History of Rochester’s Friendly Home


Since I have now been working at The Friendly Home in Rochester as the Marketing/Development Assistant for several weeks, I thought it was about time for me to do a post about the rich history of this Rochesterian institution! I have synthesized several bits and pieces of information about the institution and its founders from around the internet, and will continue to post about the Friendly Home in the future when I gather more historical information.

IMG_4251“The institution currently known as the Rochester Friendly Home was founded in 1849 as the “Rochester Association for the Relief of Homeless and Friendless Females. Its first home was a tenement structure on Edinburgh Street. The original aim of the association was to assist destitute females by providing them with temporary lodgings and securing employment for them, usually as household help. During their stay in the facilities of the institution, the residents generally contributed to its support by performing domestic labor. After occupying a number of temporary locations, the organization was given a home at the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street in 1853.” (source)

This is the general area is right around the corner of Alexander and East where popular Rochester bar Murphy’s Law now sits.


“After relocation to the East Avenue site, and until the establishment of a workhouse-type institution for vagrant children in 1856, orphans were also admitted. In 1855, the institution was officially incorporated as the “Rochester Home for the Friendless.” From 1857 to 1875, the Home published a monthly Journal of the Home, which reported on the activities of the Home and appealed to the public for assistance in carrying out the Home’s mission.”

IMG_4253“In 1859, the Constitution of the Home was changed so as to permit the admission of aged women, and thereafter female invalids over the age of 65 were accommodated on a permanent basis. “Inmates,” as residents of the Home were known, paid a sum of money in proportion to their age and in return were provided with care for the rest of their lives and a “Christian burial” in plots the Home owned in Mount Hope Cemetery.”

[Read more about the history of Mt. Hope Cemetery and the Reform Movement in Rochester here, in my Graduate Research: ‘Romanticism and Ruralism’]


“Eventually the Home came to specialize exclusively in the care of the aged. In 1918, the Home became the Rochester Friendly Home and began to accept married couples and single men as well as women. In the same year, the Home relocated to its present ten-acre site at 3156 East Avenue in Brighton. This structure was extensively remodeled and enlarged in 1966. Presently, the Home continues to function as a nursing home, specializing in the care of the elderly and infirm.” (source)

Many of the early records and documents from the Friendly Home can now be located in the Rare Books and Special Collections department of the River Campus Libraries.


The timeline of Friendly Home history from 1849 to present can also be read here.

Further Reading:
The Friendly Home website
 Romanticism and Ruralism
 Friendly Home Early Documents
 Friendly Home History Timeline

Click here to like the Friendly Home on Facebook!


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