Did You Know…(7)

 

    • Rochester New York (Roc City) was host to one of the first downtown indoor malls in the U.S. and was dedicated on April 10, 1962.
    • Victor Gruen not only designed Midtown Plaza but also Southdale Center, which was located in the suburbs of Minneapolis in 1956.
    • The idea of Midtown Plaza Mall was born as a result of discussions between Gilbert J.C. McCurdy, owner of McCurdy’s department store and Maurice F. Forman, owner of the B. Forman Co. department store. .
    • As suburban shopping malls outside of Rochester began to emerge, Midtown Plaza lost its vibrancy and started to struggle in the 1980s.
    • The last original tenant(s) of Midtown Plaza was a Record Theater store and a U.S. Post office.
    • On October 16,2007, it was announced that Midtown Plaza would be torn down and replaced by PAETEC Headquarters.
    • Midtown Plaza’s final Christmas season was celebrated in 2007. Midtown Plaza’s chief engineer donated a 40ft Douglas Fir tree. *Getting the ‘holiday’ tree into Midtown Plaza was always a major event, as traffic was interrupted on N. Clinton Ave near the side entrance to the plaza. The tree(s) had to be dragged into the mall on its side. I feel honored to have witnessed this on many occasions, being that I worked downtown for several years before the mall’s closing.
    • The “Monorail” was a familiar structure during every Christmas holiday season. **Hundreds of kids would wait patiently in line with their parents to get on this train that rode high above the mall floor traveling in a square formation. Sadly, the ‘monorail’ had its last go-round on December 24, 2007.
    • Six Rochester Radio Stations of Clear Channel Communications signed off the air on midnight on December 31, 2008.
    • Midtown Plaza closed its doors to the mourning public for the last time on July 29, 2008.
    • The Adirondack Transit Lines Bus Station, the last Midtown Plaza occupant, closed on November 3, 2009.
    • Geri Kavenaugh designed the Clock of Nations, a very well known Midtown Plaza attraction. This infamous clock was representative of twelve nations and had twelve cylinders displaying a puppet scene for each nation. When the Clock of Nations was originally unveiled, it was revered as an important piece of art. The original puppetry had to be replaced in the 1970s because it had not been well-maintained. Oddly enough, a local housewife contributed her handy work to the replacement puppetry.
    • Once Midtown Plaza closed, the Clock of Nations was moved for a brief time to the Greater Rochester International Airport terminal. It’s permanent residence is now at the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

It’s so sad when I drive through downtown Rochester New York in this day and age. The place where Midtown Plaza once stood, looks completely different. Had you not seen what it looked like before its demise, you might find it difficult to picture what was once there. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to become very acquainted with Midtown Plaza before all these changes were put into affect. Nothing beats those memories!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

 

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