Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Underground Railroad to School

Ok, I didn't really take the Underground Railroad to school. In fact, the Underground Railroad was not a real railroad system but rather a system of secretly moving slaves to the north during the nineteen century. However, on my way to St. Monica's School on Genesee Street in Rochester I had to pass a house that everybody (well, not everybody) said was at one time a station on the Underground Railroad. At the time (in the late 1940s and early 1950s) we took these rumors only half serious. Only much later did I learn that this house probably was a part of the Underground Railroad.

The house was located at 669 Genesee St. on the corner of Elmdorf St. and in the 1850s it was owned by George H. Humphrey, a Rochester attorney and active abolitionist.  Humphrey and his family owned the house for only a couple of years and in the Rochester City Directory the house is referred to  by its name, 'Elm Grove,' rather by its street number.  (This may be because the west side of Genesee St. was not a part of the city but was in the town of Gates.  That land west of Genesee St. was not a part of the city until about 1893.) The house no longer exists and since 1968 the location is the site of a apartment house owned by the Rochester Housing Authority.

In the nineteen century Rochesterians was very active in the abolitionist movement and it looks like the 19th Ward was a part of that history.

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