6.1 Transportation

6.1.1 Steamships
The Genesee River served as a scenic gateway for local sailing clubs and steamships (often called "steamers") to travel through. Especially in the summer season, these steamships were very busy, carrying tourists as well as those looking for bay-side picnics and other outings. "Much of the traffic came from Ontario Lake steamships transporting Rochesterians to resorts at Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands, Kingston, Alexandira Bay, Toronto, and Montreal." (Shilling, Rochester's Transportation Heritage) Freights and other smaller vessels traveled through the city on the Erie Canal, often hauled by animals such as mules, before it was closed and drained in 1918.

6.1.2 Horses and Horse-drawn vehicles
Horses and horse-drawn vehicles were one of the primary methods of transportation in the19th century. Growing pollution from horses and a hoot-and-mouth epidemic in 1870 caused a search for a better answer for travel. By 1890 they had been overcome by the rising popularity of other mediums of transit -- primarily trolleys in the city -- though they did not disappear. Horse-drawn wagons were still used in smaller extent for travel as well as for transportation of goods into the 1940s, for example the delivery of coal to Rochesterians at their homes at the turn of the 20th century. Horses were also still used on race tracks as well as in the snow pulling sleighs.

6.1.3 Bicycles
By the 1890s a bicycle craze hit Rochester, and by the turn of the century numerous "wheelmen's clubs" had been formed for both men and women. It was a common sight to see bicycles on the sides of streets, leaning against the curb of the sidewalk. After all, in the era after horse-drawn vehicles and the search for something better, bicycles did not need oats, hay, or a stable.

Bicycles were popular in the early 20th century, not for exercise but for travel. Susan B. Anthony said it was a liberating invention for women. There were numerous wagon and buggy manufacturers and automobile makers in 1900. Stables and liveries were scattered downtown near train stations and hotels, since the invention of cars brought more strangers to the city. Hacks (horse-drawn taxis) carted travelers through the streets, which were filled with buckboards, shays, vis-à-vis and stage coaches (which lasted until 1911). Some people still rode horseback. Transitioning from horse-drawn wagons to automobiles was gradual throughout 1910-1930. John J. Frisbee, a noted balloonist, flew over Genesee Valley Park in his engine-powered Curtiss plane in 1911 to demonstrate their capabilities.

6.1.4 Trains
Starting in 1837, the first steam powered train departed from Rochester on the Tonawanda Railroad bound for Batavia. In the following years, train service would continue to grow and expand as more railroads between new locations and new, competing companies were formed. By the early 1900s five railroad companies were engaged in increased competition: Erie, New York Central, Lehigh Valley Railroad, BR&P, and Pennsylvania. To strengthen their own positions as Rochester’s railway providers they endeavored to upgrade their services, enlarge freight yards, and rebuild stations. Lehigh Valley started up it's Black Diamon Express passengers trains and was swiftly combated by NY Central's Twentieth Century Limited passenger line. In 1907 in an attempt to keep up with the competition, Erie electrified some of their tracks to be used for trolleys

In January of 1914, the third, largest and most famous building of the New York Central Railroad station was opened for business in Rochester. Designed by Claude Bragdon, Bragdon station was considered an architectural treasure, one that any city would have been proud to claim. Numerous presidents, including Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and many others later on were among those who used the station, and would speak from a dais outside its doors.

In 1917, Erie enlarged the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Bridge over the Genesee.

The Buffalo Rochester and Pittsburgh Railway (BR&P) was primarily a coal hauling railway, though passenger service from Rochester to Pittsburgh and Buffalo to Pittsburgh slowly increased in 1899. It repeatedly replaced it's passenger locomotives with faster and heavier models from 1901-1909 and then again from 1912-1923.

6.1.4.1 Trolleys
By 1890, when the era of horse-drawn cars had largely slowed down, trolleys were now rolling down the streets of Rochester, until the trolley system’s closing in March of 1941. On some trolleys were distinct innovations, created depending on their differing routes. For example, one such invention was a “cow-catcher” attached to the front for the unsuspecting cow which made its way onto the track and, without option, must brace for impact. Another, created by Capt. Georges W. Ruggles of Charlotte, was an electric powered rotary snowplow, with fan blades on the front to fight Rochester’s heavy winter snowfall. The last trollies stop running in 1915, and the next year the line is auctioned and scrapped.

6.1.4.2 Subway
The Erie Canal aqueduct carried boats laden with market products from the mills to outlying farms. The Canal was often polluted with carcasses and garbage. Mule-drawn boats gave way to larger diesel-powered ones, meaning the Canal needed to be widened. Rochester couldn’t accommodate the enlargement, so it was rerouted south of the city through Genesee Valley Park, amidst loud public protest. It was viewed as a health hazard and an intrusion on the park. Pedestrian bridges were built over the canal as a compromise. In 1918, the Erie Canal became part of the NY State Barge Canal System, and in 1919 the last boat crossed.

6.1.6 Automobiles
Considered by many to be the "Father of the Automobile", George B. Selden of Rochester was the first in the nation to move a wagon powered by an internal combustion engine. He filed a patent for what he called a "road engine," and finally acquired it in 1895. Shortly in the future, the auto industry boomed and Selden began collecting small fees from start-up automobile industries. Henry Ford wanted none of it, and ended up in court, along with other company owners, against Selden to contest the validity of his patent. During the case, Ford is said to have commented "It is perfectly safe to say that George Selden has never advanced the automobile industry in a single particular...and it would perhaps be further advanced than it is now if he had never been born." Selden won out in the end of the eight year case, with the judge ruling Selden's patent covered any automobile that used gas vapor as a propulsion method.

Traffic was originally directed by policemen in intersections, which gave little warning to drivers and pedestrians and lead to many accidents, especially with the increase of automobiles. Traffic towers were used in some places, though still manually controlled color lights/flags. In Detroit in 1920 the first four sided traffic signal with green, amber and red lights was invented, some suspended over intersections, some on towers.

6.1.7 Aviation
Before the Great War, aviation was relatively unknown and a very small industry. Most people didn't understand the science behind planes or had never seen one before. During the War, more Americans became aware of flight and pilots. After the war, the government publicly sold surplus Curtiss JN-4D "Jenny" biplanes for about $200. Former pilots bought many of these planes and toured the country in groups known as "flying circuses" or "barnstorming." They would find a small town and set up in a farmer's field nearby with permission, then fly really low through town and demonstrate their aerial abilities, then fly toward the field, to pull people out of businesses and to the field. There, they would give rides for $1-5 for people's first airplane rides. Air walking (walking across wings) became a crowd favorite and many air walkers were women. The first African American woman licensed to fly was Bessie Coleman in 1921. As more and more of the public learned about planes after the war, there was more demand for speed, safety and efficiency. The public was termed "the flying public."

Biplane engines were not very reliable and planes had no instrumentation to help with weather related events or safe flying. Blind flying became possible with instrumentation such as visual radio direction finder, artificial horizon, and barometric altimeter. The first successful blind flight was conducted by Jimmy Doolittle(later lead WWII Doolittle raid) and Benjamin Kelsey. Full Flight Laboratory(Mitchel Field Long Island) worked on instrument flying and was funded by Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.

Curtiss OX-5 engine as the most common and first mass-produced. It had an eight-cylinder water-cooled design, weighed 320 pounds, displaced over 500 cubic inches, and produced 90 horsepower at 1,200 revolutions per minute. More reliable engines were produced throughout the 1920s. Wright Aeronautical Corporation built radial engines (pistons in a circle pointing out) which became preferred with the military and civilian pilots. Wright's R-790 engine was improved over the next years. Speed was the most important element of flight. France and America competed back and forth for the world record of fasted air speed building up to 278mph, though average speeds of the time were between 100 and 120 mph.

Rochester had no airport until 1927 (Greater Rochester International Airport) and wasn't widely used until after WWII. It is located on Scottsville Road, originally Britton Field.

Airmail was begun by the Post Office in 1918 but wasn't government supported until after WWI. The Post Office hired their own pilots, did weather analysis, and set up navigation aids between cities. A very dangerous job, 31 of the original 40 pilots hired died in crashes. A regular airmail service between Chicago, NYC, Cheyenne, and San Fransisco was established in 1924. The Post Office wanted to make a system of air transport that didn't rely on the government for money and the Airmail Act of 1925 allowed them to contract out flights to private air carrier companies.

6.1.7.1 Airships
Three types of airships exist; rigid which had full internal support frame and the best lifting power, semi-rigid which had only partial support, and blimps, which had no internal support.

The first airship was built in 1899 and tested in 1900 by Ferdinand von Zeppelin. It was filled with hydrogen and flew 3.5 miles in 18 minutes. It was overweight and had slight engine power and was difficult to control. The second airship (Zeppelin) was test flown in 1906 and was more rigid and had better horsepower, but was destroyed in a storm overnight. Stabilizing fins and ever more framing led to more sturdy and controllable airships that made flights of up to 12 hours, breaking records and affording more attention and money to future airship designs and use. Originally intended for military use as scouts and bombers, they were used in WWI and German airships were given out as reparations after the war.

DELAG (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft, or German Airship Transportation Corporation Ltd) was the world's first passenger airline, established in 1909 and used airships, though mostly for sightseeing but eventually, in 1919, for regular service between Berlin and Friedrichshafen, a flight of 4-9 hours, much less than the 18-24 hours by train.

Commercial interest in airships in the US came largely from the Goodyear company, making airships for the US military and for themselves beginning in 1917. The military also purchased airships from Italy and other countries. In the 1920's, the US military used blimps for patrols, observations and other experiments such as testing if blimps could be used as aircraft carriers or joint bombing tests.

6.1.7.2 Air Transportation Law
On May 20, 1926 aviation became federally regulated. Before then there had been no law on the federal level that regulated air travel, however each individual state may have had laws that governed air travel. This changed with the passing of the Air Commerce Act of 1926 which placed many more restrictions on aircraft travel. Aircraft would have to be inspected annually and pilots now had to be licensed and tested to legally fly a plane in the US. The bill also dictated the construction of several airways, navigational aids, radio communications, air traffic control centers and weather analysis.

This was mainly to prevent airplane crashes and make the sky a safer place and it did by extension making air travel more popular now that there were resources in place for commercial aircraft and fewer potentially dangerous or unstable planes in the sky being flown by potentially dangerous or unstable people. However there used to be a profession of potentially dangerous or unstable planes in the sky being flown by potentially dangerous or unstable people, it was known as barnstorming; pretty much stunt flying. It used to be popular, in fact the term "flying circus" was originally meant a group of barnstormers. But the legal trouble required to get a license to fly a plane made it increasingly difficult to legally preform as a barnstormer not to mention most of the planes being flown were unlawfully dangerous, which was part of the appeal. So barnstorming faded from the public eye and commercial flight began to take over.

6.1.8 Radio
Lawrence J. Hickson, Rochester's pioneer in radio technology completed Electrics 1 and 2 at the mechanics institute in the years 1911 and 1912 after experimenting in those fields as a child. He then got a job at the Wheeler Green Electric Company, located on St Paul Street. In December of 1920 he developed a radio powerful enough to broadcast a phonograph record from his home on Ridge road once a week. The next year, as a combined effort between Hickson and Frank E. Gannet, they received a license to operate in the Times-Union Building on Exchange street as WHQ, being the 26th radio license distributed. The station included Weather and news reports in its broadcasts, as well as music.