I recently found myself downtown at the City Hall of Rochester, New York. I have driven by this building hundreds of times but never had cause to go inside. Now I am regretful that it has taken me this long to enter the structure. I am in awe! I found myself downtown at the City Hall of Rochester, New York. I have driven by this building hundreds of times but never had cause to go inside. Now I am regretful that it has taken me this long to enter the structure. I am in awe! After my assignment I did some research on the history of the City Hall and discovered that the City Hall District actually consists of four buildings arranged in a 19th-century civic complex. The buildings are the Rochester City Hall, Monroe County Courthouse, Rochester Free Academy, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The current City Hall was built in the late 1880’s and opened to the public as the Federal Building. Over the years the building has housed offices for customs, taxation, courts, prohibition control, draft board, the F.B.I. and until the 1930’s, the Rochester Main Post Office.
Upon entering the main doors, your eyes are immediately drawn to the Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture. Dual staircases lined with ornate wrought iron railings wind around marble columns. The lines of the halls extend past the curved stairs and the antique clock suspended from the ceiling.
Throughout the building there are several stairwells leading to the multiple levels. The views from both above and below are spectacular. Following the curves of the railings is mesmurizing.
The stairways open to each of the three levels of the Atrium. Immediately visible are the ornate arches, which are the fundamental design element throughout the old section of City Hall. These arches are repeated symmetrically in rows on all sides at each floor level, surrounding the spacious central opening that runs through every floor. The arches are supported by Tennessee marble columns with hand carved capitals decorating the tops. There is an enormous skylight ceiling constructed of glass and decorative trusses that allow light to stream down throughout all levels of the Atrium.
Poised between the arches on this level, cast iron “Liberty” goddesses wearing eagle talon necklaces are intended to symbolize America. Lions cast in plaster embellish the walls among the arches on the next level. Above the lions, Neptune heads, also cast in plaster, oversee the entire Atrium.
In conclusion, I would strongly recommend a visit to the Rochester City Hall building. It is truly a hidden gem in our fine city. If you make the trip, do yourself a favor and allow yourself some time to explore the halls and floors of the facility.
Ray Sheley III is the Owner of R3D Media, a professional photography, video and aerial firm that specializes in architectural, real estate and commercial photography. Ray is a member of the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers (AIAP) and has almost a decade of experience working with architects, engineers, developers, realtors and business professionals nationally to photograph their properties, projects or products for marketing purposes.
Ray’s work can be seen here: www.r3dmedia.com