Faircroft House Tour - 2023
“It’s a Lovely Day in the Faircroft Neighborhood”
On Sunday, October 1, from 1 to 5 p.m., the Society will host its 43rd annual house tour. Mr. Rogers would approve of the name and site of the tour: a vintage tree-lined neighborhood in the Faircroft subdivision. Tour attendees will stroll in a U-shaped formation, from Nelson Street to West Church Street to Fifth Avenue.
-- While October 1 is months away, the house tour committee is busily at work. One task being addressed at this time is getting house tour docents in place. This delightful task entails two commitments: first, meeting with the committee house captain and the homeowners in advance of the tour and second, working a two-hour shift the day of the tour, sharing information with tour attendees.
Faircroft is an area with a rich history. Nelson Lewis purchased his large West Church Street farm in about 1870. He relocated from Greece, where he served as the town supervisor during the Civil War. His Fairport property bordered West Church Street to the south and the canal to the north. Many streets were created from his farm, including those that became the Faircroft neighborhood: Fifth Avenue, Clifford Street, Galusha Street, and Nelson Street. Lewis was praised in an 1874 Fairport Herald news article for not only growing the finest lot of watermelons in the town but also for laying out village lots from the best part of his farm, “both as to soil and location.”
In addition to farming, Lewis was an active member of his adopted community. He served as a trustee at the inception of the Fairport Union School Board of Education in 1873, was elected Village President (equivalent to Mayor in those days) in 1883, and was the first commissioner on Fairport’s Board of Water Commission in 1893.
The Nelson Lewis farm was subdivided and a hefty parcel was sold to Martin Galusha and John Clifford. The land was later sold to developers Joseph F. Gowell, president of the Gowell-Parce Realty Company and to Yale Parce, the secretary-treasurer of this new company. Finally, Yale Parce, who devoted much of his career to the real estate business in East Rochester and Fairport, purchased the interest of his partner. Gowell had been promoted in his work as a salesman for the Johns-Manville Company and transferred to its Buffalo headquarters.
The land was surveyed and laid out for forty-eight lots. It was advertised in the newspapers as a restricted subdivision, which meant the developers could control what types of homes could be built and limit the size of the lots. By October of 1924, three cellars were staked out and contracts for construction of sewers were in place. Tragedy struck in December of 1924 as a sewer cave-in claimed the life of a workman in a sewer trench. By 1945, thirty-seven homes had been built on the original forty-eight lots.
For more information on architecture styles in our area, view the Architectural Styles Guide.
See the calendar for dates of upcoming tours and enjoy brief descriptions of past tours within the Historic Tours section of the site.