THE TOWNE HOUSE SIGN
From the website, RocRoots.com:
The Towne House Motor Inn opened in 1958 and was one of the first motels in Rochester. Catering to those traveling by car, motels were strategically located on or near major thoroughfares. The Towne House conveniently stood at the intersection of two main routes, Elmwood Avenue (NY-47) and Mount Hope (NY-15), and was minutes away from the New York State Thruway.
The 138-room motel, which featured architectural curiosities such as indoor waterfalls, a 24-inch gold encrusted globe and the longest window in Western New York, boasted amenities that many older downtown hotels lacked, such as a pool, air-conditioning, and ample parking.
The inn’s restaurant and adjoining cocktail lounge treated tourists and locals alike to piano and organ stylings on weeknights and orchestral pop on the weekends.
By the 1970s such entertainment offerings proved as old-fashioned as the drinks the cocktail lounge once served in abundance. In an effort to rejuvenate the restaurant, the motel hired local groups such as Freedom Tree to perform top 40 playlists for patrons.
The ‘Me’ decade nevertheless found the mid-century marvel falling behind the times and out of place. As a new crop of downtown hotels and airline motels provided the once popular inn with stiff competition, the construction of I-390 redirected much of the tourist traffic that NY routes 15 and 47 once saw on a regular basis.
In 1976, the Towne House sold 1/3 of its property to the University of Rochester for the institution’s computer center. Six years later the school bought the rest of the building with the aim of converting the motel rooms into dorms.
In 2014 the building was demolished to make way for College Town. Shortly before its demolition, I purchased the illuminated sign (long disused and no longer illuminated) from the company charged with demolishing the building.
"Towne" I sold, but kept "House" for myself. The unrestored, rusted, and derelict sign stayed in my garage at my previous home for many years, but at the Alcoa Care-Free Home, it finally found a place.
Here are some images of the newly restored sign (gutted, restored, rewired and re-electrified), in situ:
The Towne House Motor Inn was a Rochester landmark.