Saturday, April 9, 2011

Vanished Rochester: Swayze Livery Stable

For about a century, Rochester had a fine livery stable on West Fifth Street (now University Drive), just west of Main Street. The brick livery barn was built by William Swayze, a New Jersey transplant, most likely around 1872 or 1873, right after the first railroad line came to town. It was situated on the north side of the street, directly behind Swayze's residence, which stood on the northwest corner of Main and Fifth (where the gas station is today), and directly across Fifth Street from the rear of the Lambertson House hotel (later Hotel St. James, and now site of the Bean & Leaf Cafe). The livery stood approximately where the Morton Pharmacy/Rochester Apothecary building is now located.

In 1874, the Rochester Era ran a lengthy description of Swayze's livery business, which said in part:
The building is a fine modern brick structure 32x60 feet on the ground and two stories in height, located on Fifth street near Main. His live stock consists of fourteen horses, always kept up in fine order and ready at any time for the road. His "rolling stock" embraces six top buggies, two open carriages, one double platform spring vehicle, and one stage coach. His "sliding stock" consists of six single cutters, and one double seated cutter. The aggregate amount of capital invested in the concern figures up $10,000, while the business of the house annually runs up to not less than $7,000.
William Swayze died in 1887 and his livery business was continued for a couple of decades by the Hadden family. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the old brick barn was a livery of a different sort, when it served as home of the Carmichael Bus Lines operated by Earl and Nelda Carmichael. (I remember sitting in the drafty - and, as I recall, smelly - old building a time or two in the early 1960s, waiting while my father did some freelance maintenance work on Nelda Carmichael's buses.) After Carmichael Bus Lines departed, the building housed Houghten's Power Center for a time, and it was finally demolished around 1971, not long after the Butts-Swayze house on the corner of University and Main was razed to make room for the gas station.

This photo shows the former Swayze livery and Butts-Swayze residence around 1970, just before both buildings were razed. The camera is looking east-northeast along University Drive toward the intersection of Main. (Photo courtesy of Clarence and Dorene Whitbey)

1 comment:

  1. I remember Carmichael Bus Lines. They provided transport for parochial schools (St. Andrews) in the area in the early to mid 1960s. My parents paid something like $3 per week to have me picked up at school and taken home. Their buses were quite old.