Flower City


While early on, Rochester was known as Flour City, the nickname was updated to Flower City around the 1850's, and it stayed that way into the 1890s. The era of milling and water power had ended by the 1850's as Midwestern mills, with their steel roller mills, had gradually taken away market share.

Likewise, the importance of the Erie Canal and the Genesee River to Rochester's economy fell as the city became an important rail center. Given the availability of fast, low-cost transportation that wasn't seasonal or affected by flooding or drought, numerous nursery businesses grew up in the areas surrounding the city. Names like Harris, Ellwanger and Barry and others would soon dominate the fruit and ornamental plant business in the US. But as with the milling industry before them, increased competition would eventually force them from their dominant position. By the 1890s, the city was diversifying into many other industries and the age of the Flower City would soon be over.