Rochester, New York, the seat of Monroe County and a port on Lake Ontario. It is 68 miles (109 km) east-northeast of Buffalo and about the same distance west-northwest of Syracuse. Rochester is an industrial city that is also noted as an educational and musical center.
Rochester is situated on the Genesee River. The river's falls generate the hydroelectric power that has contributed to Rochester's industrial growth. At the southern end of the city is the New York State Barge Canal, which links Rochester with Lake Erie and the Hudson River. The city has an extensive park system. The surrounding countryside produces fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
Rochester is the home of the Eastman Kodak Company (photographic equipment and supplies), founded by George Eastman in 1892. Also in Rochester are Xerox Corporation (copying equipment and other office machines) and Bausch & Lomb (optical equipment). Other products include clothing and various kinds of machinery. Food processing and printing and publishing are also important industries.
The University of Rochester, founded in 1850, is privately controlled. It has schools of arts and science, medicine, and nursing. The Eastman School of Music, one of the country's leading conservatories and a division of the university, was founded in 1918 by George Eastman. Other schools in the city include the Rochester Institute of Technology; Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary; and St. John Fisher College (Roman Catholic). Rochester has several museums, including the Memorial Art Gallery and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The Rochester Museum and Science Center includes a planetarium. The Eastman Theatre is the home of the Rochester Philharmonic and the Eastman Philharmonia.
French traders had a temporary post near the present site of Rochester in 1710. Three land promoters from Maryland, including Nathaniel Rochester, bought a tract along the Genesee in 1803. This tract grew into the village of Rochesterville, chartered in 1817. The city of Rochester was incorporated in 1834. Rochester was called "Flour City" in the 1830's, when the Genesee valley was the center for growing wheat in the United States. Later Rochester was dubbed "Flower City" when it became a center for seed and plant nurseries. Still later it became known as "Kodak City."
Frederick Douglass published his abolitionist newspaper North Star in Rochester. Susan B. Anthony, a crusader for women's rights, lived in Rochester and was arrested here for trying to vote in 1872.