From prehistory to today, the story of Pinnacle Hill drawn on the walls of the Monroe Branch Library

From prehistory to today, the story of Pinnacle Hill drawn on the walls of the Monroe Branch Library

From Jim Barbero’s mural [All photos: David Kramer]

Located between the YMCA and Interstate 490, the Monroe Branch is a cultural hub in its southeast Rochester neighborhood. The gray limestone library building with a terra cotta tile roof, considered a showplace in 1930, is a blend of antique charm and modern technology. As seen in On Dante’s bust on Monroe Avenue, the library abounds with artwork including the sculpted head of the author of the Inferno  and the Divine Comedy.

Dante Alighieri’s bust in the Monroe Branch Library. From On Dante’s bust on Monroe Avenue

On the walls in the stairwell leading to the downstairs Children’s Room is an elaborate and gorgeous mural history of nearby Pinnacle Hill created by local artist Jim Barbero and includes his poem “Ono´n:ta´ (The Hill).” When first discovering the mural with its images of ancient animals, I felt like the archaeologists who explored the French cave paintings of Grotte de Lascaux, taken back into eons of time.

Jim Barbero, 2013

Pinnacle Hill. The photos themselves capture some of the history of the hill. As one walks under the canopy of old trees, the transmission towers at the summit become visible. [All photos: David Kramer, 2/22/20]

Below is the house on Laburnam Crescent that was Jim Barbero’s model for one of the houses in the mural (below the photograph).


On Dante’s bust on Monroe Avenue

Monroe shows itself off as the road to Rochester

Porches: from Upper Monroe with Love

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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