Buell Avenue - Kelsey's Landing

Rochester Daily Democrat June 15, 1841 2-1

"Buell Avenue" - This is the name given by the Common Council to the new road to the Land-in now in process of construction by Wm, Buell, Esq. It is a stupendous improvement, and the projector deserves great credit for the enterprise with which he has pursued the work under almost insurmountable obstacles. The road is visited daily by large numbers of citizens. he surrounding scenery is beautiful.

Rochester Republican November 23, 1841 1-7

Steamboat Landing - Road On The West Side Of The River - An effort is now making to open a road from a point near Dr. McCracken's along the face of the west bank of the Genesee, to a point opposite the middle warehouse, at Carthage Landing. From the make of the land on the proposed route the project is no doubt feasible at no very considerable expense. For the full particulars of the project, and the benefits expected to result there from, the reader is referred to a circular put forth by Gardner McCracken, having special reference to the subject.

Rochester Daily Advertiser, Saturday Morning April 5,1845

Report of the Committee on Streets In Relation to Buell Avenue

Referred to in the proceedings of Common Council of April 1. The connittee to whom was referred the subject of Buell Avenue would respectively report, that they have made a personal inspection of the work, and find that a road has been constructed at an expense of about ten thousand dollars as they are informed and believe. A considerable portion of the same has been made by the excavation into solid rock. A portion has been made by constructing a wall and filling in with earth embankment. Some portion of the wall and embankment has slid down the hill some 12 or15 feet, leaving that part of the roadway upon solid rock adjoining said slide too narrow to be safe for teams to pass in the night. They also found that the number of culverts mentioned in the contract of Wm. Buell, Esq. have not been built. Also, that the ????? is deficient according to the contract. The committee have seen Mr. Buell and have ascertained from him that he does not intend to do anymore work upon the road. He said he had changed the grade of the road by the consent and direction of the street committee, thereby increasing the expenses of construction more than three thousand dollars by extra rock excavation thereby making the road much better than it would have been if constructed according to John McConnell's survey as mentioned in the contract, as by the grade made by Mr. McConnell there would have been much less rock excavation, and the road would have been more on earth embankment, consequently exposed to more damage. The committee are of opinion that the grade has been changed and the expenses of construction thereby increased, and that the road is much better made in solid rock than it would have been on earth embankment according to the contract, as the bank and wall would be liable to slide. The road has not yet been accepted by the Common Council. Neither have the necessary steps been taken to obtain a title to the land over which the road passes. The committee are of the opinion that so much has been done by the Common Council that the city would be liable for damages, if any accident should happen in consequence of the road being out of repair. 'I herenote the committee would recommend that the necessary steps be taken to obtain a title to the lands over which the road passes; and that the contract with Mr. Buell be canceled by his relinquishing all further claim against the city for the construction of the same, and that the Common Council accept the same. The committee are also of the opinion that to put the road in good repair and to improve McCracken street from State street to the head of Buell Avenue, which seems to be necessary in order to have a good Mc Adamized road from the business part of the city to the Steamboat Landing, will cost from $1000 to $1200. The highway fund is so small that they do not see how anything can be taken from that fund in justice to the public good. Therefore the committee see no other way to complete the improvement, but to resort to a local tax for the same. It is desirable to have a good and convenient road to the Steamboat Landing, and that portion most benefited by the same should bear the burden.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Rochester Daily Democrat April 23, 1847 2-3

Buell Avenue

Alderman Ward Smith presented the Common Council the following report inreference to Buell Avenue, which was read and ordered published. The committee , to whom was referred the Petition of Alexander Kelsey on the subject of the location of Buell Avenue, reported: That they have examined the grounds at the termination of said Avenue, and find that the complaint is worthy of the attention of the Common Council. It appears that at the time the contract was made with William Buell, the city limits extended only to the north line of original lot No. 12: and that William Buell agreed in his contract to give the city a good title to all that part of the street which should extend beyond the city limits at the time of the completion of said street or avenue. Before such completion the Legislature extended the northern limits of the city so as to include all the land through which the Avenue passed, thus leaving it under the control of the city authorities. There was also a clause in said contract, specifying that at the termination of said street or avenue, on the Genesee river it should be " five rods wide" at such point as the Common Council might designate. It appears also from the proceedings of our predecessors, that, upon the flat, near the termination of said street, it was to be but thirty feet wide, excepting at the termination, which as before stated, was to be "five rods," and in accordance with such contract the then City Surveyor, J.M. Bruff, under the direction of the city authorities, did locate the Avenue, upon the flat, and on the river, and by the resolution of the Common Council, on the 11th of June, 1844, the plan and survey of the City Surveyor was adopted. The petitioner , it appears, then made excavations at considerable expense for the purpose of erecting a storehouse and dock, which, in the opinion of the committee, are very useful to the city and credible to the petitioner. Since that period, the business of the Harbor has much increased, and the small amount of ground at the termination of said street , makes it important to the city as well as to the petitioner, that great economy should be usedin its appropriation, in order to facilitate the business of the port, which your committee believe to be of much importance to our growing city.

The petitioner, after some arguing by your committee, consented that said street should be forty feet wide on the flat, instead of thirty feet, as originally located, and at its termination on the river one hundred feet wide, instead of eighty two and one-half feet as stated in said contract. Your committee are of opinion, that this will answer every purpose for a street and landing; and if, at any future day, it should become necessary to erect a public dock, that one of this length on the river would be amply sufficient. The Genesee River, at this point, is a public highway, and if a vessel should be moored at a dock at the north or south end of a public dock, or at each end, there would be sufficient room for two vessels to unload at the same time at the public dock. It is not indispensible, that a vessel loading or unloading, should have the whole broadside lying at the dock. The loading of a steamer is generally at the forward gangway, and while discharging or receiving freight the stern can lap the bow of any other boat, which mat lie below or above the point for loading, and a second or even a third vessel can thus discharge and receive her cargo without interfering with each other. -----

This is the usual mode of unloading at our large shipping ports. Your committee are therefore unanimously of the opinion that it will be equitable, and best promote the interests of the city, to continue the street or avenue, as laid by the late survey of the City Surveyor to a point one hundred feet distant from the northern termination of said survey, and then run directly to the Genesee River, making one hundred feet front on said river.

L. Ward Smith

J. M. Fish

John Disbrow,


Accepted and ordered published.

The committee then ordered the following resolution:

Resolved, That all further proceedings in locating Buell Avenue, be suspended, and that the City Attorney be instructed to draw an Ordinance in accordance with the location here to width recommended, unless the owners of said land within a reasonable time, convey the said land, by a good and sufficient title, to the City.

Laid on the table.

Rochester Republican December 8, 1846 3-1

Local Matters

Projected Improvements in our Harbor

-More Propellers - Another Water Power

A few years ago the Harbor of Rochester but very little attention, in consequence of the difficulty of getting at it, but the construction of Buell Avenue, and the great improvements in the road on the east side of the river, has drawn towards it the attention of capitalists and businessmen in general. Until last summer, the idea of turning out Propellers, and those ,too, of the of the largest class, had been thought of, it is true, but the experiment until that time had remained untried. During the last season two have been built - the Genesee Chief" and the Ontario" both splendid specimens of workmanship - and that the project will pay, is no longer a matter of uncertainty.

Still further improvements, we understand, are now being contemplated, which will render the Harbor one of the most convenient and accessible on the Lake. It is said that ALEXANDER KELSEY & CO. have recently purchased of Mr. HORACE HOOKER, his four warehouses, docks, &c., at the landing on the east side of the river, including all the buildings and land attached.

The same firm have now a dock on the west side of the river 570 feet long, but this has been found insufficient for the increasing trade of the Port. They now design constructing a second deck, 640 feet long and 90 wide, commencing about five rods above their present one, and running south. To make this dock, will require the filling up of 11,000 yards of earth embankment. It will be eight feet above high water mark, and will make an admirable place for the landing of vessels. Other improvements which may be found necessary will be made during the coming season.

Since the contemplated plan for improving the harbor was communicated to us, an idea has suggested itself that may, perhaps, one day be carried into execution, and which to our view, presents a plan which is perfectly feasible. The vast West is yearly increasing its productive resources, and sending to the markets of the East an amount of grain which is almost beyond calculation. This grain must be sent to market in the raw, or in other words before it is floured, in consequence of the want of facilities for that purpose where it is raised. Great as the amount already is, it will be vastly increased from year to year, as emigration flows in, and this finds an outlet mainly through the Erie and Wellans Canals. To land the grain at our port, ands cart it up to our city, flour it and reship it at the landing, would cost more when delivered at Syracuse, than to sent it directly down the Erie Canal. All this trouble and expense , however, in our view, may be obviated by the construction of Flouring Mills at Carthage - for which a sufficient water power may be obtained from the river at comparatively little expense. - . This would enable the schooners and propellers to land their grain upon the dock, to have it floured, and immediately re-load and convey their cargoes, converted into flour, to Oswego, whence it will find its way to the east through the canal to Syracuse, thence through the Erie

By taking this route, some sixty miles of canal navigation will be cut off, the difference this city and Syracuse, and Oswego and Syracuse. The expense in conveying it conveying it in propellers from Rochester to Oswego, would not be as great as the transportation by canal, with the state tolls added. And although would not be of as much benefit to Rochester, as though the grain was floured in the city, we have no doubt it will be eventually be adopted. The number of Propellers hailing from our port, will continue to increase from year to year - it being in contemplation to build two the approaching season, the keel for on of which is already laid - so that the trade of Rochester directly, with other places west, and along the Lake, will form a very considerable item in the business our thriving city.

In the contemplated improvements of which we have given an idea above - and the cost of which will be some $15,000 to $20,000 - the enterprising firm deserve a vast deal of credit.

The Rochester Historical Society - Publication Fund Series Volume II - 1928

The Rise and Fall of Carthage page 215

"The promoters of Kelsey's Landing on the west side where some freight was shipped and considerable boat building was done for years coveted the thriving business done at Carthage Landing. The roads on both sides of the river were execrable and a scheme was put through the council to improve Buell Avenue by cutting out a fine road through the rock. A large warehouse was built at the dock with a modern grain elevator; also a hotel and a line of omnibusses ran from the city to the dock. Carthage had met her Waterloo. The new landing took all of the steamboat business and most of the freight, retaining it until the New York Central railroad to Charlotte was built."