50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Rochester

This article was scraped from Rochester Subway. This is a blog about Rochester history and urbanism has not been published since 2017. The current owners are now publishing link spam which made me want to preserve this history.. The original article was published November 11, 2014 and can be found here.

Ok, here we go, from the real estate listing site     Movoto.com

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comes the top 50 things you PROBABLY didn't know about Rochester... or did you?

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Rochester NY. [PHOTO: Flickr User Da Da Z]

1. The man who invented the "calculating machine"--now more complex and known simply as "the calculator"--he was from Rochester.

2. Rochester has the least expensive real estate market out of all major New York cities, with a median housing price of only $83,000.

3. The inventor of breakfast cereal, James Caleb Jackson, is from the Rochester area. His masterpiece was called Granula and it had to be soaked overnight to be eaten.

4. There's a potential $25 fine for flirting anywhere in the state, including Rochester.

5. Marshmallows were first commercially produced in Rochester.

6. Graham crackers were also developed by a local businessman, completing the S'more.

7. eBaum's world is based in Rochester, creator Eric Bauman's home town.

8. The Buffalo Bills hold their annual summer camp at the nearby St. John Fisher College.

9. In 1889, the voting machine was invented in Rochester.

10. The first gold tooth was made by a Rochester dentist.

11. Rochester the highest deaf population per capita in the nation, largely because they're home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

12. Two-time Super Bowl champion coach of the New York Giants, Tom Coughlin, started his career in Rochester teaching physical education and coaching the varsity football team at Rochester Institute of Technology.

13. Rochester got ranked the "most livable city" in America by the Places Rated Almanac a few years ago.

14. It's against the law to throw a snowball towards someone's head in Rochester.

15. Lake Ontario is the 14th largest lake in the world, but the smallest of the Great Lakes by surface area.

16. While Lake Ontario is the fourth deepest among the Great Lakes, its average depth is much greater, putting it at second. Who really knows what's hiding down there?

17. Rochester was once known as the "Flour City" due to the large number of flour mills on the Genesee.

18. It was then known as the "Flower City" as the local industry moved towards the nursery business.

19. The geography of Rochester was formed by sliding ice sheets, which stopped at the southern border thus creating a line of hills.

20. Over 2,000 people participated in the "world's largest human flower" at this year's Lilac festival, confirmed by Guinness World Records.

21. Rochester gets a ton of snow due to the "lake effect," in which moisture coming off Lake Ontario freezes in the cold air and gets dumped on nearby land.

22. Xerox was originally founded in Rochester under the name "The Haloid Company" in 1906.

23. There are 500 professional firefighters in the Rochester Fire Department, responding to 40,000 calls annually.

24. The local "white hot" is white due to lack of smoking and curing.

25. Rochester has six sister cities around the world, including one in France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Poland, and Mali.

26. When French's mustard company was in Rochester its address was 1 Mustard Street. It was the first company to have widespread mustard sales.

27. Browncroft neighborhood was built onto top of the Brown Brothers nursery grounds.

28. While Labatt is often marketed as a Canadian beer, some of its products are actually made by Genesee Brewing Company in Rochester.

29. The man who hit the first home run in a professional baseball a man from the Rochester area, Ross Barnes, in 1876.

30. The Xerox Tower is 443 feet tall and it's often called "Toner Tower" due to its grey color and history of occupants.

31. The Lilac Festival is the largest of its type in North America, attracting 500,000 people each year.

32. A lab at the University of Rochester is home to the second most energetic fusion laser in the world.

33. Francis Tumblety grew up in Rochester and is one of the main suspects of the Jack the Ripper murder spree, making frequent trips back and forth between America and England during the timeline of the murders.

34. Rochester is the largest metropolitan area in America that does not have a university playing at the NCAA Division I level in all sports. The only teams that do are RIT's hockey squads.

35. Rochester is named after the city's founder Colonial Nathaniel Rochester when it only had a population of 15.

36. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is a Rochester native.

37. Rochester man, George Baldwin Selden, patented the concept of the automobile. While he didn't make many cars, the people who did had to pay him.

38. Late Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was born in Rochester.

39. Much of the popular band "Gym Class Heroes" are from the Rochester area.

40. Captain America wouldn't be around if not for Rochester native Joe Simon.

41. If Captain America doesn't make Rochester patriotic enough, The Pledge of Allegiance was written by native Francis Bellamy.

42. The University of Rochester is the sixth largest employer in the state of New York with over 20,000 employees at all of their locations.

43. Buffalo Bill's children are buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery.

44. The Rochester Red Wings participated in the longest professional game of baseball ever, 33 innings in 1981.

45. Rochester students lined up 1,036 tacos in attempt to break the record for longest string of edible tacos.

46. America's only antique carousel in its original location is at Ontario Beach Park.

47. George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, donated over $100 million towards higher education, most of which was distributed locally in Rochester. That's the equivalent of $2 billion today.

48. America's first thermometers were manufactured in Rochester in 1851 by David Kendall and George Taylor.

49. The first dentist's chair was designed in Rochester.

50. James Cutler of Rochester invented the mail chute in 1889 for a skyscraper he was working on.

I know the headline says "50 Things You Didn't Know," but because you've been so well-behaved, here are two more as a bonus...

51. Known as the voice of Lord Farquaad in "Shrek" and the ruthless Trinity Killer in "Dexter," John Lithgow is from Rochester.

52. RIT once had a real Bengal tiger as their mascot. He was named Spirit and roamed campus on a regular basis.

And there you have it. So what are your favorite fun facts about Rochester? Did they miss any? Drop a comment below.

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA