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Monroe Avenue throughout the years

Black & White photo of the Monroe Avenue Theatre. The Avenue is lined with old classic cars.

The History

Monroe Avenue, also known as NYS Route 31, is one of Rochester's principal commercial corridors and the main artery linking downtown Rochester with the suburban village of Pittsford to the east. Unlike East Avenue, which developed as a residential avenue for Rochester's wealthy, Monroe Avenue had mainly a commercial and mixed-use character throughout its history. The roughly one-mile section of Monroe Avenue between downtown Rochester and the Erie Canal crossing developed over the course of the nineteenth century with two- to four-story masonry commercial and institutional buildings along the avenue and smaller scale residential development along the nearby side streets.

Monroe Avenue's development as a commercial corridor mirrors the establishment and expansion of public transportation, first with horse-drawn streetcars as far as Alexander Street, then extended to Goodman. With electrification of the streetcars in the 1890s, the line was extended to the Erie Canal (present I-490 bridge) and finally to Highland Avenue. In the early 1940s, the streetcars were replaced with the #7 Bus, although the Rochester Subway continued to stop at the Monroe Avenue Station until its demise in 1956.

Why Choose Us

Diverse Merchants

The Monroe Avenue Merchants Association is a group of businesses that work together to create a vibrant and unique neighborhood. We offer a wide range of products and services, from local boutiques to international cuisine. Click here to learn more about our member businesses and what they offer.

Community Events

Join us for our exciting community events throughout the year. From sidewalk sales to festivals, we have something for everyone. Check out our calendar to see what's happening next!

Support Local Business

By supporting the Monroe Avenue Merchants Association, you are supporting the local economy and helping to preserve the character of our neighborhood. Click here to learn more about how you can get involved.

Join Us

Are you a business owner on Monroe Avenue? Join our association and become a part of our community. Click here to learn more about the benefits of membership.

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