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ROCHESTER JUNCTION - 2002



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Rochester Junction
on the
Lehigh Valley Railroad


by: Paul S. Worboy

        By rail, Rochester Junction was 13 1/2 miles due south of the City of Rochester and surrounded by bucolic farms, forests and streams. As the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company was late to the railroad game in Western New York (building a direct line from Geneva, New York to Buffalo that opened in 1892), it was linked to Rochester by a branch line. A line was also sent to the south, via Honeoye Falls, Lima, Livonia Center and Hemlock Lake, New York, thus converting "Surrine (sic) Hollow" to "Rochester Junction."

         While Rochester's handsome 1905 Lehigh Valley Depot remains as a revitilized "Rib Joint," called the "Dinosaur Barbeque," literally hanging over the Genesee River, the Junction itself has been silent for over three decades. Sadly, the fanciful Victorian Station went up in flames in 1973. A big Thank You!, to Michael Redmond, a reader, who sent these photos taken by his father, Larry Redmond on that fateful day.


       With the demise of the main in 1976 and the branch in 1981, the place reverted to the serenity of pre-railroad days. The photo to the right shows the first Rochester Junction depot 1892-1896, looking west with the branch to Rochester passing to the right of the station. This structure was moved to Lima and subsequently razed in 1984.

       Along with other eras of history that transpired in the vicinity, from geologic to a major Seneca town destroyed by the French, to a pitched battle over water rights, Rochester Junction is a facinating place - and it is coming back to life in the form of the "Lehigh Trail." This recreational trail is to be completed in 2003 or 2004 and will link the many existing routes that are criss-crossing New York State.

           The Terry Hotel built by William and Jennie Terry, was the center of activity and today remains as the primary tangible survivor of the junction. It has had an eclectic history, first as a hotel, a post office, watering hole and shelter to some facinating people. A legend has it that Sir Winston Churchill stopped for "refreshments" after a speech in Rochester. Most recently , the hotel has been purchased by the new pastor of the Honeoye Falls Presbyterian Church. With such a varied past, these new owners will certainly bring a interesting new history to this stalwart building.

        While the c.1912 scene is "freight only" - the passenger shelters indicate another major aspect of Rochester Junction - when branch trains from the City of Rochester (arriving at the right) met the mainline, "Black Diamond," "Star," "Maple Leaf," et al, heading for Buffalo and New York City. Thankfully, the platform remains to outline the the setting and launch one's imagination into the halcyon days of the Lehigh Valley and Rochester Junction! The Terry Hotel can be seen at the upper right of the photo.

        It is this writer's opinion, that this site will become a junction once again and trail users will wonder about its history. To date, there are many sources of information that are scattered throughout the region - in books, newspapers, attics and public memories. But there needs to be a compendium that offers a "one-stop" view of the place. As the self appointed clearinghouse for any and all information related to Rochester Junction, I hope to publish my findings, with full credit given to those who can assist in this endeavor. Sincerely, Paul S. Worboy

   




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