"WHAT DOES THAT SAY?"
A Fun Find.
In my efforts to upload product images to the new website, I've been trying to provide as much information as I can gather about each view; whether it be to include a brief history or to list any noticeable/notable landmarks.
The popular buildings are the easiest to spot, sadly, because so few remain today, and therefore, they naturally stand out. However, the real fun has been trying to decipher any text that is visible in these images; mainly any signs or painted lettering and company advertisements.
I'm sure you can understand that the easiest images to work with are photographs, because they offer the most clarity and detail. But I was recently working on this Raphael Tuck & Sons illustrated view of the (Upper) High Falls.
There, in the upper left quadrant, drawn in the distance, were a few seemingly-scattered letters atop of building:
"? P. R??? ? C?? LADIES SHOES."
Of course, I could've easily ignored them and moved on to the other words that were clearly legible, like:
"Williams Hoyt & Co."
Heck, even "Schantz Co."
wasn't too much of a challenge.
But that damn "? P. R??? ? C?? LADIES SHOES" was driving me nuts.
I just had to know.
So a-googlin' I went.
First, I figured out three nearby landmarks in the image that were sticking out of the skyline. By cross referencing this view with a similar Google Maps 3D view, I was able to locate the (2) German United Evangelical Salem Church, (1) St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church and the (3) Sibley Department Store Building clock tower, in effort to position the "? P. R??? ? C?? LADIES SHOES" building on a specific street.
Then I googled:
"Ladies Shoes Rochester, NY" but as you can imagine, I ended up with too many unrelated results.
Next, I tried:
"L. P. R Ladies Shoes Rochester, NY"
Still, too vague.
"P. Ladies Shoes Company Rochester, NY."
There, last result on result page 1:
"EP Reed & Co. - The Shoe Factory Art Co-op"
I was taken to a "Shoe Factory Art Co-Op" website. In the center of the homepage is a vintage, black-line portrait of a bearded man, labeled "E.P. Reed," surrounded by other shoe-themed images.
In the top left, a small thumbnail image of various shoes caught my attention.
The first thing I noticed was the address:
"37 to 49 South St. Paul Street."
"St. Paul Street," I thought. "We're in the ballpark." But a Google Maps search of that address using both 37 & 49 South St Paul Street put me at the Granite Building at E Main & St Paul.
Fortunately, I've been doing this long enough to know that many address numbers changed over time, and that a location numbered 100 years ago may not be the same location today.
So I returned to Google, and image searched: "E.P. Reed" looking for perhaps another advertisement...
.....one possibly showing a sketch of the factory building (which was common back then).
I had a visual of building, but odds are it either burned down or was razed decades ago. Nevertheless, I returned to Google Maps "Street View" and dropped our friendly, little yellow man, skating northbound up St Paul Street from E Main Street.
Just as I thought it was a lost cause and I begun to U-turn back down St. Paul ... I spun my view west.
There... .....finally, at the end of St Paul and Cumberland Streets....
...#205 St Paul Street.
An off-white corner building stands with the words "Chapin Building" posted on front.
No matter how mundane its purpose, or whatever events may have transpired in it over the years --from its inception to the present day--it's always exciting to discover an old building still standing. Referring to the "Shoe Factory Art Co-Op" website, I proceeded to read that, in 1906, E.P. Reed & Co. moved their shoe business to Goodman Street. I think it's safe to assume that they took the rooftop signage letters with them, as they unfortunately do not stand up there anymore. But one could imagine:
At the very least, I can sleep tonight knowing that
"? P. R??? ? C?? LADIES SHOES."
"E. P. REED & CO. LADIES SHOES."
If you'd like to read more about E.P. Reed's Shoe Company, click here.
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