The Churchill/Ford House – Atkinson St.

Tour Year: 2014
Year Built: 1883
Street: Atkinson St

This East Lake style brick house was built in 1883 for Jane Churchill when she married C.P. Ford, a manufacturer of ladies’ shoes. Her father, William Churchill, a prosperous mason in the Rochester area, owned neighboring 249 S. Plymouth Avenue and built the home for his daughter as a wedding present.

The property became Mrs. Ford’s in 1898 after her husband passed away, and she lived in the house until her death at age 91 in 1949. Mrs. Ford bequeathed the home to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church with the intention that it be used as a rectory. Due to financial circumstances, the church was forced to sell the property in 1953. It was converted into an eight-apartment rooming house which RIT students occupied until 1979. Since then, the house has undergone a series of renovations and was restored to its previous grandeur by its past owners. Much of the home’s original detailing remains.

The most unique feature of the home, the “prayer room” remains. Mrs. Ford traveled extensively and, after a visit to the Middle East, she added a room to the house, at the landing of the grand staircase. The prayer room features intricate wooden panels made from the roots of cedars of Lebanon, a hand-painted ceiling, Arabic inscriptions and leaded glass windows.

The current owners bought the property in early 2013 and have been slowly working to create a warm and welcoming living space while maintaining the formal character of the home.

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