1923 Aerial View

The Rochester Telephone Company authorized the task of documenting, through aerial photography, the existing appearance of  Rochester, New York, in the year 1923

Five of those images are shown below.

Photo #1

Genesee River

Photo #2

West Brighton

Photo #3

Cobb’s Hill

Photo #4

Corbett’s Glen

Photo #5

East Brighton

History Note:

Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of 10 March 1876 describes his successful experiment with the telephone. Speaking through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room,

Bell utters these famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

So...some 47 years later a Telephone Company in Rochester is photographing its service area using aerial photography.

Image Alignment

Taking the five images covering the land in Brighton, and placing them together in over lap relationship you can see the rather large photographic coverage that exists, allowing a review of 1923 Brighton History.

We will enlarge several areas on the five maps and relate a history story to help better understand our Brighton History.

Especially for our Bicentennial Year 2014

History Note:

George Eastman had invented & mass produced hand held cameras in the late 1880’s,

the French gave birth to aerial photography from a balloon in 1858, the Wright brothers took flight in 1903,

but... an established aerial photographic company taking pictures for commercial use, in Rochester

,..... must have been very unique in 1923..

Land & Photo Comparison

Five 1923 images (Aerial Photographs) are compared in location

with the blue outline of the Town of Brighton mapped in 1921.

Note: The land area indicated in solid blue,

south of  Westfall Road, was not photographed.

Area south of Westfall Road not covered by 1923 aerial photography


1923 City Description

Looking @ the 1923 Aerial Photos illustrates how land has changed in Brighton.

But the references to 1923 Rochester, chronicled in a book titled,

“Rochester A Good Town to Live in” published in 1923, authored by Edward Hungerford

adds detail to the era, that amplifies that visual impression.

Yes!..It was a different time!

Several descriptive notes from that book are repeated below.


Rochester 1923 population was about 315,000.

“Transportation makes cities”: page 16 / 18 / 19

Rochester was accessible by Rail, River, Lake, Train, Canal and Highway...no Airport till 1927.

Rail Lines: 1 New York Central, 2 Erie, 3 Lehigh Valley, 4 Pennsylvania, & 5 Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh

plus five High Speed Electric Interurbans.

Main Highways: Historic Ridge Road and NYS Route 5&20 south of the city.

Passenger steamers operated on Lake Ontario to Coburg, Toronto & Montreal.

The new Barge Canal,( a rerouting of the Erie Canal ), had just been completed in 1918.

A new rapid-transit subway for electric passenger trains is under construction, (completed 1927).

“An industrial city attracts transportation”: page 20

Industry: Sixty-five to seventy thousand workers go to the mills and factories of the city.

Fabricating box-cars, pianos, cameras, laundry machinery, clothing, optical goods, motor-car devices,

office equipment, thermometers, barometers, railway signals,

porcelain-lined tanks, microscopes...” Truly a busy city”..

(Baush & Lomb employed 3,ooo workers, Eastman Kodak 14,000, Clothing Industry 13,000.)

“The free school-system includes some forty-six grammar and primary schools, three high schools, five junior high schools,

and a city normal school; in all served by 1666 teachers and giving education to over fifty thousand pupils.

In addition the parochial school system of the Roman Catholic church gives instruction to about 17,000 more pupils.”

“There are few skyscrapers. The tallest building in the business district is but twelve stories.”

“Oak Hill Country Club, is preparing to vacate...the eighty-five acres..as a site for the new UR Men’s College.”

Note: The Eastman Theatre ( 3,380 seats ) opened September  4, 1922 ....page 41

“The orchestra of sixty pieces is engaged for the theater for its daily showings of motion pictures.” ....page 92

“There is a small but modern jail in Exchange Street, but few people ever see it. Rochester people do not go to Jail” / page 65

Westfall Road



Westfall Road

East-West Road