Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Main Street Stories: State Savings Bank Building

The business block at 408-410 S. Main (east side, between Fourth and University) was built to be the home of the State Savings Bank of Rochester, one of the shortest-lived banks in Rochester history, but the building also has ties to one of the community's oldest businesses.

The State Savings Bank of Rochester filed its articles of incorporation in April 1907, with George M. Flumerfelt as president and Charles A. Burr as cashier. Later that same month, the bank announced its intention to build a new, two-story brick business block on Main Street. The new State Savings Bank building opened in the summer of 1907, with the bank occupying the north side of the block at the 410 S. Main address, and the furniture and undertaking business of Sullivan & Tuttle occupying the south side at 408 S. Main.

William M. Sullivan and Edward A. Tuttle had formed their furniture and undertaking partnership in 1906. Sullivan, of Royal Oak, also had a funeral business in that city, and after a couple of years in Rochester returned to Royal Oak and left the Rochester business in the hands of partner Tuttle. Edward Tuttle sold his part of the business to Thomas E. Nichols in 1910, and Nichols subsequently bought out Sullivan's interest. (William M. Sullivan continued on with his Royal Oak funeral business, which eventually became known as Sullivan & Sons, and continues today with locations in Royal Oak and Utica, which are operated by the fourth generation of the family.)

Meanwhile, in Rochester, T.E. Nichols' undertaking business prospered, and eventually moved to West Fifth Street (now University Drive). In 1920, Nichols formed a partnership with Vern A. Pixley and the business became known as Nichols & Pixley. In 1953, it became the Pixley Funeral Home.

The State Savings Bank of Rochester, however, had a much shorter history. It lasted only three years, until August 1910, at which time it was liquidated and merged with the First National Bank of Rochester.

Over the years, the 410 side of the State Savings Bank building has been occupied at various times by Hale's Shoe Store, the Rochester Eccentric office, Carlson Wagonlit travel agency, and since October 2008 by the Green Baby store. The 408 side of the building has been home to Sullivan & Tuttle, the Rochester Imperial Laundry, Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor, and for the last couple of decades, the Subway sandwich shop (among others).

The State Savings Bank building celebrates its 102nd birthday this summer.

Photo: The State Savings Bank building as it looked when it opened in 1907.

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