Rochester’s South Wedge: an old working class neighborhood turns progressive

Rochester’s South Wedge: an old working class neighborhood turns progressive

from Jill Gussow’s homage to the raucous crows of the South Wedge



aquatic animals in lava lamps


pub crawl

Over the last year, we’ve had our share of artsy pleasure seeking in the South Wedge. Jill Gussow’s Crow and Jordan’s aquatic animals in lava lamps.


80s night


dance party


cinematic deflowering


poetry slam

A Pub Crawl, an impromptu poet slam at Lux, an 80s night at Lux and a dance party at Buta Pub. And things got a little over the top at a deflowering at the Cinema.


Jake’s trivia





Some scrumptious cheesecake and even some food for thought with Jake’s trivia and the Wedg-ucationals.

Today, George Payne reminds us what makes the South Wedge such an appealing neighborhood in which to live, work and visit. It’s the progressive vibe woven into the fabric of the Wedge.

Except where noted, photos by George with links to related article by him and others,



Map of the South Wedge

The neighborhood we know as the South Wedge began in the 1820s as a series of small houses owned by families tied to the Erie Canal trade. The d-1Old Stone Warehouse, the oldest commercial building in Rochester, was built here in 1822. The area was actually part of Brighton until Rochester annexed it in 1834 as a buffer region for future growth. In the 1840s George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry of Ellwanger and Barry fame founded their nursery on what was then Grand Avenue (South Avenue today). By the time Frederick Douglass moved to South Ave in the 1860s, the area was flourishing, with the city’s first street railway, a plank road, and a hospital. Douglass’s house still stands at the corner of Hamilton and Bond Streets.

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.


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