I don’t know the circumstances of this situation but it’s likely that this Don Hershey designed home will go for a price below its stated value.
Don Hershey designed this home in Pittsford for Glenn and Norma Mentch in 1950-1951. It is now on the market and is a classic Hershey that must be seen. Go to this page for more photos and a description and memories of the home from members of the Mentch family. Go to realtor page.
Update: Word is that this house has sold.
44 Parker Drive has a history. It was most recently occupied by Jeffrey Owen Jones, Bob Dylans’ Mr. Jones from his song Ballad of a Thin Man – “Because something is happening here/But you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mister Jones?” He passed away in late 2007 but his name remains by the mailbox. The home needs a lot of TLC but the Hershey elements remain and the setting is beautiful, in a charming, tucked away neighborhood in Pittsford.
Read Jones’ obituary by Democrat& Chronicle’s Jeff Spevak here.
Read NME’s obituary here.
Home featured in Quality Budget Houses (1954)
The owners of 148 Huntington Hills South created a model of their Hershey house through the magic of a 3D CAD drawing printed on a 3D printer. The result is amazing! It shows the interesting roof line, chimney, abundant windows and even their dog, Arya, playing happily outside in the side yard as she so often does. You can even see the steps in the back of the house that lead to their screened-in porch.
The main section on the left is the living room and dining room as open space and the kitchen to the right of that area. A front hallway, laundry room and garage continue on the right. There are 2 bedrooms in the top portion and 2 more in a lower portion.
I’m reading “Reckless Daughter,” the Joni Mitchell biography and had Graham Nash’s “Our House” stuck in my head. He wrote it while living in Laurel Canyon with Joni. It caused me to reflect on our Hershey-designed house that we’ve enjoyed living in for the last 14 years. A house is so much a part of you and your living patterns. Caring for it is a labor of love. You take care of it and it takes care of you. We’re getting ready to take down our Christmas lights. But the coziness (Hygge) continues in these winter months.
Don Hershey’s design of 230 Hibiscus for Alfred and Elaine Spagg is featured in the September 3, 1978 Democrat & Chronicle article titled “5 Favorite Houses-These architects like open spaces, soaring ceilings and closeness to nature.”
Democrat & Chronicle’s Upstate magazine asked 5 architects including Hershey to choose their favorite home. Hershey chose 230 Hibiscus. An excerpt: “Elaine and Alfred Spagg wanted to build a house on their wooded Hibiscus Drive lot that was both formal and informal – and that’s what they got. They also got a light and open contemporary home that’s chock-full of storage space. ‘You never lack for storage in Don (Hershey) homes,’ says Elaine.” Click to read the rest of the article.
There was a series of 1940 Democrat & Chronicle articles about 574 Melville Street owner Julius Morrison being mugged while driving his grocery store truck. He owned a store at 2121 East Main Street (now a State Farm Insurance office). Read the whole story here. His Hershey-designed Melville Street home had just been completed and he and his wife were enjoying their first months in it when this episode happened.
This is a model of 175 Huntington Hills South being shown at the Rochester Society of Architects annual exhibit on February 12, 1948. The middle woman holds the roof in her hands. When you click on the photo for the enlargement, you can easily see the wraparound windows throughout the house. Two stairways on either side of the garage take you to the two entryways, each with an adjoining outdoor patio. And it is surrounded by 3 acres of flowers, gardens, a pond and trees. Our neighbors have been enjoying this fantastic home for thirty or forty years.
We often walk or ride our bikes along Avondale and have always noticed the “little Medina stone cottage” that is so different than its neighbors. Set further back on its lot and striking in its individuality. But it never crossed our minds that it might be a Hershey. Then, I discovered newspapers.com and was doing some research. There it was advertised in a classified ad in the August 13, 1955 D&C: 170 Avondale: Designed by Don Hershey, Medina stone all around, with upper story knotty cedar, 4-level ranch home over 2800 sq. ft. of living area; screened adjoining porch, knotty pine kitchen, dining room with 12 ft circular panoramic window, circular stairway, etc.
I’m thankful to all those who comment here, offering corrections, new information about houses I didn’t know of before. Such as 574 Melville off of Culver Rd. in Rochester. What a surprise! I will be off to photograph and post the new info. Thanks for your interest in all things Hershey. I look forward to the new discoveries.
This is a house that’s been on and off the market for the last year or so. If anyone knows what this interesting house’s status is, I’d love to know. Other than the strange basement playroom, this is a beauty with 4 acres.
Update: I received word from the new owners of 6 Cavan Way. They are very happy and have embraced the cave room, adding paint to enhance it. Congratulations to them for the spectacular house they now live in!
Keep an eye on this home. It was on the market for months and the price was reduced multiple times. Now it has been taken off the market.
A friend and I went to an open house for this home in May, 2016. One of the standout features of this home is the beautiful wrap around deck overlooking the home’s more than 4 acres. And the sunken living room and adjoining dining room are a beautiful open space with direct access to the deck. There is an interesting and spacious artist studio space off this main floor. My guess is that potential buyers are put off by the basement which includes bedrooms, a game room and a “cave room.” Is this treatment a playful attempt at creating a kids’ space or is it an attempt to counteract water issues? We’ll wait and see when it comes back on the market.
Don Hershey received many awards for his home designs:
Don Hershey’s own residence 5 South Landing Road (received Blue Ribbon Award from the NYS Association of Architects Convention, William Kaelber Chairman of Awards Committee in 1949)
Dr. Silas Scinta, 835 Allens Creek Road (received Blue Ribbon Award in 1949)
Ronny McCarthy (for daughter Veronica McCarthy), 85 Crossover Road (received Blue Ribbon Award in1949) (featured in 82 Distinctive Houses from Architectural Record by The Editors, Architectural Record) (also appears in the header of this site)
R.E. Tompkins, Alpine Drive (received the Central Chapter, AIA Outstanding Design Award Certificate in 1949) (and received Blue Ribbon Award in1949)
Milton Kroll, 245 Council Rock Avenue (received Blue Ribbon Award, NYS Central Chapter in1949)
Hale Manor Apartments, 1071 Lake Avenue (received Blue Ribbon Awards at the Chicago Builders Convention in 1950 and was published in Progressive Architecture) (Progressive Architecture named it one of the four best 608 Housing projects in the USA)
The following residences received honorable awards from 1953-1961 (no Blue Ribbons given new ruling):
Robert Atkins, 3330 Clover Street
Milton Karz, 220 Sandringham Drive (apparently torn down and a new home was rebuilt in the early 2000’s)
Emil Muller, 1890 Clark Road
Richard Samuels, 255 Esplanade Drive
Bernard Hart, 381 Erie Steet in Medina, NY
After 1961, Don Hershey didn’t participate in any award programs but many of the 300 custom residences were on Smith and Seton Hall Tours, Democrat & Chronicle and Brighton Pittsford Post write ups, Cornell College of Architecture and Rochester Society,
422 French Road is currently on the market. This classic Hershey home sits on 2 acres. Built in 1953, it reminds me of the Wing House and the late Irene Gossin’s Parkview house with the same low slung ranch profile, deep overhangs, reddish brown wood exterior and small multiple windows. They run across the front through the kitchen and a bedroom. The positioning of this home on its lot is really nice. Turning into the driveway from French Road, you’re transported into an idyllic atmosphere and a stunning mid-century modern home.
Click here to view more about this home.
Note: One the real estate page for this home it states, “DEAL DIED 12/8” so apparently this home is still on the market. The asking price is now $249,000.
78 Mountain Road, a stunning post & beam on 1.4 acres, has been on the market since May, 2016 and has been reduced significantly in price. The current owners said they have updated the home’s kitchen and installed an energy efficient roof system. These and other updates were done without compromising Don’s original design. It happens to be next door to #86, the creation and residence of architect James A. Johnson, who passed away in February 2016.
Click here to see photos and a description of this home.
Note: The home was taken off the market in mid-November, 2016.
Thanks to Ralph Meranto for his thought-provoking article in the Democrat & Chronicle this past week. Here’s a portion of it:
…A recent article in the D&C Real Estate section explored a Brighton home that owners spent $30,000 to “renovate” while prepping to sell. In the article they discussed painting, removing worn carpet and refinishing hardwood floors. Those moves make good sense because they freshen without destroying original details. But the family also painted their fireplace and original 1950s wood cabinets in the kitchen. These decisions can turn off a buyer looking for an original 50s style and do not hide the fact that the house and cabinets are 60 years old. In my home, a previous owner actually chopped off part of the fireplace hearth to make room for a piece of furniture.
The article also mentioned that the home-owners replaced the kitchen linoleum that “was in vogue mid-century”. Guess what? Mid-century homes are in vogue again. Original-condition homes from this time are selling fast, so your updates could actually hurt chances to sell your home…
Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle just ran a story featuring Irene Gossin of Penfield. These 2 paragraphs caught my eye:
They built a life together, raising two children. In 1952, they purchased three acres of land in Penfield. The design and construction of their single-family home on Parkview Drive, a long residential street that perched above Irondequoit Creek and its wetlands, consumed Gossin’s attention for years.
The home’s clean lines, open plan and careful situation in a copse of trees atop the bluff, concepts that Gossin said were meant to echo Frank Lloyd Wright, embraced the home’s location and, perhaps, helped inspire Gossin’s ardent defense of the wetlands so close at hand.
I went to my records and discovered that Don Hershey did indeed design their home. It’s classic Hershey – low slung, red and green exterior, oriented appropriately to the landscape amid trees. Irene’s Hershey-designed home inspired her to environmental activism. Today a nature preserve will be named for Irene.
200 Sheldon Road is an instance where the owners drove the project in a different direction than Hershey would naturally go. His philosophy, said AIA President John Unger, is, “Build a house around your client’s idiosyncrasies and not your own.” According to Don’s son, engineer Ken Hershey, who worked alongside his father, Bill Brown wanted a modern home but his wife wanted a colonial style. So they compromised and Don designed a home with a modern back and modern indoor pool in the back and a colonial front with 12 over 12 windows for them. That explains the clubhouse look so unlike Hershey’s usual designs. Brown sold it to Carnegie-Melon and it was later bought by Jess and Pat Williams and then purchased by Bob and Barbara Hurlbut in 1982. Barbara complained about the well water and asked engineer Ken Hershey for advice and a quote to tie in with town water. Their frontage is 1 mile long and he said they would need to form a water district. This would cost $250,000 which they paid for.
Thanks to Cynthia Howke, Architectural Research Coordinator of The Landmark Society of Western New York, who wrote: Located west of Clover St. & Mendon Ponds Park, the 200 Sheldon Road house is 8,000+ square feet and appears to be the first mid-20th-century “McMansion” in the suburbs in Monroe County. When it was built, it would have been a remarkable anomaly in the mostly-rural countryside that characterized Mendon, which had not yet experienced the many “trophy-sized” houses that were built beginning in the 1980s & continuing to the present. Marcia’s files (Marcia Greenwood at the “Democrat & Chronicle”) state that Don Hershey was the architect for this house. I was quite surprised – as Don’s residential designs look very different from this house. As it turns out, Marcia & I – who both grew up in the Rochester area – also shared the background of family “Sunday drives” – where our families would explore the roadways in the many outlying communities. In discussing this house today, we discovered that, when our respective families first saw this house back in the late 1960s – during a “Sunday drive” – we both had the same reaction: “What, exactly, is this building?!” Its size, scale & appearance made it appear to be more like the clubhouse for a private club, than a single-family residence. And, now that we know Don’s style of residential design – it certainly doesn’t look like any other house he designed during his career. From the newspaper articles on file at the D & C, the house was described as a building “designed for entertaining.” That would make sense, when you see its size, the large “footprint” of the building and the outbuildings on the property. It’s certainly unique in the catalogue of Hershey-designed houses.
Karen Hershey Morrell, the youngest of the late Robert (Bob) Hershey’s girls wrote the following to us:
I wasn’t sure you had captured this anywhere on the site but I wanted to be sure you knew that my grandfather was related to Abraham Lincoln. In fact, he was a 4th cousin! We are related down the James Lincoln line who was Abe’s uncle. My grandfather Don’s mother was named Sadie Lincoln and she married a Hershey. The couple had 5 sons and one of which was my grandfather Don! I love to share that interesting fact with people! So we are related distantly to Milton Hershey (founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company and the “company town” of Hershey, Pennsylvania) but also to Abraham Lincoln! Here is a picture that my grandfather drew up that shows the lineage and relationship to Abe. (Click on the image for an enlargement.)
My father Robert Lincoln Hershey (Bob), and his brothers Ken and Alan would be 5th cousins and my sisters and cousins would be 6th cousins, and my kids are then 7th cousins! You are correct on the name Lincoln…..my grandpa’s brother.
I also have a first cousin named Tad (Ken Hershey’s oldest son was named after one of Abe’s sons). So there you have it!!!
So you see….my grandpa’s Great Great Granddad was James who was Abe’s uncle. He had a son named Nathan who had a son named William who was my grandpa’s Grandad. His daughter was Sadie who married a Hershey and had my grandpa along with the other 4 boys.
This beautiful home at 25 San Rafael Drive in Pittsford is on the market. Hershey designed this 4800 sq ft home on a .45 acre lot in 1963. Here is a description from the real estate listing:
“Amazing one of a kind home and setting is a masterpiece! Noted architect Don Hershey designed this home for the original owners and their family. This rare property located in a very sought after and private San Rafael Drive neighborhood in Pittsford is nature at its best!
This Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home is just beautiful! The hallmark of Don Hershey’s design is the expansive use of windows with nature views!
Starting with the foyer, with cathedral ceilings, courtyard views & slate floors! The living room is just stunning with a marble fireplace wall & elevated dining area with slate floors & park views! Just off the living room is a library with wet bar & powder room.
Eat in kitchen has beautiful walnut cabinetry and oak floors along with access to the screen in porch! Family room has cathedral ceilings, oak floors, stone fireplace wall & a wall of windows! Adjacent to the family room is a den or first floor bedroom & full bathroom!
All major rooms take in courtyard views! The courtyard has an oriental garden design that makes you feel at peace!
2nd floor features spacious master suite including a private deck, dressing room with wall of closets & make up area, master bath with shower, soaking tub and sauna! Plus, three other bedrooms & two bathrooms!
The new lower level has a gallery area leading to the media room with cable & HDMI hook ups.
The beautiful and expansive landscaped lot is the ultimate nature setting!…”
Note: This home sold for $530,000 on 8/6/15.
Thanks to Jim Weller for this interesting contribution:
In the mid 1950’s, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower determined a national interstate highway system was needed to enhance commerce and to bolster our defense system. New York State jumped on this idea and utilized the 90% federal money to construct the NYS Thruway. When the need/opportunity and the Federal money came along to connect downtown Rochester with the Thruway, the State of NY and the County of Monroe determined the old roadbed of the Roch., Syracuse and Eastern Electric Railway (the trolley) would be ideal for this purpose. Better yet, this roadbed was owned by the County of Monroe which acquired it after it was abandoned in the 1930’s. The plans drawn up by the NYS DOT called for the old trolley line to be used for the roadbed with additional abutting lands to be acquired as needed by eminent domain. This is where it gets interesting. (click on image for enlargement)
Just east of Penfield Road, the old trolley line ran midway between the houses on Landing Road South and Oak Lane. The story is told that the house at 106 Oak Lane was on the list of several houses whose backyards would be taken in part for the new Rte. 490 right-of-way. The problem was an asparagus patch in the back yard of 106 Oak was tended by an old guy who doted on his asparagus. Old guys are usually not a problem for the DOT. They don’t argue or listen to pleas to spare the land, they just send a form letter stating we are taking the land and the bulldozer will be along next month. This old guy was different. It became known he was not amused by the prospect of losing his asparagus patch. And so the DOT reduced the amount of land it was taking to exclude the asparagus patch and moved the highway closer to houses on Landing. That’s why Rte. 490 narrows a bit and bends a little to the northeast just past Penfield Road and why the Don Hershey house at 5 So. Landing Road now has a sound wall just a few feet from its western edge.
By the way, the old guy who tended this particular asparagus patch was Marion B. Folsom, the architect of the Social Security System and the U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. As a member of Eisenhower’s Cabinet, he sat just across the table from the Secretary of Commerce and other Washington big wigs who approved Federal money for highway construction. Who would have ever thought asparagus could be a planning element in highway design and funding.
– Jim Weller
I was going through a couple of Don’s notebooks and stumbled on this page (click on the image for an enlargement). He lists his August 1979 meetings for on-going projects with Dr. Koop (Clover Hills Drive) on August 8 with the Spencers (240 Allens Creek Rd.) on August 6, with the Crookshanks (1122 East Lake Rd. Canandaigua) on the 14th and later that day with Dr. Koop. And then August 17… his stroke.
It looks like he took some time off and then jumped back into his projects. The following list is dated 2/10/1981 and enumerates aspects of the Crookshank project on Canandaigua Lake, his last full home project.
Our recent car tour of some Pittsford Hershey homes took us by 44 Parker Drive – the former home of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Jones”. It is so charming – a classic Hershey. It was featured in the 1954 book “QUALITY BUDGET HOUSES, A Treasury of 100 Architect-Designed Houses from $5,000 to $20,000.”
We noticed that the current garage did not appear in the photo from that book. But the addition was done to perfectly match the home’s style. A breezeway now exists between what used to be the garage and the added-on garage (see left side of both photos).
Notice the overhang detail and the olive green/redwood color scheme Hershey homes often have. The setting is beautiful. Even though there are many more homes around than in the fifties, the wooded area still retains its cozy charm.
We were in Pittsford this week and decided to drive by some Hershey homes there. We began with Stoney Clover Lane with its huge lots and the large homes. Hershey designed 4 on this street. Number 2, built in 1966 for Mylin (Duke) Cramer, is the first house as you turn onto Stoney Clover from Stone Road. It’s hard to see the home due to the number of trees but the corner windows and large overhangs are there along with the interesting orientation of the home to the street. It is 3,000 sq ft and has an indoor pool.
The next house, number 4 was built in for Dr. J.B. (James Barry) Henshaw in 1962 on a 2.5 acre lot and has 3,105 sq. ft.
We suspect that number 14 is the fourth home although we can’t be sure since Hershey didn’t indicate a number in his books. He did note that Robert Dickerson hired him to do an alteration to a home on Stoney Clover Lane in 1958.
There are signature Hershey built-ins galore in 115 Summit Drive – cabinets, shelves, drawers – but the most unusual one was the built-in couch in the living room. It is in the corner by a corner window with recessed lighting above. If you look closely, you’ll see heating vents at the base of the couch.
There is another open house at 115 Summit Drive this coming Sunday. The weather has probably kept people from venturing out of their own homes to experience this great house. At last Sunday’s open house we wanted to walk down the hill to explore the pool and hot tub area but deep snow prohibited it. But, we could view the Bristol Hills in the distance from the abundant southern facing windows and glimpse portions of the pool down the immediate hill.
The windows are classic Hershey – corner windows, bow windows, large floor to ceiling windows, glass block – and, as a result, a flow of sunlight.
Yesterday we went to the open house at 115 Summit Drive in Brighton. What a spectacular house. Light streams in the back of the house through the southern facing windows. There are bow windows in the kitchen/dining area and in the master bedroom above. And a third set are in the basement study just below. The 3 sets of windows look spectacular from the back yard.
You can see a deck to the right of the windows. This is accessed off the master bedroom. There is another balcony/deck in the front of the house that is accessed off the living room. They both have very modern looking railings that are probably original from 1939. Additionally the, stairway on the west side of the house features original glass block on the wall going floor to ceiling.
Kathy Krupp just let us know that 115 Summit Drive in Brighton is on the market. The asking price is $434,900*. Don Hershey designed this home in 1939. It’s incredibly modern looking and a real showpiece. Here’s the real estate listing’s description:
Designed & Built in 1939 by Renowned Architect Don Hershey, this Historic Rochester Home Exhibits Modern Design & Remarkable Character Throughout! Purposefully Created to Maximize Southern Exposure, Light is an Ever-Present Detail that Floods Every Room! You’ll Discover Five Bdrms. & 4 Full Bths., a Cozy Library w/ Wood-Burning Fireplace, Three Porches, In-ground Heated Pool , & Hot Tub! Bright, Eat-In Kit. Features Gorgeous Granite Counters, High-End Appliances, & Glass Backsplash! Open & Expansive Lower Level not Included in Total Square Footage! With Surprising Details Around Every Corner, this Unique Property is w/in Walking Distance to Highland Park!
Click here to see more photos of 115 Summit Drive.
Here’s a link to the real estate listing.
(Open house March 1, 2015 from 1-3pm)
* Now reduced to $414,900
Glenn and Norma Mentch were longtime Hershey clients. In 1942 they hired Don to design their home at 80 Wisner Road in Irondequoit. Then, in 1950, as their family grew, they asked him to design a new home at 174 Golf Avenue in Pittsford (known as the Winghouse). We recently heard from 2 of their daughters who grew up in the Golf Avenue home. They shared some memories…
“We Mentches, there are 5 children, have wonderful memories of our family home. My older siblings are more likely to be able to offer information about Don Hershey. I was born in 53, the house was built in 1950 when my parents had 3 children. The addition on the back came as the family outgrew the original plans.”
– Laura Mentch
“The addition was built when I was in high school (1955-59). My guess is in the middle of that range, since this photo below shows the swimming pool covered for the winter. My sister, Martha, and I shared the porch. There was a matchstick blind between our beds that so we wouldn’t slug each other. Don Hershey designed the addition, with much input from our parents. When we (parents and 4 children) moved in, there were no interior walls. Our father erected all the walls and kept them looking beautiful by sanding them every few years. It was quite the house for 1950 and passers-by would stop and gawk thinking that it was some sort of storage facility for the trains that ran behind our house. 174 Golf Avenue was a popular spot for summer pool parties, as an in-ground family pool was quite a novelty.
Our father finished a lot of the interior himself, including erecting walls. There were vertical and horizontal beams in place. There was radiant heating in the house, the pipes for which were manufactured during the Korean War. Our dachshund, Heidi, would find the leaks since there were warm spots from the pooling water, and our dad would have to open up the concrete floor with a jackhammer to find the leaks.”
– Sue Larson (Mentch)
Thank you to Laura and Sue for sharing!
40 Long Meadow Circle is on the market. Don Hershey designed this home early in his career – in 1938 – for Byron Morgan. It features the beamed ceilings and wooded lot that are so often a part of his designs. He would go on to design 3 other homes on this street in 1949, 1950 and 1952. Click here to see more photos and a description of this home.
(Note: This home sold for $228,000 on 1/12/15.)
Is this the same Don Hershey that this site is devoted to? This driveway stamp is at a beautiful mid-century modern home at 315 Teasdale Drive in Claremont, CA. The owner contacted us and sent photos. The stamp says Don Hershey Builder Claremont Calif. Did Hershey go out here and get involved in designing/building homes in Claremont? Did he send plans? Or is there another Don Hershey who worked during the same period building mid-century modern homes in Claremont? I’ve contacted the local historical society and hope for some answers.
I just heard back from Claremont Heritage who were very helpful and told me there was a builder in Claremont named Don Hershey who built homes for the local architects during the same period that NY architect Don Hershey worked here. I found his obituary online which confirms this. So, mystery solved!
City Newspaper featured 277 Dunrovin in Brighton on August 13, 2014. The article is written by Chris Brandt of the Landmark Society. Click here to view the article entitled Daring and Dramatic by Don.
(Note: This home sold for $263,000 on Sept. 16, 2014.)
We just added a home on St. Paul Boulevard in Irondequoit to the site. The current owner told us that he knew he was destined to own his home when he learned that the sisters Myrtle and Gertrude (we don’t know their last name) were the original owners. His aunts’ names were Myrtle and Gertrude!
We just got word from ReMax realtor Rome Celli that 42 Harwood Lane has just come on the market. It looks like a real beauty. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make the open house yesterday but will check it out as soon as possible. It’s in Pittsford but in the East Rochester school district. Here is the real estate listing:
Don’t miss out on this one! In an established Pittsford neighborhood of wonderful homes this spacious ranch is on 2+ magnificent acres with 20 X 40 foot in-ground pool and an additional 2000 sq ft. out-building with endless possibilities. Improvements include newer roof, many windows, an irrigation system for the gardens, finished walk-out lower level with den/office and rec. room. (Picture a home theater there.) This home is attributed to the well-known mid-century modern architect Don Hershey.
(Note: This home sold for $390,000 on Dec.19, 2014.)
Rochester’s July 5, 2014 Democrat & Chronicle featured a Don Hershey home that is on the market at 245 (they incorrectly stated it as 274) Thackery Road in Brighton, The article follows below:
The first time Ken and Shirley Reed took notice of midcentury style homes they were in Palo Alto, California, where homes designed by developer Joseph Eichler dotted the landscape.
Built between the 1950s and 1970s, the homes featured open floor plans and tall windows designed to bring the outside in — perfect for the sunny California climate. Ken Reed was attending Stanford University at the time, and the couple would often admire the modernist homes in their adopted community.
“We just fell in love with them,” Shirley Reed recalls.
It wasn’t until the Reeds moved back to their home town of Rochester that they would live in their own midcentury style home in Brighton. Designed by Don Hershey, the 3,000-square-foot home evokes the modernist style popular during the ’50s and ’60s.
As much as they have enjoyed living in their ranch-style home, it is now time for the Reeds to downsize. Located at 274 Thackery Road, the home is listed for $374,900 with Leigh Williams and Priscilla Mooney of ReMax Realty Group.
Thanks to shows such as Mad Men and other cultural touchstones from that era, midcentury modern is back in vogue. From home design to furnishings, the sleek minimalist look is in.
Few true midcentury modernist homes exist in the Rochester area but they are enjoying renewed popularity, Williams says. He noted that there are currently only a handful of these homes on the market right now with the average list price in the $350,000 to $595,000 range.
Don Hershey was one of the most prolific midcentury architects in Rochester, designing more than 500 homes over a period of 50 years. They varied in size from modest to large.
Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles and Ray Eames are other architects known for midcentury modern style. It is characterized by open interior spaces, flat or slightly sloped roofs and the use of natural materials such as stone and brick.
“Rochester is really a pretty traditional city,” Williams says, adding that the city does not have any midcentury modern neighborhoods. There are pockets of these homes outside the city, such as the Council Rock neighborhood in Brighton.
The Reeds’ home is built in a T-shape and features an inground pool on 0.64 acres. They have invested in many updates over the years, including artistic woodwork by Scott Grove that complements the décor. Ken Reed estimates that the family has spent over $100,000 in upgrades.
There are arts enthusiasts who specifically seek out Hershey homes, Williams says. “There are not many that come on the market,” she says.
Kathy Krupp just notified us of this Hershey home on the market in Brighton. Don Hershey designed this sprawling ranch in 1954. There are several Hershey-designed homes on Thackery Road as well as on nearby roads in this area such as Council Rock, Georgian Court, Pelham, Grosvenor, Sandringham, Ambassador and Esplanade.
Go to the real estate listing here. (Note: This home sold for $330,000 on Oct. 24, 2014.)
It’s been too long since my last post. Life got in the way and kept me from this but I’m ready to dive back in. With the real estate high season upon us, I hope to see some Hershey homes on the market. If you hear of any, please let me know. It’s such a treat to get inside at an open house. Wouldn’t it be great to see a kitchen like this one? See other photos of this magnificent home that Don Hershey designed for Glen Mentch at 438 Golf Road in Pittsford in 1951. It is called the “Wing House” for obvious reasons.
(Thank you to Craig Jensen of CSJ Architects for providing the 1951 black & white photos of the Wing House.)
We moved into a Don Hershey home almost 10 years ago in 2004. The homes on either side of us and across the street are Hersheys as well. We were lucky that our next door neighbor, Leo Pfeiffer, was an original owner and had stories to tell of the building of the homes and of Hershey himself. Because he was still in touch with Clarence Maier, the original owner of our house, we were able to meet and get to know Clarence and his daughters Jill and Jackie. They visited once or twice a year from Ohio and came over to see the progress we had made on our/their home and to share stories (and photos including the 2 seen here) of the building of the house and their time living here. It was amazing to hear these stories from this very sharp man in his 90’s. He made it to 100 and passed away shortly after his 100th birthday.
Not long after moving in, we secured the domain name donhershey.com (being web site designers) in hopes of finding time to develop a site devoted to Don Hershey. We researched throughout this period and finally found the time to begin developing the site in June 2012. We have a long list of Hershey homes that we are gradually adding to the site. It’s been great to hear from a variety of people with Hershey stories to tell – owners, former owners, Hershey’s sons, grand daughters and friends, architects and Hershey home lovers. The quest continues.
Veronica Mecca-Dahle emailed us this great story about their house at 81 Country Club Drive in Pittsford:
Stan and I took a walk to see the ‘Garage Sales’ going on in our neighborhood on Country Club Drive over the summer. We came upon a lady visiting from Massachusetts. (She was visiting her son, daughter in law, & grandkids who live on our street.) She mentioned that she was looking for a house nearby and asked if we knew of any homes for sale, so I casually said that we might be ready to sell in maybe 9 months to a year.
Then she said she was feeling sad to have to move from her contemporary ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’ style house in Mass., so I said:
“You just described our house. Our house is that style!” She asked if she could ‘just see it’, simply for a ‘look-see’ … the rest is history. She called her husband to come over, and that was that!
We do believe that God placed us together in that driveway that day; that it was meant to be.
PS. We saw photos of their house in Mass – very similar to our house: a glass contemporary, open spaced ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’ style, with flower gardens almost as beautiful as mine 🙂
“I Went to a Garage Sale and Sold My House.” A great book title? ($407,000 – No realtor fees involved.)
– Veronica Mecca-Dahle
The Robert G. Bowie Family moved to the house they built with Don Hershey at 65 Hickory Ridge Road on December 12, 1960. This Christmas Robin and Tom Bell will celebrate there. The Bells have been looking for a Hershey home for several years. When the Bowie House became available they knew they were home.
The Bowies could not have found a better buyer. The Bells love the home as they did.
The Bowie family is passing on original house plans and a picture taken in the house at Charlotte and Bob’s 35th Anniversary Party there, a request of the Bells. The Bells say they will treasure the original kitchen cabinets, built in shelves, dramatic entry display cabinet (creating the unique open floor plan of the dining and living rooms) and the custom desks built by Bob Bowie.
The Bowies wish the Bells decades of Christmases, sunsets and memories made at 65 Hickory Ridge Road, living with the great design that will always link our families.
(Submitted by Kristina Wrenn, Bowie grand daughter)
Ralph Meranto and Bob Martin both alerted us to this luxurious Hershey home that just went on the market. We went over to the open house to have a look. Here is the description in the real estate listing (photos and more information at this link):
A gentle climb up the tree lined drive takes you to 3055 sprawling sq. ft. of simple elegance & timelessness. Surrounded by unparalleled beauty this True Hershey Contemporary Ranch design blends effortlessly into the landscape. Walls of windows create a connection between the indoor living space & surrounding nature. This home gathers under its roof a contemporary floor plan with warm finishes that include the dramatic stone wall, skylights & cathedral ceilings that are legendary to Don Hershey designs. A park like setting located on a cul de sac close to expressways/Eastview Mall & restaurants!
We especially liked the living room with large windows looking out on the backyard and the kitchen/family room open plan space that faces the outdoor swimming pool. Built in 1972, this later Hershey has an Asian aesthetic and a luxurious approach to decor and landscaping, all surrounded by trees and vegetation.
(Note: This home sold for $349,170 0n Dec. 17, 2013.)
Ralph Meranto alerted us to an estate sale at a Hershey home at 46 Knollwood Drive. We went over to see the home and bought some art books. It appears that the original owner, Margery Gootnick had been living there up until her death in April of 2012.
Here is an excerpt fom the Brighton-Pittsford Post 11-21-84 article titled “They Came To Honor Don Hershey” in which Margery talks of her experience with Hershey. Read the full article here. (Note: This sold for $430,000 in August 2014.)
The owners of 551 Morgan Road (Orchard Hill Estate) in Scottsville just informed me that they are selling their home. They have lived in it since 1990. They have posted many photos of it and its 24.5 acres. This is a unique property – a horse farm with a 7-horse stable and corral. It sits on Orchard Hill offering amazing views. This is their description:
The estate Orchard Hill at 551 Morgan Road in Scottsville, NY is an absolutely spectacular property! Beautiful views from every angle of this ranch-style home. Seven-stable horse barn with tack room and a hay loft. 14 of the 24.5 acres are groomed and artistically landscaped with very expensive rare trees and a stream-fed pond. Interior features 3000+ square foot, updated kitchen, radiant heated floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows to light up the home and bring the setting inside. This dream property has too many characteristics to list. See it for yourself and you won’t be disappointed.
Click here to see the photos they have posted online.
(Note: This home sold for $450,000 on Oct. 28, 2014.)
The home that Don Hershey designed and built for himself in 1939 in Brighton, NY has been designated a historic landmark by the Brighton Historic Preservation Commission. The news was announced in today’s Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. Below is an excerpt from the article written by Justin Murphy:
The South Landing Road house was built in 1939, just a few years after Hershey established his own practice. It has large rear windows facing a prominent garden, a spiral staircase and rounded walls.
He was going to pass on using stone to save money, but a friend happened to be driving by with a load of Medina sandstone during construction and cut him a deal, according to Lanphear.
The property took a hit when Interstate 490 was built, then expanded. The sound barrier wall is only a few feet from the back dining room window, spoiling the backyard and garden.
Hershey died in 1993. The year before that, his family sold the house to Francine Martella, the current resident.
Click here to read the full article.
The Bowie Family has owned the home for 53 years.
Designed by Don Hershey in 1959, and built under his supervision in 1960 with Engineer client Bob Bowie as general contractor, this home features a dramatic cathedral ceiling living room with beams sourced from the Pacific Northwest. Hershey sited this hilltop home with an 8 by 6 foot picture window framing the Rochester city skyline of the day.
The home sits on what were originally two lots in Emil Muller’s development, including ½ the woodland property to the left of the home. The property runs from Hickory Ridge Road to Panorama Trail, with no neighbors in the rear. The framed skyline may only be partially glimpsed in winter now, given the lush woodlands, which have grown on the slope behind the home offering privacy and shielding the home from Panorama Trail traffic.
Read more from Barbara Bowie-Whitman about this home and view photos.
(Note: This home sold for $272,500 on Nov. 25, 2013.)
Click here to go to the real estate listing for this house.
Here is an excerpt:
“Visitors driving down Country Club Drive will notice the Dahles’ distinct home and garden. The prairie-style contemporary ranch was designed by well-known local architect Don Hershey.
The couple say it’s like living in a painting.
‘It’s four-season beauty,’ says Veronica Dahle.
… Built in 1957, the home has definitive mid-century modern bones, a look that was very popular during the era. Hershey designed more than 500 homes in the Rochester area and was deeply influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Open windows is a hallmark of Hershey’s designs. And that was what attracted Veronica Dahle to the home 22 years ago. She knew immediately upon seeing the open concept that the house was meant to be theirs.”