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The “Flour City” in the Finger Lakes

In the early days of our country, rivers and canals played a key role in transporting people and goods in the Finger Lakes region. Evidence of the Erie Canal which was opened on Oct. 26, 1825 in Rochester, NY can still be seen as one travels along routes 490 near Pittsford and also along route 390 near the Rochester International Airport. Rochester, NY became known as the “Flour City” because more flour was shipped from Rochester in the 1840’s than in any other American City.

The remains of the Erie Canal can still be seen in downtown Rochester as in 1842, a second Erie Canal Aqueduct was built across the Genesee River. This aqueduct still exists today as the lower arched portion of the Broad Street Bridge. Cars use the upper portion of the bridge but no water flows in the lower arched portion.

Other tall buildings of America’s industrial might are located in downtown Rochester: the Xerox building, Bausch and Lomb Place, Chase Tower, and Kodak Tower. But even at noon time on a weekday, the streets are pretty much deserted, a stark reminder of a once young and bustling Finger Lakes City.

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