Submitted July 2023 by Anita M. Mance, Historian

     On May 23, 1898, a group of businessmen from Despatch (as East Rochester was known until 1906) met at Branshaud’s Hall on East Commercial Street to set up the first fire department.  On May 29th, the first official meeting was held, and the Despatch Fire District was formed.  During subsequent meetings committees were formed to find estimates for needed equipment, as well as for property and a fire hall.  It was determined that $1800.00 was the amount needed to outfit this first department.  Equipment included:  one dozen rubber coats, boots, and helmets, a hose cart, an alarm bell, a ladder truck, and three chemical carts.  Needless to say, the first fire trucks were either pulled by horses or pulled by hand.

     The first fire hall was built in 1903 on Main Street next to the Despatch Hotel.  Our fire department was initially comprised of three companies:  Despatch Hose Company #1, Ontario Hook & Ladder Company #1, and the Eyer Chemical Company.  Later, the Foster Armstrong Company (of the Piano Works), and Despatch Hose Company #2 were added.  The first Fire Chief was John Kane, owner of the Perinton Hotel.  The first real fire truck (i.e. purchased and built as a fire truck) was an American LaFrance 750 gallon pumper bought in 1925.  Used until 1958, it was lent a year later to the small community of Fishers while they waited for their new truck to be delivered.  Later found abandoned, it was restored by past fire chiefs, Willis (Skip) Burlingame and his son, Jim; and was donated back to the village in 1968.  Called Ol’ Betsy, it now proudly resides in the front left bay of our fire hall, and is often seen in our parades.

     Over the years our fire department has occupied three buildings.  In 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) remodeled the existing firehouse/municipal building, and built a new façade.  A new firehouse was built on the corner of West Avenue and Main Street in 1968.  This building was enlarged and renovated in 2004.

     As is true of all fire departments, ours has continued to be very active in our community in ways other than fighting fires.  In 1952, we hosted the New York State Firemen’s Association Convention.  This was quite an honor for such a small village.  In the early 1950s, our department sponsored the Famous Actors Summer Playhouse, one of the earliest summer stock theaters in the state.  During the 1960s and 1970s, it sponsored the Town and Country Playhouse with plays produced by ER High School alumnus, Barry Tuttle.  In October, during Fire Prevention Month, the fire fighters have conducted school programs and firehouse tours to promote fire safety.  Since 2016, the department has collaborated with the East Rochester Alumni Foundation to purchase and distribute smoke detectors to second grade classes.  For many years, Christmas baskets for those in need have been distributed.  Since 1995, the department has sponsored the Easter Egg Hunt in Edmund Lyon Park.  In the summer it has hosted the Kiddie Parade during the Firemen’s Carnival.

     The East Rochester Volunteer Fire Department’s jurisdiction covers three square miles.  It has multiple mutual aid agreements with surrounding towns, and is a member of the 3rd Battalion in Monroe County.  It has always been an all-volunteer department and currently has 40 members.  Its current Chief is Jim Diego.  Over the years, fathers and sons have been members.  These fire fighters have a great sense of pride and truly believe they are “always at your service.”  This year’s carnival will take place, July 20th – July 22nd, and will honor the 125th anniversary of the department.

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«November 2023»
Flu Shot Clinic

Flu Shot Clinic

East Rochester Community Center Flu Clinic

East Rochester Community Center in conjunction with CDS RX is hosting a FREE Vaccine Clinic.

317 Main Street, LL011
East Rochester, New York 14445

Date: November 27th
Time: 12p-2p

This event is FREE to attend and requires pre-registration. Please complete the form below to register and select which vaccines that you would like to receive.

To register, please contact Tasha Parrone at 585-385-3643.

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The Bandstand in the Park - History of a Landmark

The Bandstand in the Park - History of a Landmark

 For over 100 years the bandstand has had a special spot in Edmund Lyon Park—the first park created in our community.  Originally called Vanderbilt Park, the area was just a large vacant space.  Then, Kate Gleason purchased the property, and donated the land to the village.  With help from the village’s Department of Public Works crew and workers from the Gleason Works Company in Rochester, the area was transformed into a beautiful park.  In 1916, the park was formally dedicated, and at Kate Gleason’s request, it was named in honor of Edmund Lyon, one of the founders of our community.

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Board of Assessment Review (BAR) for the Town/Village of East Rochester

The Board of Assessment Review is a three-member board, appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Town/Village Board to a five-year term.  The three-member board serves without compensation.  The Board of Assessment Review’s sole purpose is to guarantee taxpayers’ rights by hearing real property complaints (grievances) and arriving at fair and impartial determinations regarding those complaints.  The Real Property Tax Law requires that members of the Board of Assessment Review have knowledge of property values in the assessing unit.  Members are required to disclose any direct or indirect interest they have in any property for which a complaint has been filed.  Each member of the BAR shall attend the required training, typically 2-3 hours once every term.  The training is provided by the Real Property Tax Director of Monroe County and covers the functions, duties, and responsibilities of the Board of Assessment Review.  Grievance hearings are held for at least four hours the first Tuesday of June.   

The Town/Village has a vacancy to fill for the 2024 Assessment Roll.  Interested individuals should send via email a letter of interest and general qualifications to: Martin G. D’Ambrose, Village Administrator at mdambrose@eastrochester.org

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Advent Tree Lighting

The Tree Lighting will be held on December 3rd, 4:00 pm. Held at the Verzella Gazebo in Edmund Lyon Park, 750 Main Street (location may change due to inclement weather) open to the public. Sponsored by the Association of Churches and supported by the Town/Village of East Rochester to kick off the Advent Season.

In the event of inclement weather the event will be moved to the Atrium of the Eyer Building. That decision will be made by noon and will be found here on the Town/Village web site.

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