The Linear Garden: An island of peace and beauty in the North Winton Village

The Linear Garden: An island of peace and beauty in the North Winton Village

(l-r) Kay York, Jennifer Gorankoff and Christina Baker at the North Winton Village’s 10th Annual Festival of the Arts 9/17/16

A few weeks ago, I discovered a beautiful urban village pocket park.


Marty Voise, a few weeks ago, at the Linear Garden

Having checked out a book at the nearby Winton Branch Library, I found an ideal reading locale: a bench with a backdrop of color and greenery in the Linear Garden on North Winton.


Poster on the door of the Winton Branch Library

There I met Marty Voise, a lifelong resident of the North Winton neighborhood, sprucing up and watering. Marty said he’s enjoyed tending this as other neighborhood gardens for about twenty years, having helped build a mini-garden nearby on East Main. Proud of the community effort that keeps the garden looking good year round, Marty suggested I meet the other gardeners at the North Norton Village’s Tenth Annual Festival of the Arts.

Today the garden was surrounded by music and vendors. Jimmy Highsmith, Jr. and Fatima featured a rich musical lineup; while the large gathering feasted on about a dozen food options from local restaurants and cafes. And Marty was right. Several gardeners were there, happy to talk about their labor of love.sign


With Peggy [Photo: RPD Officer Mitchell] 9/17/16

Peggy explained how her involvement began in about 2000. Back then, the land was owned by Chase Bank and often used as a dog walking park. Peggy said some neighbors worried about unleashed dogs. So the group set up removable orange breaker fences. Building the fences inspired the dog walkers to get more involved in the space which then only had a trampled down grass path.


Father Robert Schrader

Over the years, flower beds, vegetable plots and a gravel path were added. Today, Peggy and I looked out upon an urban oasis Peggy calls “her refuge.”


Marilyn Parchus with Denise Speicher (left). Denise is a loyal Talker subscriber. These days it’s nearly impossible to go anywhere without running into Talker subscribers galore.

Father Robert Schrader of the Peace of Christ parish said members of his community often volunteer in the garden. Father Schrader described the garden as a meditative place — an island of peace — where people can find quiet and beauty amidst the bustle of North Winton.

RPD Officer Mitchell (who took the bench picture) says 10 years ago the space was more like a weedy lot. Since then he’s watched as trees planted by neighborhood children have grown tall just like the children. On his patrol, Officer Mitchell always sees lunchtime eaters and literary loungers enjoying the benches.

Marilyn Parchus offered a brief history of the garden (below), including the creation of the sign and welcome gate about five years ago with special help from the City of Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. Marilyn mentioned the ongoing commitment of Bob and Karen Olyslager, Marilyn Schutte and many others.


Elizabeth Clapp, co-owner of La Petite Poutine. Zoraida in truck.

Elizibeth Clapp, co-owner of Le Petit Poutine was at the Festival with her food truck. A big fan of Linear Park, Elizabeth thinks attractive oases draw shoppers and strollers to commercial districts like North Winton.

And newcomers admired the garden. Along with Christina Baker, Jennifer Gorankee and Kay York (pictured above) volunteered at the Coffee Connections’s booth at the Festival in support of International Overdose Overdose Day.

From East Rochester, today was Jennifer’s first visit to the garden she described as simply beautiful. Now also living in East Rochester after having moved here from Pittsburgh just six weeks ago, Kay York says the North Winton Village is one of many cool urban locales she has discovered. So far for Kay, Rochester feels like a mini-Pittburgh in which Park Avenue and the South Wedge remind her of Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville district.

beesFinally, Marilyn Schutte made sure I knew the Linear Park is just one of several community gardens in the North Winton neighborhood. Those gardens will be our story for another day.


Flowering Upper Monroe

A gathering of students, educators, urban farmers and social entrepreneurs at the Bay Street Community Garden

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts