mac Aodhagain said...

Isn't that what I wrote?