Is A Walking Tour Leading Clarissa St Down The Path Of Resurgence?

~ Photo: Courtesy of Clarrisa St. Reunion Committee

What is the value of a neighborhood?

It may boil down to economics for real estate developers and government officials. For George Fontenette and Kathy Sprague Dexter, the real value of a neighborhood rests within the memories they share of Rochester’s 3rd Ward.

On a cold Saturday afternoon, Fontenette, Dexter and a group of youth leaders from the community organization Teen Empowerment led a walking tour down Clarissa Street, a once historic African American community that was to Rochester what Greenwood was to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In the mid-20th century, Clarissa Street was the central commercial district of the 3rd Ward, featuring vibrant businesses such as the Gibson Hotel, Latimer’s Funeral Home, Ray’s Barbershop, Scotty’s Pool Hall, Smitty’s Birdland, LaRue’s Restaurant and Vallot’s Tavern.

“It’s a lot of history in this area,” Fontenette told those on the walking tour starting the trek.

FULL STORY: Can memories of Clarissa Street’s golden age of Black business inspire a resurgence? | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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