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Invitation To Join This Project

February 19, 2009

Originally Sent in the Highland Blast February 19 2009 E-mail Blast

Association Logo - Spruced up

Dear Neighbors,

I want to invite you and your memories to a special meeting of our Neighborhood Association on February 24, 2009 called  “Our Living History- Reflections of a Neighborhood.”   The meeting will be held at 7PM at the  County Parks Dept, 171 Reservoir Drive, in Highland Park across from the conservatory.  We  are designing the content of this meeting in cooperation with the City Historian, who will be in attendance.  Refreshments will be provided along with some surprises. Join with us as we  construct a virtual scrapbook out of our resident’s anecdotes, photographs and other recollections.  It’s our way to begin the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Rochester .  Our area is especially rich in the heritage of what George Ellwanger once referred to as “The City of Flowers“.  Many of you saw our exhibit last year that chronicled this history as “The Arboretum that Became a Neighborhood” and we are going to reprise and expand that exhibit this year.   Oh yes, the history of the years of Ellwanger & Barry are well documented… but then what happened? The answer may well be “you and your stories.” That’s a  focus of the February 24th  meeting: to begin a year-long project of sharing stories and living history between neighbors.  With your help, we will start a process of collecting the documents, narratives and experiences that define us.  The goal will be to discover and record  special stories and memories from every resident who participates.     Do you recall the candy store on Meigs Street ?  (And do you have a picture?).   How many times did Lauterbach’s come through with just that hardware item we needed?   Did you know that the playground was once the site of the original Ellwanger & Barry School ?   I have a couple of stories myself; one is about how I bought my current house at a garage sale.  And I have a picture to share taken in 1987 just as I asked my girlfriend to marry me on the rhododendron trail in Highland Park (fortunately she said yes!). I know you have similar tales to tell.     What is your favorite of all the movies that played at the Cinema?  Who had their first date there?  (We’re interested even if it was last year…memories don’t have to be ancient to be special!)  And if you ever spent a Chinese New Year’s with Bobby Shek at the Imperial, did you join the red napkin club?   All of these events are worthy to be documented in some way. Remember the year it snowed during the Lilac Festival? ( I’m sure stories about “our” park are worth a chapter or two all by themselves.)  Your wedding at the German house with pictures at the park…the neighbors who shared power during the Ice storm….who among you was in the last class at School 24?   And who will spill the secrets of the dog-walkers? Whether you’ve lived in the neighborhood eight months or eighty years, I’m sure you have an experience that we want to record!
As this will be a social meeting,  refreshments will be provided.  To help with recording your stories and artifacts, we will bring a scanner to capture any photos or clippings that you share.   You can also send in your stories by e-mail or bring those to the meeting.
Even if you are too shy to go on camera, we have other ways that you can participate.  As part of our neighborhood scrapbook , we are going to build a series of “Top Five” lists based on neighborhood preferences; for example:

During this special year, we plan to record oral histories by voice recorder and video cam.  If you are willing to participate, come and we will schedule a session.  Or record it yourself in the YouTube manner and we will archive it on-site.

  • The Top Five Businesses We Miss
  • Top Five Restaurants within walking distance,
  • Our Favorite Lilacs
  • The Best Streets to stroll down
  • Favorite Person out of Rochester’s History we’d invite to dinner.
  • Suggested “Tagline” for the neighborhood (Here’s mine “Where the Flower City Blooms”!)

And you can even help us with these categories, as our concept of the neighborhood scrapbook is a work in progress that only starts this February.

We are also going to unveil plans for other special meetings and events throughout the year….including details on how you can join in the fun.  And we will discuss how all of this ties in to our plans during the festival season. We are expecting a couple of other surprises for this meeting.   I hope to see you there.

My Best ,
Michael Tomb
(former)  Communications Coordinator Highland Park Neighborhood Association

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