Goals

EARLY BUSINESSES

Edited By JR May

With the central location of Gates on the west side of Monroe County, many highways and railroads crisscross the town. In the past century, the airport took a large portion of southeastern Gates. Even the Erie Canal forms two boundaries for the town, separating the City of Rochester from Gates on the east and the Town of Greece on the north.

While serving on the board of the Gates Chili Chamber of Commerce, the author of this chapter became aware of the importance of the central location of Gates in the county and the desirability of the town from a business owner's perspective. Indeed, key new businesses have located here because of the convenient accessibility to all forms of transportation.

This was true from the early years of the town when Buffalo Road was the key route to the west and businesses such as the Howard House and Lee's Tavern catered to the 19th-century traveler.

According to the 1885 Rochester Business Directory and Monroe County Directory, most of the residents in Gates were farmers or were involved with agriculture, but manufacturing began to thrive with lime and saw manufacturers, machinists, table and cabinet makers, molders, hotel workers, engineers, and stencil cutters opening businesses here. The population in 1885 was 1,988 people and the area of the town was 12,060 acres.

By the 1950s, Gates had evolved into suburban status with a number of new homes built after World War II. By the late 1960s, the Town Board made a conscious decision to develop the town into a 50 percent residential and 50 percent commercial split. The result was lower taxes for residents while the community gained ready access to a variety of commercial establishments. For example, the Kodak Apparatus Division (KAD) dominated the western third of the town in the Buffalo Road, Elmgrove Road, and Manitou Road area from 1967 through the start of the 21st century. Taxes on the sprawling KAD plant provided 20 percent of the tax base for the Town of Gates during these years. When Kodak sold this complex, residents were concerned about the financial impact on the town. By 2000, Gates was 95 percent developed with little land remaining for new development. Reinventing former large industrial areas such as the KAD plant became critical to Gates' business evolution. Rochester Technology Park took over KAD and many new businesses moved in, ensuring the continued commercial success of the town.

 

RailRoad Station
Baltimore and Ohio Railway Station
The former Baltimore and Ohio dispatching center was located near the Brooks Avenue underpass, opposite the Greater Rochester International Airport. It is now the railroad operations center for the Rochester and Southern Railroad at 1372 Brooks Avenue.

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