Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rochester MCM Architect Don Hershey



This beauty in Brighton recently sold in 4 days for top dollar.





Rochester, NY is really a pretty traditional city.  We don't really have MCM neighborhoods--more like "pockets" of MCM homes.  But the ones we have are pretty special and spectacular.  And we had some noted Mid-Century architects from that period.

Don Hershey was one of the most prolific mid-century architects in Rochester.  He designed over 500 homes over a period of 50 years.  They varied in size from the very modest to the extraordinary.  Here are some examples of his homes in
and around Rochester, NY:



This one is at the end of our street and overlooks a golf course.

This one has been recently renovated.  The owners stayed very true to the original vision.

Another view of the above house.  The interesting thing is that it seems to have 2 front doors.

A Don Hershey home owner built a website, www.donhershey.com to help foster a community around Don Hershey homes. Here you can see much more about this amazing architect and his legacy of homes. A great deal of effort has been made to document where these homes are--go check them out to see some really nice examples of mid-century architecture. The following excerpt came from the Don Hershey website.

The following exerpt is from the Eldercraft Newsletter in 1982:

Don Hershey was one of the foremost architects in the Rochester, NY area. He designed about 500 homes, and for over fifty years he conceived his plans, executed his drawings, contracted builders and fashioned a few ideas and dreams into someone’s home at a small drawing board in his home on Landing Road.

“Frank Lloyd Wright was my inspiration,” Don says. “I didn’t imitate him, but I’ve always been fascinated by  the  strength of his designs, his hip roofs, open plans, and his use of stone.

With the recent surge of MCM popularity, there has been a renewed interest in these homes.  Dex and I recently attended an event sponsored by the Brighton Historical Society that discussed Don Hershey and his homes.  Brighton is a suburb of Rochester, NY.  It is an area much more dominated by traditional homes so I was excited to see them honoring a modern architect.

In attendance at the event were Don's two sons--Ken and Al--along with their wives.  The event was amazing because along with the discussion of the architecture, his sons chimed in with funny and entertaining stories of their father.  It was an afternoon to be remembered!

I actually have my own entertaining story of how I met Ken Hershey.  I was out for a walk last summer around my home and there was a older gentleman puttering in front of his lawn in front of a home that I had long admired.  He said a very friendly hello when I walked by so I took the opportunity to compliment him on his home.  He said, "Thank you, my Dad designed it."  I asked him who his father was and he said Don Hershey.  That sparked an hour-long conversation on a sidewalk between two strangers about mid-century architecture that I was thrilled to have.  Ken told me a bit about the neighborhood--I wish I had a pen and notebook at the time.  It was a good lesson on getting to know the older, established neighbors--they are a wealth of information and you never know what you may find out.

Our own home strongly resembles a Don Hershey--in fact, I had an architect come out to consult with me yesterday on some roofing and insulation decisions and when he walked in, he asked me if our home was a Don Hershey.  The previous owner struggled to remember who the architect for our home was but he seemed to think it was someone by the name of David Bishop.  There were a few other architects in the 60's who were designing modern homes around here--the subject of new posts in the future.

4 comments:

  1. wonderful! nice information about consructiop of building --- i like it . your blog is very useful and good about the construction and design of building . go up and sahre like this information to us. you can view more here
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  2. Sorry not to identify myself in my previous comment. I wanted to thank you for the donhershy.com mention and post. I was also wondering where the "recently renovated" house you mention in your post is.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Peggi, The one that was recently renovated is on Forest Hills Road in Brighton (off Penfield Road).

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