America has redefined herself many times. Rochester, New York is a city that exhibits those changes on a smaller level. She has also been a dynamic factor in many of America’s major changes. Originally, the city claimed the name Rochesterville after it’s founder, business man and colonel, Nathaniel Rochester. Eventually, the -ville dropped and she became Rochester. Let’s not make things any more complicated than they need to be, right? He and several others purchased 100 acres of land because of its location along the Genessee River and its three cataracts. This gave them a huge advantage for water power usage. A much needed asset during the industrial revolution.
The deal paid off in the long-run making Rochester the original Boom Town. Their population numbers continued to double. The founders of Rochester created favorable economic conditions to keep their people paid. Many flour factories called Rochester home, even though Philly was the first to produce flour. Imagine the pasties they had during this time! Later on down the line the city went from smelling the bread to smelling the roses. Rochester became a horticultural center in America, despite having some of the heaviest snow falls every year.
Around the same time Rochester was smelling herself, abolitionist and orator, Frederick Douglas set up shop. He started his newspaper, the North Star and used his home as a stop on the underground railroad. Down the street, Susan B. Anthony was getting arrested for illegally voting. The strained circumstance led to a revolutionary speech on Women’s Suffrage.
This diversity still permeates the city as they have some of the highest populations of Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans and Italians calling the city home. Rochester's political affinity continues to be a reflection of her past as it's still moderately liberal in a blue state.
Big, forward thinking companies Xerox and Kodak laid their roots here becoming the biggest employers. No wonder New York City became the hub for publishing and movies. They had a direct connection. It’ll be interesting to see how over the next decade she transforms herself into a tech center of the East as more seed companies sprout in Rochester like daisies.
While visiting Rochester and partying the night away like New Yorkers do, be sure to stop by a diner and ask for "the Garbage plate". Don't let the name deceive you, it's all your favorite foods served at once. Isn't that like Rochester, a little bit of everything wrapped up as one!