Monday, August 1, 2011

This Month in Rochester History

Fifty years ago this month, Rochester was welcoming a new merchant to the downtown business district.  Jeweler Lee T. Lamereaux announced that he had sold his business at 409 S. Main to Ernest and Violet Heller.  Ernest Heller, a native of Vienna and World War II veteran, had operated a jewelry repair business at Selfridge Air Force Base for eleven years, and before that had been a merchant in Croswell.

The physical location of Heller's Jewelry has a long history in Rochester. Before Heller, Lee T. Lamereaux operated the business which he bought from jeweler Pauline Palmer when she retired in the late 1950s. Pauline Palmer was the daughter of longtime Rochester merchant Louis E. Palmer, who  built a two-story building to house  his jewelry business to Rochester in 1883 and over time, built the entire block of buildings from 409 through 417 S. Main.
Heller's Jewelry opened at 409 S. Main in late August 1961 and is still located there today.  Ernest Heller died in 1994 and his wife, Violet passed away in 2000; the business is now operated by their son, George Heller. Happy Birthday, Heller's!


  1. I remember getting my first timex watch there around 1968. I think it cost $10. Was a big deal!

  2. I remember judging all prices at about that time according to the price of a Monopoly board game, which was $4. I thought that was a price that would take a while to save up one's allowance to afford, but doable. Then my dad was given a free copy of a fancy art book demonstrating the print possibilities of the new Day-Glo bright inks. The book had a price of $10 on it. How insanely extravagant, I thought! A book for $10...I thought whoever gave Dad that book must be rich (a paper company, maybe, or ink company).

    So I can vouch for $10 being a pretty dear price for a Timex watch in 1968.

  3. Louis Eugene Palmer came to Rochester from Saline in 1878.

    Ray Henry