If you’ve spent much time in the Triangle neighborhood, you’ll know that one of its major sources of pride is the last standing cobblestone house in the City of Rochester, located at Culver Road and Grand Avenue. The house, built in the mid-1800s, suffers from both a mid-19th century addition on the south side (somewhat unattractive) and a large plaza built adjacent on the north side (very unattractive). Nonetheless, although it has been vacant for over a decade, the structural integrity of the cobblestone walls has remained, and so has the neighborhood’s interest in the property’s revitalization. The scoop: the owner is now in conversation with the Landmark Society (who included the property on their 2015 “Five to Revive” list) and a potential developer to rehabilitate and reoccupy the building, perhaps into a mixed-use or commercial gathering space (when last occupied, it was a four-family residential).
Exciting as these developments are, it is no excuse to ignore the property—and its large, paved lot—in the meantime! With support and funding from the Healthy Blocks initiative at NeighborWorks® Rochester, ground was recently broken on the Culver-facing side of the cobblestone for a new public micropark. The space—which will feature a seating area, trees, and low-maintenance perennials and shrubs in addition to a large grassy area—will serve both as a face-lift on the Culver Road streetscape and a resting and gathering place that improves the overall walkability of this gateway artery through the Triangle and Beechwood neighborhoods.
House and park aside, what better way to gather the neighborhood around the property in a positive way than a holiday where families are already outside en masse regardless of weather—Halloween, of course! The first annual Cobbleween, originally invented as a playful not to the “zombie” condition of the house, happened October 31st 2017 from 6-8 PM and was a huge success. Cobbleween, planned and executed by the Triangle neighborhood group with support from Healthy Blocks, featured music, decorations, pumpkin painting, face painting, free donuts, cider, and coffee, the Rochester Mounted Police, outside games, a costume photo booth, giveaways, and tons of candy! Businesses and organizations from within and outside the Triangle pitched in to make in-kind donations, including Lowe’s, Mayer Cider Mill, St. Mark’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Donuts DeLite, Elite House of Hair Fashions, New City Café, NeighborWorks® Rochester, the Landmark Society, Broccolo Tree & Lawn, Merchants Grill, and the Healthi Kids Coalition.
Cobbleween proved to be a huge hit! Donuts, cider, coffee, and pumpkins ran out long before the stream of visitors, and the neighborhood estimates that over 150 people attended, mostly families with young children on the trick-or-treat. The Triangle plans to make Cobbleween an annual event—neighborhood volunteers were scheming how to make 2018 bigger and better before the night was even over! Would you like to be involved in this and other fun and meaningful Triangle neighborhood projects and events? The leadership group meets every third Thursday of the month at 6:30 at Johnny’s Pub. Please join—all are welcome!