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Rochestera brainy city

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Rochester Basics


Though it is the third largest city in New York state—behind New York City and Buffalo—Rochester still offers all the charm and comfort of a small town. Located on the south shore of Lake Ontario, with the Genesee River flowing northward over a set of three waterfalls through the city’s center, Rochester is blessed with not only plenty of waterways and shoreline, but also more than 2,000 acres of parkland.

Born in the early nineteenth century, the village that is now Rochester grew up around flourmills that took advantage of the Genesee River’s three powerful waterfalls. With the Erie Canal, which was built a few years later and routed through Rochester, the small village became one of America’s first boomtowns. A major trade center for grain being shipped east and goods being shipped west, Rochester became known as “The Flour City.”

In the early 1900s, the Rochester of today began to take shape, molded in large part by the philanthropy of George Eastman, whose Eastman Kodak camera company became the area’s largest employer. Eastman’s many generous gifts to the city include The Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Theatre, and the stunning George Eastman House. A hub of manufacturing, Rochester also is home to optics company Bausch and Lomb and printing giant Xerox a trifecta (along with Kodak) that gives Rochester one of its current nicknames “The World’s Image Centre.”

Additionally, Rochester’s nurseries and gardens garner the city yet another name, “The Flower City,” and it lives up to its name with the famous Lilac Festival every May. Beyond being a hub for manufacturing, arts and recreation, Rochester is internationally recognized as a center for higher education and is home to many acclaimed universities including the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. Today Rochester’s award-winning music, dance and acting ensembles; packed festival calendar; hundreds of acres of parkland; and multitude of cultural and historical museums make it the ideal place to begin your exploration of Western New York.

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