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Touring Facts

Fun Facts from Rochester, NY

Actors & Actresses

Buffalo Bill Cody lived in Rochester in the 1870s and buried three of his children at Mt. Hope Cemetery. Silent movie vamp Theda Bara attended high school here in the 1900s. The 1920s were a very active time for film stars in Rochester--Mickey Rooney began his career here, Bette Davis was fired from a theatre stock group, and Bud Abbott managed a theatre here before being paired with Lou Costello. In the 1930s, Jay Silverheels, best known as "Tonto," attended high school in Rochester while Kirk Douglas worked in a steel mill here. Later, Foster Brooks, Robert Forester, and Mimi Kennedy all began their careers in shows for Rochester Community Players the oldest community theatre group in New York State.


Ontario Beach Park is home to the only antique carousel in the country never to have been moved from its original location, a 1905 Dentzel menagerie carousel that was the first model of its kind produced.


In the 1840s, baby shoes were first developed in Rochester by Jesse Hatch while Amelia Bloomer added the undergarment that carries her name. Rochester company, Hickey-Freeman, is the largest manufacturer of tailored men's clothing in the U.S. with its suits known around the world for their quality.


Western Union was founded by Rochesterian Hiram Sibley in 1857, and James Cutler created the Cutler Mail Chute here in 1889 for a skyscraper of his own design.

Dental Successes

America's first "gold tooth" was developed and used by Rochester dentist Dr. J.B. Beers in 1843. Several decades later, Frank Ritter designed the first dental chair in 1887.


The flour used to make graham crackers was first developed by Rochesterian Sylvester Graham in the 19th century and commercial marshmallows were first mass produced here in 1895 by Joseph B. Demerath. In nearby LeRoy, New York, Pearl B. Wait created the food phenomenon known as Jell-O in 1897. And the first production of prepared mustard, by the R.T. French Company, took place in Rochester in 1904.

Health Care

The first thermometers in the U.S. were manufactured in Rochester in 1851 by George Taylor and David Kendall. The world's first synthetic vitamin A was also manufactured in Rochester--by Eastman Kodak Company!


The University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music is regarded as one of the best in the country and its Eastman Theatre ranks as one of the finest concert halls in America. In addition, its Sibley Music Library has the largest collection of sheet music in the world.

Musicians and Singers

Cab Calloway was born in Rochester in 1907 and Mitch Miller in 1911 followed by singer/actor William Warfield, Lou Gramm, and Chuck Mangione.


Rochester's Midtown Plaza was the first enclosed urban shopping mall in America.

Star Shows

The world's first Zeiss Model VI planetarium projector was purchased and installed in 1967 in the Rochester Museum & Science Center's Strasenburgh Planetarium.


In 1872, Susan B. Anthony was the first American woman to vote in a presidential election and be arrested for doing so. A voting machine was later invented in Rochester in 1889.