Notable landmarks include (from left to right):  Lake Ontario, Summerville Naval Reserve Armory, The North King Steamer Ship, The Windsor Ferry boat , Hojack Swing Bridge, The Genesee River, Ontario Beach Park, featuring the boardwalk, Chimneytops of the Quinnesee Iron Mining Company Blast Furnace, Helter Skelter amusement ride, Auditorium Theatre pavilion, Bandstand, Hotel Ontario, and the New York Central Railroad passenger train. 

 

Signage visible: The Bay of Quinte (Steamship Company), North Star (Steamship),  Peter D. Hershey (tugboat), American Brewing Company Beer & Ales. 

 

Panoramic view of the Port of Rochester, Summerville and Ontario Beach Park lakefront, Rochester, N.Y

Circa 1907.

The Genesee River is one of the 30+ rivers in the United States (60+ in the world) that flow northward.  The mouth of the river that empties into Lake Ontario, commonly referred to as the "Port of Rochester," has always served as an international trading port. Starting with some of the earliest settlers, the Latta brothers, (Samuel and George), their successful trading company consisting of a fleet of schooners traded across the Great Lakes. The War of 1812 impeded all trade due to the presence of British forces repeatedly raiding the port stores of their grain, meat, and other supplies.  Eventually, Commodore Isaac Chauncey and his American fleet drove them out and successfully defended the port at Charlotte for the remaining of the war. With trade thriving after the war's conclusion, the local settlers hoped that Charlotte would become the prominent city along the Genesee. But it was the hydropower harnessed from the Upper and Lower Genesee Falls, the construction of the Erie Canal by 1823, and the increasing number of railroad lines that ultimately lead to the dominance of the newer city of Rochester. As a result, lake trade drastically declined. Following the Civil War, Charlotte rebounded as a summer resort with the arrival of several excursion steam ships, and with founding of the Rochester Yacht Club in 1877. By 1889, electric trolleys and the New York Central Railroad were transporting vacationing Rochesterians to the amusement park referred to as the "Coney Island of the West" at Ontario Beach Park.  Unfortunately, the port saw another decline in the 1920's when the amusement park closed and the Great Depression stifled the region. By 1949, all ferry traffic came to an end.

In 2004, the City of Rochester made another attempt to revitalize the port with the launching of a fast ferry between Rochester and Toronto, but mismanagement and a lack of funds ended its short run in 2005.

In 2016, developer, Edgewater Resources, proposed to build a marina of condominiums and a hotel at the Port of Rochester but failed to meet the city's deadline and the project was halted.

Currently, the city is preparing for a future Marina project that will accommodate 85 boats, surrounded by a park and public promenade, and will connect the Genesee Riverway Trail to the Charlotte Pier. 
 

Present-Day view, would be from the Ontario Beach Park pier, click here.
(Present-day view photograph by Jeffery Kaplan)

Lakefront view of Summerville and Ontario Beach, (Charlotte) Rochester, N.Y.

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