Why isn’t Rochester on Lake Ontario?

Rochester’s downtown is located about 12 kilometers from Lake Ontario.  The Genesee River runs from Lake Ontario through the city and cuts right through the middle of downtown.  It struck me as odd that the downtown was located so far from Lake Ontario.  Other cities on the Great Lakes – Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago – are all located right on the lake itself.  I know that the Erie Canal was important to this region, but Rochester was incorporated before the Erie Canal came along.  So what’s up with the inland location?

According to my in-laws, Rochester was established along the Genesee River in order to capture the energy generated by High Falls.  What?  There is a giant waterfall in downtown Rochester?  I had no idea.

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2 thoughts on “Why isn’t Rochester on Lake Ontario?

  1. I know – it’s totally confusing – Great Lake city not on great lake? But the wonderful flipside of it is the beautiful bluffs and beaches along the south shore of Lake Ontario. I have lived most of my life within seven miles of the north shore, but never realized what great swimming it is until we moved to Geneva.

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