Rundel Memorial Building of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County

Civic libraries are supposed to be a repository for a region’s history, and the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County’s Rundel Memorial Building on South Avenue is chock full of it.

While the gleaming Bausch & Lomb Public Library stands for modern architecture, the classic building that faces it across the street is a curio of another time. Built in 1936, the original Rundel Memorial Library is one of the few buildings the Works Progress Administration (WPA) erected locally, thanks to a bequest from local art enthusiast Morton Rundel, an early investor in Eastman Kodak.

Rundel bequeathed $400,000 to go towards the building of a library and fine arts building upon his death in 1911. By the time legal challenges from his relatives were resolved, interest helped grow the amount to over $1 million once construction finally started in 1933.

Its location is right above the Erie Canal’s original bed and the Johnson and Seymour mill race, some 200 years old, still flows under the building.

Befitting its era of construction, the building is a testament to the Art Deco style of the 1930s. The original ceiling and chandelier designed by Pike Stained Glass Studios still remains, and repairs are done by the granddaughter of the original installer.

Property Details
Name of the Place
Rundel Memorial Building of the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County
Address
115 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14604
Phone
(585) 428-7300
Website
https://roccitylibrary.org/location/central/