High Falls c. 1875-1880. From the back cover of T.X. Grasso's "Geology and Industrial History of the Rochester Gorge, Part One", Rochester History, LIV (4), 1992 Photo By RyDahl
This area was once the center of Rochester's economic engine, due to scores of factories and businesses on both sides of the gorge using waterwheels to drive their workshops.
In the early 2000's the City of Rochester spent a good chunk of money trying to turn this section of the city into an entertainment district, but it never caught on. In recent years the area has evolved into a residential/business area with loft apartments and office space in tastefully renovated historic buildings. There are still several restaurants serving the area, as well as the nearby Frontier Field and Kodak Headquarters.
During the Summer there are periodic musical events held at a festival site in the High Falls area. In the Fall there is the annual Greentopia Festival held in the streets.
The High Falls area was once the heart of the Rochester brewery and flour processing industry. In 2012 the Genesee Brewing Company renovated a historic brewery building just across the Pont de Rennes from High Falls into a visitor's center, microbrewery and restaurant. This Genesee Brew House provides a great view of the falls from its balcony and rooftop.
High Falls, Brown's Race, photos and description on the commercial website nyfalls.com
High Falls on WaterfallsWest.com
Some information on High Falls by the Western New York Waterfall Survey.
"High Falls Rochester NY" - Flickr Photo Search
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2006-01-05 17:20:51 What's the name of the pedestrian bridge there? —TobinFricke
2006-02-20 17:17:45 Pont De Rennes is the name of the pedestrian bridge —BenMargolis
2006-09-22 19:26:20 LOve the brige, it's a great little walk and to sit on the benches and talk. It's a shame this area is so under appreciated. —TravisOwens
2007-05-29 14:07:50 Does anyone know the history of the door at the base of the falls. Looking at the falls from the footbridge, its on the left and so mysterious. I want to plan an expidition, but until then, I am curious to learn more! —LongGone
2008-03-24 08:53:58 Does anyone know the true height of High Falls? I believe that the crest was lowered for constructoin of the RR bridge. The photo from Geology
and Industrial History of the Rochester Gorge appears to indicate this. —ScottEnsminger
2008-12-13 10:08:42 How many cities can say that they have a waterfall in the middle of downtown? I can't think of any major city I've visited (besides Niagara Falls, of course) that has one. But for some reason, Rochester kind of pushed this area to the side. This could have (and should have, in my opinion) been the center, or the focal point, of our city. Not in terms of industry and what not.. but a feature of our city.. a very unique one that quickly summarizes the natural beauty of Rochester and our respect for it. Now, Rochester is trying to force people down here after years of neglect. Listen, I love telling people I can see where Genny Cream Ale is made from work but I don't actually like looking at that monster factory contrasted with the Falls. Same with the Beebe Station: on top of being a rusty eyesore, it blocks the view of the Falls! I feel sorry for the future tenants of The Mills! In short, I'm saying that before Rochester expects people to flood down to High Falls, maybe some of the blight in the area should be dealt with. —BatGuano
2009-07-13 11:21:13 LongGone: It's apparently just drainage for a former mill race, or something along those lines. Too bad, because it'd be really mysterious if it actually went somewhere. —macman5151
2009-09-05 21:48:09 The Falls were lowered from 96 ft to 81 ft in the beginning of the twentieth century (http://www.rochester.lib.ny.us/~rochhist/v58_1996/v58i3.pdf) to allow greater water capacity during flooding. This attempt was prior to the building of the Mt. Morris Dam in the 1950's, and has since been adaquate to control the waters of the Genesee. —JimGibson