AFSCO
A. Friederich & Sons Co.
General Contractors

Union Trust Building

Building photo
2019
Names:Union Trust Building,
Rochester German Insurance Building,
Genesee Valley Union Trust Company Building,
National Bank of Rochester
Address:19 West Main Street, Rochester, NY
Built:1888, 1904, 1909
Architect:Andrew Jackson Warner
Links:Google Maps Top View,
lowerfalls.org

This building has an interesting history. It was designed by esteemed architect Andrew Jackson Warner, who also designed Rochester's old City Hall, the Powers Building, and the Ellwanger & Barry Building. It's been home to insurance companies, banks, and legal firms. The building you see today actually consists of 3 distinct parts that were constructed at different times over the course of more than 20 years.

The original German Insurance Company building was constructed in 1888 by another builder. Like the current structure, it was 10 stories tall, but less than half as wide and not as deep. The front of the building, with its beautiful copper bay windows, faced West along Irving Place (now the right side). At that time, the old City Hall was further back from the street, so the front of the building faced an empty square and was clearly visible. When the Monroe County Office Building was built in 1894, the front facade became obstructed from view.

In 1904, A. Friederich & Sons built an expansive new section along Main Street which more than doubled the size of the original building. As part of that expansion, the front of the building was moved to Main Street, and a new front facade was constructed which included the marble columns and ornamental balconies you see today. The original front facade was preserved on what is now the right side of the building. The new front facade is so seamless, you'd never know that it's made up of two distinct structures — the right two windows being the original building, and the left 3 windows being the new section.

At about the same time, A. Friederich & Sons was also building the beautiful Rochester Trust & Safe Deposit Co. building immediately next to this building. So they were effectively rebuilding that entire block along Main Street all at once. Sadly, the Rochester Trust & Safe Deposit Co. building was later demolished and replaced with a rather nondescript modern high-rise.

Sometime before 1915, a new 10-story section was added to the rear of the building which increased the depth by about 50%. This addition blended perfectly with the existing facade on the right side of the building, and included a third column of identical bay windows. In order to maximize the number of windows on the upper floors, the addition is only 3 windows wide along the back, giving the upper floors an "L"-shaped configuration. The lower floors span the entire width of the building.

The front of the first two stories is Carlisle stone from Springfield, MA. The upper stories are pressed brick with profuse stone trimmings. The bay windows are set in raw copper. The outside is richly ornamented. Unfortunately, some of the original ornamentation including an upper balcony and cornice have been lost.

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2019
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2009
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2019
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2019
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1893
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