Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City. It is the county seat for Monroe County.
Rochester's city population according to the 2010 census is approximately 210,565, making it New York's third most populous city after New York City and Buffalo. It is at the center of a larger Metropolitan Area which encompasses and extends beyond Monroe County and includes Genesee County, Livingston County, Ontario County, Orleans County and Wayne County. This area, which is part of the Western New York region, had a population of 1,037,831 people at the time of the 2000 Census. As of April 1, 2010, the 2010 Census indicated that this population rose to 1,054,322 .
Rochester was one of America's first "boomtowns" and rose to prominence initially as the site of many flour mills located on the Genesee River, then as a major manufacturing hub. Rochester is now an international center of higher education, as well as medical and technological development. The region is known for many acclaimed universities, and several of them (notably the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology) are nationally renowned for their research programs. In addition, Rochester has been and continues to be the site of many important inventions and innovations in consumer products. The Rochester area is currently home to corporations such as Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox that conduct extensive research and manufacturing in the fields of industrial and consumer products. The Rochester metropolitan area is the second largest regional economy in New York State according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, after the New York City metropolitan area.
Rochester was ranked as the sixth 'most livable city' among 379 U.S. metropolitan areas in the 25th edition (2007) of the Places Rated Almanac. The Rochester area also received the top ranking for overall quality of life among U.S. metros with populations of more than 1 million in a 2007 study by Expansion Management magazine. In the same study, Expansion Management rated the area's public schools as sixth best nationwide. In 2010 Forbes rated Rochester as the 3rd best place to raise a family.
Rochester is at 43°9′56″N 77°36′41″W (43.165496, -77.611504).The city is east of Buffalo, west of Syracuse and sits on Lake Ontario's southern shore. The Genesee River bisects the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.1 square miles (96 km2), of which 35.8 square miles (93 km2) of it is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) of it (3.42%) is water.
Rochester's geography was formed by the ice sheets during the Pleistocene epoch. The retreating ice sheets reached a standstill at what is now the southern border of the city, melting at the same rate as they were advancing, depositing sediment along the southern edge of the ice mass. This created a line of hills, including (from west to east) Mt. Hope, the hills of Highland Park, Pinnacle Hill, and Cobb's Hill. Because the sediment of these hills was deposited into a proglacial lake, they are stratified and classified as a "kame delta". A brief retreat and readvance of the ice sheet onto the delta deposited unstratified material there, creating a rare hybrid structure called a "kame moraine".
The ice sheets also created Lake Ontario (one of the five fresh-water Great Lakes), the Genesee River with its waterfalls and gorges, Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Braddock Bay, Mendon Ponds, numerous local streams and ponds, the Ridge, and the nearby Finger Lakes.
According to the City of Rochester, the city has 537 miles (864 km) of public streets, 585 miles (941 km) of water mains, 44 vehicular and eight pedestrian bridges, 11 public libraries, two police stations (one for the east side, one for the west), and 15 firehouses. The principal source of water is Hemlock Lake, which, with its watershed, is owned by the state of New York. Other water sources include Canadice Lake and Lake Ontario. The 30-year annual average snowfall is 95.0 inches (241 cm). The mean July temperature is 71.3 °F (21.8 °C) and the mean February temperature is 23.6 °F (−4.7 °C). The high amount of snow that Rochester receives can be accounted for by the city's proximity to Lake Ontario (see lake effect).
Rochester lies in the Humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfb) and has four distinct seasons, with often cold and snowy winters. Autumn features brilliant foliage colors, and summer sees generally comfortable temperatures that usually stay in the 80-85 °F (upper 20s °C) range accompanied by moderate to high humidity. Heatwaves are not uncommon during a typical summer. Precipitation is plentiful year round.
Development of modern Rochester followed the American Revolution, and forced cession of their territory by the Iroquois after the defeat of Great Britain. Allied with the British, four major Iroquois tribes were essentially forced from New York.
On November 8, 1803, Col. Nathaniel Rochester (1752–1831), Maj. Charles Carroll, and Col. William Fitzhugh, Jr. (1761–1839), all of Hagerstown, Maryland, purchased a 100-acre (ca. 40 ha) tract from the state in Western New York along the Genesee River. They chose the site because its three cataracts on the Genesee offered great potential for water power. Beginning in 1811, and with a population of 15, the three founders surveyed the land and laid out streets and tracts. In 1817, the Brown brothers and other landowners joined their lands with the Hundred Acre Tract to form the village of Rochesterville.
In 1847, Frederick Douglass founded the abolitionist newspaper The North Star in Rochester. Douglass, a former slave and an antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. The North Star served as a forum for abolitionist views. The Douglass home burnt down in 1872, but a marker for it can be found in Highland Park off South Avenue. The city was also home to Susan B. Anthony, an abolitionist who became active in the women's rights movement. At the end of the 19th century, anarchist Emma Goldman lived and worked in Rochester for several years, where she championed the cause of labor in Rochester sweatshops.
After the Civil War, Rochester had an expansion of new industries in the late 19th century, founded by migrants to the city, such as inventor and entrepreneur George Eastman, who founded Eastman Kodak, and German immigrants John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb, who combined technical and financial expertise to launch Bausch & Lomb in 1861. Not only did they create new industries and thousands of jobs, but Eastman became a major philanthropist, developing and endowing the University of Rochester, its Eastman School of Music and other local institutions. He also supported the development of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tuskegee University in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In the early 20th century, Rochester became a center of the garment industry, particularly men's fashions. It was the base of enterprises such as Bond Clothing Stores, Fashion Park Clothes, Hickey Freeman, and Stein-Bloch & Co. The carriage maker James Cunningham and Sons founded a pioneer automobile company - Cunningham.
The population reached 62,386 in 1870, 162,608 in 1900 and 295,750 in 1920. By 1950, the population had reached a high of 332,488. With industrial restructuring in the later 20th century, and the decline of industry and jobs in the area, by 2010, the population had declined to 210,565 in the city, although the metropolitan area was considerably larger.