2.1 Population and demographics

2.1.1 Rochester

By 1918 the city of Rochester had absorbed many neighboring lands and towns, doubling its size from 1874. The Federal census in 1910, assigned Rochester six townships: Brighton, Gates, Greece, Irondequoit, Pittsford, and Perinton. At this time 41.4% of people in Rochester were staying and living in the same place. Most of this stability came from Italian and eastern European immigrants, who were establishing homes, churches, neighborhoods, and creating their own jobs. Statistical evidence of this is in the 1890 census, which says there were 53,655 children of mixed or foreign born parentage, but only 39,930 children of native white parents. However, by the 1920's many of those 'mixed' parentage children were having children who were considered near equal to those of native white parents; and thus at 111,976 and 110,792 they grossly outnumbered the new wave of 71,411 foreign born in Rochester.

One of the things that made Rochester so appealing to immigrants was its houses. Near all residences throughout the nineteenth century were separated family homes, and typically owned by their occupants. However, after the turn of the century the city became more dense and houses were being crammed everywhere.

In the 1920 Census, Rochester reported 295,750 people, with an average of 10,025 people per square mile. Italians comprised the largest immigrant residents in Rochester at this time. The number of Russian and German immigrants, while beginning to drop by 1920, were a close second and third. Irish, Canadian, and English immigrants also made up sizeable portions of Rochester in 1920. Despite new healthcare, children under the age of five had decreased from 14% of the population to 10%. This also reflected the longer life span in Rochester and the influx of young women from abroad; who came to Rochester for the many work opportunities for women. Young women now outnumbered young men, resulting in the largest surplus of unmarried young women ever before in Rochester and cities of it's class. The age of people between 45 and 65 in 1855 had doubled by 1920, and was majority unmarried women and widows. The immigrant laws passed in 1921 and 1924 slowed Rochester's population growth. Rochester had about 50,000 automobiles in 1920.

Corn Hill
The oldest and at one time most prosperous neighborhood in Rochester, located in the Third Ward, was Corn Hill. It was established in 1812 and originally known as Rochesterville. This was the first African American neighborhood in Rochester with freed slaves beginning to move in as early as 1810. In 1922 the African American YWCA was founded at 192 Clarissa Street since the YMCA was still segregated.

A neighborhood in the Northwest Quadrant, Dutchtown (a mispronunciation of the word "Deutsch") was originally settled by German immigrants who worked the mills near High Falls, another northwest neighborhood. Most of the houses were small cottages but a few of the more well of residents built two story houses. Henry Gold Danforth and Henry Groh were notable residents of this area.

Brown Square
Another Northwest neighborhood, Brown square sits on what was the first city park and used to train the militia and eventually to encourage kids to enjoy recreation. Irish immigrants moved into this area and eventually Italian immigrants. This area was know for large close families as both of these groups would sponsor relatives and friends to make the trip to America and Rochester.

This northwest neighborhood was located along a shady strip of the Genesee River originally intended to be a park. Between 1870 and the 1930s, estates and distinctive homes were built on large lots.

Go here for information about all the Rochester neighborhoods and their location.

2.1.2 Monroe County

The 1920 census for Rochester had 350,000 people in Monroe County.

2.2 Geographic features

The most obvious geographic feature of Rochester is that is sits on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. Rochester is also known for the river that cuts straight through its center, the Genesee River. Throughout the city of Rochester, a multitude of bridges, both vehicular and otherwise, are constructed, largely for passage over the Genesee. Rochester lies at an elevation of roughly 500 feet.

Rochester's physical geography was cut from the earth as a result of many iterations of ice sheets during the ice ages. These ice sheets are to thank for Rochester's numerous hills and valleys, as well as other landmarks such as the Genesee River, with its three impressive waterfalls, and the nearby Finger Lakes. The nearby Hemlock Lake has served as the primary water source for Rochester since 1873. Reasons for its selection include the purity and the abundance of the water available as compared to Lake Ontario or any of the nearby Finger Lakes.

2.3 Climate

Rochester's climate is largely affected by something known as lake effect. The most common usage of the term is to explain the large amounts of snow that areas near large bodies of water in the north experience. As cold winds move clouds across warm bodies of water, evaporation occurs. The clouds then carry the vapor onto the colder landmass and deposit the vapor en masse as snow or ice crystals. This can occur because a large body of water will take much longer to change temperature than the land surrounding it will.

On average, there are as about as many sunny days as there are days with precipitation in Rochester over the course of a year, with that precipitation being spread quite evenly throughout the year. This precipitation is mostly snow, as Rochester historically falls just below the US average for rainfall in a year. As with most of the northern United States, Rochester experiences a full and distinct four seasons every year.