Hilton Hotels Eyes Some Interesting Old Buildings on Main Street

Hilton Hotels Eyes Some Interesting Old Buildings on Main Street

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 May 09, 2013 and can be found here.

The Hilton hotel chain is strongly considering adapting this five-story former National Clothing Store on Main Street into a Hilton Garden Inn. [PHOTO: Rochester Public Library]

   A recent     story

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in the Rochester Business Journal had me pleasantly surprised to learn that the Hilton hotel chain is strongly considering adapting a five-story former clothing store at     155 E. Main Street

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into a Hilton Garden Inn. Around the corner at     25 Stone Street

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, a smaller two-story building (formerly the Stone Street Grill) would also be part of the 15 million dollar plan.

Normally I don't get all revved up for national chains, but there are at least two REALLY good things happening here: Private interest/investment in Main Street (good), AND adaptive reuse of three or four old buildings (REALLY GOOD).

I also learned something very interesting about these buildings. What's old may be new again...

This building used to be a National Clothing Store. Here's what it looked like in 1947. [PHOTO: Rochester Municipal Archives]

   The primary building on Main Street was originally a National Clothing Store. Here's what it looked like in 1947 (above).

But before it was a clothing store, there had already been one hotel on this site...

Hotel Eggleston. 1916. [PHOTO: Rochester Public Library]

   The Hotel Eggleston was located here from 1898-1925. The photo above shows the hotel as it was in 1916. Library archives indicate this building may have been built just after the Civil War although exact construction dates are unknown.

The National Clothing Store replaced the Hotel Eggleston and is shown in this 1926 plat map. [IMAGE: Rochester Public Library]

   Also known as the Eggleston Hotel or Eggleston "stag" Hotel, in 1925 the hotel moved to 48-50 South Avenue so that the building could be razed to make way for the National Clothing Store (shown in the 1926 plat map above).

But wait, there's more...

Hotel Eggleston in 1924. Offices of James Vick's Sons seed company can be seen around the corner on Stone Street. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]

   By 1925 the ground floor shops included Harry L. Zelter (which sold trunks, leathergoods, bags, and travel equipment), and Henry J. Klee (which sold men's furnishings). And look around the corner.

At 25 Stone Street we can see a vertical sign that reads, "Vick Quality Seeds." That was one of the offices of James Vick's Sons seed company!

You know     Mr. Vick

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... one of the dudes who helped turn the Flour City into the FLOWER City. Rochester still has two streets in the Park Avenue area called Vick Park A and Vick Park B. Yes...     that    Vick.

Of course, James Vick died of pneumonia in 1882. But his sons carried on his monthly floral magazine and seed business, which prospered into the early 1900's before being sold to the Burpee Seed Company.

But here comes the cool part. I     think    those are the same buildings that are still there today - as the former Stone Street Grill!

The former Stone Street Grill, and offices of James Vick's Sons seed company. [PHOTO: Rochester Public Library]

   It looks like one of the buildings has had its top 2 floors removed. You can still see the window sills just below the roof line. But compare these two buildings to the ones in the black and white photo above. Yup. There's no doubt about it. James Vicks wuz here.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the first one to discover this. But does the City (and Hilton) realize this was one of the Vick seed company offices? I'm not sure. The building doesn't appear on the City's list of landmarks or Designated Buildings of Historic Value. I realize not every building deserves to be a landmark. But this one might deserve a closer look.

Let's hope Hilton and Thomas Masaschi of DHD Ventures LLC realize what they've got here. If you have any more information on these buildings, please drop a comment below.

Thanks to Benjamin Woelk at     GardenAerial

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for help with this story.

UPDATE:    I received some bad news from a City employee today who says the Vick building will be demolished. "For better or worse, this project was permitted as of right downtown and only needed to go through an administrative process known as 'site plan review.' It received all its zoning and building approvals already and, alas alas, 25 Stone Street is not on any sort of protected list and will be demolished and rebuilt as the hotel's drop-off entrance."

Chris Gemignani

Chris Gemignani

Rochester, NY, USA