Highland Park over many years

Highland Park over many years

As our readership has happily increased and the archives are filing up, we occasionally revisit one our longstanding series. Today, it is two years of articles on one of our favorite spots, Highland Park.

The series began in July 2015 when Talker was still a D & C blog.  As fans of the Highland Bowl may recall, the stage set of Henry IV was a target of senseless vandalism.  However, in Quickly overcoming adversity at the Highland Bowl , we saw how the entire community came together to rebuild the set in time for opening night.

Alas, later that month, the Highland Bowl endured an irreplaceable loss when the bust of Goethe was stolen and presumable melted down and sold as scrap metal. In Sadly, there will be no “Happy Ending” in Highland Park this time, we mourned the loss.

Later that summer, in The Father’s Heart shines in Highland Park and elsewhere, we reported on the 2015 Roc Fest in which several people at a food stand with free bread, vegetables and healthy snacks alongside a food truck providing hot lunches to all comers.  The good cheer emanating from these good people softened the pain from the destroyed bust.

Then, in September 2016 there were more positive vibes in the Bowl as Rochester Prep held its second annual Family Carnival.Engaging families in the Highland Bowl

In August 2016, George took us to a favorite spot near the Bowl, the Warner Castle and the Sunken Gardens. In his carefully researched and lavishly photographed piece, George shines light on both gems. Warner Castle & the Sunken Garden: Two Public Gems in Highland Park

Of course, the Lilac Festival is perhaps the signature event in the life of the Park. In The Lilac Festival and the missing monarch, we reviewed the 2016 and 2017 festivals, including meeting the vendors who make the festival hum. Living Lilac. On the Road.  and A modest proposal for the Festival’s troubles. Bring back the Lilac Queen. And add a King

The Park is also home to a somber and sacred space: the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

In On Veteran’s Day at Buckland and Highland Parks. And the Moral Equivalent of War, we met David Dornford, a Veteran for Peace with a remarkable story.

In On the Memorial Day Parade and The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam, we met members of the former Army of the Republic of Viet Nam who gather every year to remember lost comrades.

In The Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester: A Meditation on the Cost of War, George — whose father is a Vietnam Veteran — takes us on a philosophical and pictorial journey along the Walk of Honor.

The Park is also the site of several lesser know memorials: the Worker’s Memorial, The AIDS Remembrance Garden, and the Crime Victim’s Memorial.  In The Guardian, the Crime Victims Memorial and other tucked away gems in Highland Park and Mourning for the dead and fighting for the living in Highland Park, we looked at each.

In November 2016, we captured the first snowfall.  First snow fall in Highland Park. And contemplative dog walkers.

And a tribute to Charlotte Lahr who loved the Park and especially the Lilac Festival and who mural adorned store on South Avenue is a reminder of her tragic death.  Charlotte Lahr (1970 – 2017)

And Remembering Char and her murals

And in January 2018, the sad story of Eric Markham. Another tragedy in Highland Park

And a happier one on the hockey players at Lily Pond. Lily Pond, Highland Park’s hidden ice hockey rink.

In January 2019, we visited the conservatory. Lamberton Conservatory: Highland Park’s Garden of Eden


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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