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The last remnants of Rochester’s third New York Central Railroad Station, designed by noted architect Claude Bragdon, were demolished almost forty years ago. Lots of stories about Grand Central Station have been flying around the internet these past few weeks. Today’s Fun Foto Friday may not be very fun for rail fans and admirers of the old Hojack Swing Bridge near the Port of Rochester. The article by Yonah Freemark and Jebediah Reed explains, “Rochester’s principal train station opened in 1914, with New York Central Railroad connections to New York, Albany, and Buffalo. But sadly this grandest of stations, busy for four decades, lost most of its passengers to the new interstate system as well as the airlines.
I think the best example of new rail station construction is the new Albany-Rensselaer station. I dedicated a chapter of my book on Claude Bragdon to the train station–a remarkable building. But I just can’t believe we intentionally reduced this once world-class rail station to rubble only so we could pay tens of millions 50 years later in an attempt to build a much smaller and less impressive imitation of what we once had.


I just wanted to share these recently found photos of Rochester’s half-demolished NY Central (Bragdon) Station. Some time last year, a notable infrastructure blog called The Infrastructurist, published a list of the top 10 greatest rail stations ever built. In 1854, New York Central Station was constructed on Mill Street at the edge of High Falls where it served as the community’s transportation center for 30 years. The New York Central sold the building in 1959, and the Bragdon Station was demolished in 1965.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest examples of 20th Century American architecture is Rochester’s NY Central Station.
A few of the stations on the list exist today in much more modest forms but most are now either parking lots or vacant lots. But the decline in passenger traffic emptied the station by the late 1950s, and the building was razed in 1965.
In the 1880’s the railroad tracks were elevated and the station was relocated to the east side of the Genesee River (on Central Avenue at St.


Penn Station, for example, is now mainly a network of underground railroad and subway stations beneath a glass office tower and Madison Square Garden arena. Cities like New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Memphis, and Atlanta are all noted for the same horrific blunder.
This second station served New York Central’s needs for just over 20 years, when they decided to build a new station on the north side of Central Avenue, between North Clinton Avenue and Joseph Avenue. In 1968, the New York City’s Landmarks Commission denied a developer permission to demolish much of the upper level concourse and the Vanderbilt Room.
A well known New York City architect, Claude Bragdon designed the third station, referred to as Union Station or the Bragdon Station, and it opened in 1914. That Landmark Commission was formed in 1965 after the demolition of Penn Station – which was equally as beautiful.



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