Local History

TIMELINE of the Village of Charlotte
(download printable version, PDF)

TIMELINE of the “Village of Charlotte”

1612- Etienne Brulée maps Genesee country for the first time
1669- Explorer Robert de la Salle visits Irondequoit Bay
1792- William & Mehitable Hincher settle on the west bank of the river

1805- MARCH 3, 1805 President Jefferson establishes the “Customs District of the Genesee”
1811- The name “Charlotte” first appears on a deed and a map
1812-1814 The Port of the Genesee at Charlotte is visited four times during the War of 1812
1815- The street along the waterfront is named “River Street”
1820- 316 ships visit Charlotte, Port of the Genesee
1822- Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse is built
1829- The U.S. Government erects two parallel piers out into the lake
1849- Plank road is built from Ridge Road to Charlotte

1852- 1st village church is built- Lakeside Presbyterian Church
1853- Railroad arrives at Charlotte, Port of the Genesee
1853- Methodist church built on Lake Avenue
1854- First grain elevator is erected
1863- Brick residence replaces the original two-room keeper’s house
1863- Holy Cross opens as a satellite church of Our Mother of Sorrows
1868- The blast furnace begins operation
1869- June 14, 1869 Charlotte is incorporated as a village in the Town of Greece
1875- 1st railroad Swing Bridge built for the “Hojack” line
1876- Life Saving Service opens a station in the village (later merges
with the Coast Guard)
1883- Upton and Craig grain elevator is built at the foot of Petten Street
1884- Ontario Beach Park opens
1889- July 1, 1889 1st trolley run from the city to the village of Charlotte
1889- Village firehouse is built on Stutson Street (later became the 1st Charlotte library; torn down in the 1950’s)
1891- St. George’s Episcopal Church built- corner of Lake and Stutson

1905- 2nd swing bridge built by the King Bridge Company
1905- The historic Dentzel carousel is installed at Ontario Beach Park
1908- First high school is built at the triangle of River St. and Broadway
1914- Brick Village jail is constructed on Stutson Street
1916-- January 1, 1916-Charlotte is annexed by the City of Rochester
as its 23rd ward; the “Village of Charlotte” ceases to exists
1916- Firehouse on Stutson Street built by the City of Rochester
1917- Stutson Street Bridge opens
1919- September 5, 1919 Charlotte library opens in the old firehouse
1926- The “Port of Charlotte” becomes the “Port of Rochester”
1933- Present Charlotte High School is built on Lake Avenue
2004- June 17, 2004 “Premier Passage” of the fast ferry
2004- October 1, 2004 Col. Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Bridge opens
2005- The Bill Davis Overlook is installed at the site of the old Stutson Street
Bridge and becomes part of the Genesee Riverway Trail
2006- Genesee Riverway Trail-Turning Point Park to Petten Street opens


Historic Walking Tour of Lake Avenue
(download printable version


What we know as “Lake Avenue” today was once called “Broadway” from the triangle north to the lake and the “Charlotte Boulevard” south of St. John’s Park. When the area was part of the Village of Charlotte, the numbers along Broadway started at the lake and ran south. Annexation of the Village of Charlotte to the City of Rochester necessitated changing the name to Lake Avenue, since there was already a street known as “Broadway” in the city. The street was then re-numbered to run south to north.


Listed below are some of the historic buildings of the Village of Charlotte listing their past and present uses.


3200 Lake- the former Lake Theater. This building was home to two of the earliest businesses of Charlotte- Charlotte Appliance, established in 1932 and Pontillo’s Pizza, established in 1947. (now Charlotte Furniture)


3615 Lake- built as the Charlotte Branch of the Rochester Telephone Company. (now the Charlotte Branch of the Rochester Public Library)


4115 Lake- Charlotte High School. Built in 1933 as a Junior/Senior High School in the art deco style, with a maritime theme to reflect Charlotte’s village heritage.


4215 Lake- Mrs. Henry Roberts' homestead. The Roberts operated the blast furnace that employed hundreds of local workers. (Still a private residence)


4353 Lake- Captain George Ruggles’ homestead. built in the mid-19th century. He was President of the Village of Charlotte, inventor of the rotary snowplow for locomotives, a ship owner and captain and a world-renowned builder of racing canoes.


4359-4363 Lake- The "Denise block” was once the site of the village Post Office, a bank, the Odd Fellows Hall and a dry goods store. (now 1st floor businesses)


4424-4440 Lake- Meyerhoff's meat market/the Charlotte Post Office/Barber Shop. Single-story buildings built at the turn of the 20th century. (now the Woodshed bar and Wilson Farms.)


4409 Lake- Lake United Methodist Church. The first wooden church structure was built in 1853 and was moved to the rear of the lot when the brick church was dedicated on February 25, 1912.


4415-4419 Lake- Decker's Dry Goods; Cole Pharmacy.


4421 Lake- Ferguson Hardware. The oldest business in continuous existence in Charlotte until it ceased operation in 2005. It began in 1874 with storefronts on both Latta Road and River Street, until moving to this building on Lake Avenue in the 1920’s.


4435 Lake- The Latta-Meech house. Oldest house in Charlotte, built in 1806 by Sam Latta, who was the first Customs Collector at the Port of the Genesee. (now- Chez Marie Beauty Salon)


4449 Lake- "Jordan block" Built at the turn of the 20th century, it once housed McGuire's village grocery store, a barbershop, the phone company and a theater. (now the Charlotte branch Post Office)


4450 Lake- originally called the Latta House; it later became the Kenmore Hotel. (now a plaza)


4496 Lake- Holy Cross Church. The congregation dates from 1863. The present structure was built in 1882.


4352 Lake- St. George's Episcopal Church. Site of the village roller skating rink before the church structure was built in 1891. The land was purchased in 1886 for $263.50 from the village blacksmith, Henry Pollard. (now Christian Community Church)


4550 Lake- Once the site of trolley barns and the Charlotte Masonic Temple


4695, 4699 and 4705 Lake- Formerly the De Palma Bar, the Fleming Hotel and the Kinsella Hotel. These 3 buildings date from the late 1800’s. (Now Windjammer’s, Mr. Dominic's, & Harborside Café restaurants)


4650-4780 Lake- The blast furnace. An iron ore manufacturing facility that started business in 1869 and employed many Charlotte residents

Additional Points of interest in Charlotte not located on Lake Avenue--


Colonel Patrick O’Rorke Memorial Bridge- this bridge replaced the aging 1917 Stutson Street bridge. The new span is a 4-lane bascule lift-bridge that crosses the Genesee River, connecting Charlotte to the Town of Irondequoit. Construction started in the year 2000 and the bridge was dedicated on October 1, 2004.


188 Beach Avenue- Built in 1931 as the Bath House for Ontario Beach Park with a 2nd floor ballroom. The building has been renamed the Roger Robach Community Center.


332 Beach Avenue- This was the residence of Dr. Edward Mott Moore, founder of the Monroe County Park System and President of the Rochester Historical Society. He also started the Convalescent Home for Children (now Shore Winds Nursing Home) which is located just west of his summer residence.


56 Stutson Street- Charlotte’s 2nd firehouse and the first building erected by the City of Rochester after annexation of the Village (under current restoration with “Hose 22 Café” opening Spring of 2008)


50 Stutson Street- Former Charlotte police precinct (now Party Connection)


10-26 Latta Road- this building once served as the customs house for the Port of the Genesee, the Port of Charlotte and the Port of Rochester until 1917. It also housed Ferguson Hardware, the village of Charlotte post office and a ship’s chandlery. (now the Tapecon building)


River Street’s Charlotte Cemetery- historic cemetery dating from the early 19th century that consists of two sections; the one on River Street is the newer of the two, with the older section further east and north toward the river. A cemetery association was incorporated in 1888. Buried here are the daredevil Sam Patch, families of the earliest settlers, ship captains, leaders of the village and veterans from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and Civil War.


(download printable version, PDF)


Bill Davis sign- part 1
Bill Davis sign- part 2
Village History Sign


DIRECTIONS to the overlook: The Bill Davis Overlook is located at the east end of Stutson Street, off Lake Avenue.


After three years of preparation and design, the Bill Davis Overlook signage was installed on Tuesday, June 21st, 2005 as the final showpiece of the O’Rorke Bridge Project. Fossil Graphics of Long Island made the fused resin sign panels. Photos and text were prepared by Bill Davis and Marie Poinan. Sign design was provided by Synegraphics of Holland, New York. The custom sign cases and hardware were manufactured and installed by Park Place Sign Systems of Hannibal, Missouri. While funding for the construction of the overlook was paid by federal, state, county and city funding, the signage was a project of volunteers from the Charlotte community and was paid for with $25,000 from Sector 1 Neighbors Building Neighborhoods targeted funding.


Next time you are in the area, be sure and see this addition to the Charlotte streetscape- a scenic overlook located at the site of the old Stutson Street Bridge that pays tribute to the man who has done so much for our lighthouse and for the Rochester community. Available 365 days per year, it serves as outdoor museum that shows the history and development of the Port of Rochester and old Village of Charlotte. Benches and planters will be installed on the overlook in June of 2008.


The overlook committee has produced a limited-edition book that includes the story of the overlook installation, the committee members’ names and is complete full-page reproductions of all fifteen signs.


The 8 ½” x 11” book is available for a donation of $12.00, which includes shipping and handling. Payment is to be made by money order only, sorry but no personal checks can be accepted. This book has a limited number of copies still available, and this offer is good while supplies last and may be withdrawn at any time.


Please send your name and address and enclose a money order for $12.00 payable to:
Charlotte Community Association
PO Box 12768
Rochester, New York 14612.