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About The Neighborhood

This set of pages provides highlights associated with the Upper Monroe neighborhood.

Map

The nieghborhood boundaries noted above a approximate.

General Description

The Upper Monroe neighborhood exemplifies the best of urban living. Residents easily access a range of resources – retail, restaurants, transportation and recreation – within proximity to their homes. Its boundaries are marked at the north by Route 490, south at the city line with the Town of Brighton, east on Culver Road, west to Field Street and include Cobbs Hill Park (in cooperation with the Cobbs Hill neighborhood).
The Upper Monroe neighborhood is comprised of nearly 800 parcels (approximately 1/2 single family homes; 1/2 multi-family properties with a small number of commercial & mixed use properties) housing approximately 3,300 people within it's boundaries. Businesses and non-profits in Upper Monroe are concentrated in two areas: along the Monroe Avenue Corridor and in The Armory on Culver Road.
UMNA has been in the forefront in promoting a greener, more livable community. It was the first neighborhood in Rochester to support a City plan to develop Bicycle Boulevards. These “Boulevards” are specially designed to provide safe routes for bicyclist and pedestrians by slowing traffic, making crosswalks safer and promoting alternative means of transportation. In May 2010, UMNA organized a demonstration ride through the Upper Monroe neighborhood to study possible routes, and over 40 bicyclists pedaled their support. In addition, UMNA supports numerous community Gardens & Gardening efforts.
The Upper Monroe neighborhood is within walking distance to the Park Avenue neighborhood; the Park-Meigs-Monroe neighborhood; the Swillburg neighborhood; and the Cobbs Hill neighborhood on the south side of Cobbs Hill Park as well as neighborhoods located in the Town of Brighton just south-east of the City of Rochester line at Highland Avenue. You can walk from anywhere in the Upper Monroe neighborhood to Highland Park.

Indigenous Peoples

We recognize and appreciate Indigenous Peoples associated with this region - who pre-date European settlements and continue living among us - by sharing a brief description of their long history and ongoing contributions.
The Seneca’s name in their language is Onöndowá ga:', which translate into “Great Hill People.” At the time of the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the five tribes occupied territory from the East to the West, the Seneca being the “keepers of the western door”.
The Seneca were the largest of six Native American nations which comprised the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations, a democratic government that pre-dates the United States Constitution.
The historical Seneca occupied territory throughout the Finger Lakes area in Central New York, and in the Genesee Valley in Western New York, living in longhouses on the riversides. The villages were well fortified with wooden stake fences, just one of the many industrious undertakings.
Today the Seneca Nation currently has a total enrolled population of over 8,000 citizens. The Seneca Nation supports its own people and benefits surrounding communities with a variety of cultural, educational and economic efforts
The Seneca were the largest of six Native American nations which comprised the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations. The confederacy is properly called the Haudenosaunee Confederacy meaning People of the long house. The confederacy was founded by the prophet known as the Peacemaker with the help of Aionwatha, more commonly known as Hiawatha. The exact date of the joining of the nations is unknown and said to be time immemorial making it one of the first and longest lasting participatory democracies in the world.
The confederacy, made up of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas was intended as a way to unite the nations and create a peaceful means of decision making. Through the confederacy, each of the nations of the Haudenosaunee are united by a common goal to live in harmony. Each nation maintains it own council with Chiefs chosen by the Clan Mother and deals with its own internal affairs but allows the Grand Council to deal with issues affecting the nations within the confederacy.
Often described as the oldest, participatory democracy on Earth, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s constitution is believed to be a model for the American Constitution. What makes it stand out as unique to other systems around the world is its blending of law and values. For the Haudenosaunee, law, society and nature are equal partners and each plays an important role.
Today the Seneca Nation currently has a total enrolled population of over 8,000 citizens. The Seneca Nation supports its own people and benefits surrounding communities with a variety of cultural, educational and economic efforts.
NOTE: Text from the above sections was copied from Seneca Nation & Haudenosaunee websites.
A huge boulder at the base of Cobbs Hill Park marks the spot where the “Portage Trail” passed through what is now Upper Monroe. This trail began at Irondequoit Bay and followed in the direction of what is today Highland Avenue and on to Red Creek in Genesee Valley Park.

Mid 19th to early 20th century development of Upper Monroe

1888 City of Rochester Plat Map
1900 City of Rochester Plat Map
1910 City of Rochester Plat Map
1935 City of Rochester Plat Map
A little over ten years after the Erie Canal was finished C.F. Crossman began to develop his business and, eventually, a portion of the area we recognize as the Upper Monroe neighborhood today. In 1838, Crossman founded a small seed company on the Avenue. Fifty years later, Crosman’s business - the American Seed Company, later the Crosman Brothers - would be one of the largest seed houses in the world. Upper Monroe neighborhood residences grew up around Crossman’s land, with the majority of homes being built in the early years of the twentieth century.
The oldest extant home still in use as a residence in Upper Monroe (that UMNA is aware of) was built circa 1860 on Luzerne Street. There are two homes in the Swillburg neighborhood on the Field Street border of Upper Monroe that date from the same period. As you can see from the map detail below Crosman Terrace did not exist in 1904. The Crosman Brothers seed business still occupied that land. Although there were no homes Crosman Brothers had commercial buildings on their land including at a large portion the building that now houses Center For Youth in the 900 block of Monroe Avenue.
The map below also shows the shape of the Erie Canal Wide Waters before most of it was filled in (leaving the relatively tiny Lake Riley as a charming remnant on the eastern side of Culver Road in what is now Cobbs Hill Park) and before the Armory was built a few years later on west side of Culver Road. Upper Monroe would soon transform through rapid & intense development into the neighborhood configuration we know today.

In September of 2022 the "Crosman Terrace Historic District" was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Developed on land historically used for Rochester's horticulture industry, the intact residential suburban-style neighborhood was built between 1908 and 1940 and exhibits specific characteristics that were originally marketed to appeal to interests of upper-middle-class residents. These include a focus on residential structures, consistent lot size and building scale, and accommodations for automobiles.
UMNA partnered with Rochester Brainery and The Landmark Society of Western New York, Inc. on a walking tour of Upper Monroe that highlighted the Crosman Terrace Historic District in the summer of 2023.

Plaques & Markers

In Cobbs Hill Park Facing Culver Road
In Cobbs Hill Park Facing Culver Road
In Cobbs Hill Park on Norris Drive
In Cobbs Hill Park on Norris Drive
At Cobbs Hill Reservoir
At Cobbs Hill Reservoir
On Monroe Avenue Near Highland Avenue
On Monroe Avenue in Various Places