Words of Wisdom

Don Hershey Wall Unit (photo by Ralph Meranto)

Beautiful mid-century details, like this wall unit in a Don Hershey designed home are ending up in dumpsters. (Photo and text by Ralph Meranto.)

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…

Click here to read the entire article.

Ralph’s Arts Blog can be read daily at: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/blog/communityartsblog/

Irene Gossin Honored by a Nature Preserve

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.

17 Parkview DriveI 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.

More About 200 Sheldon Road

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.

The first mid-20th-century “McMansion” in the suburbs in Monroe County – 200 Sheldon Road

200 Sheldon Rd Manor House PlansWilliam J. Brown Home, Mendon, NY Times-Union article page 1William J. Brown Home, Mendon, NY Times-Union article page 2Thanks 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.

Hershey was a Fourth Cousin of Abraham Lincoln

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.)

Abe Lincoln and HersheysMy 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.

25 San Rafael Drive is on the Market

25 San Rafael frontThis 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!

25 San Rafael centerStarting 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!

25 San Rafael from the street2nd 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!…”

Click here to go to the full real estate listing.
Watch this video tour of 25 San Rafael.
Click here to go to a site about this home.

Note: This home sold for $530,000 on 8/6/15.

Asparagus Patch vs. Don Hershey’s Home

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)

Google Map of Expressway between 106  Oak Lane and 5 South Landing RoadJust 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

Lists

List with strokeI 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.

 

44 Parker Drive in Pittsford

44 Parker Drive in the early 1950'sOur 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.”

44 Parker Drive todayWe 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).

44 Parker garage additionNotice 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.
44 Parker breezeway

Some of Hershey’s Pittsford Homes

2 Stoney Clover LaneWe were in Pittsford this week and decided to drive by some Hershey homes there. We began with Stoney Clover Lane with its huge lots – up to 5 acres per home – and the large homes. Hershey designed 4 on this street. Number 2, built in 1966, 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.

18 Stoney Clover LaneFurther down is number 18. Billionaire Malcom Glazer hired Hershey in 1967 to design this home for him. It was one of Don’s favorites. And quite large – 5024 sq. ft.

17 Stoney Clover Lane aerialNumber 17, built in 1958,  was very hard to see as it’s set back on its 3 acre lot but from this aerial shot it’s clear that it’s an interesting home with its 3 wings meeting at a central hub.  It’s a great example of the mid-century modern style that Hershey pioneered. Luckily, there are many shots from the real estate listing page for this home that show its interior and exterior beauty.

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.

Built-Ins and Beyond

115 Summit Drive Living Room WindowseatThere 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.

Directly beneath in the basement rec room, there is a similarly configured built-in couch with natural light from above illuminating it.115SummitDrivedownstairs2

Another Open House at 115 Summit Drive

115 Summit Drive 2nd and 3rd floors of Three Story Glass Blocks115 Summit Drive Basement Level  of Three Story Glass BlocksThere 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.

A Real Gem

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.115 Summit Drive back

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.

Here is a 2-sided letter that Don Hershey wrote to the 2nd owners who must have been inquiring about the plans.
Don Hershey Letter Front Summit DriveDon Hershey Letter Back Summit Drive

115 Summit Drive on the Market

115 Summit Drive frontKathy 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 – Longtime Hershey Clients

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

438 Golf Road - Winghouse Addition“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

40 Long Meadow Circle-front40 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.)

A Mystery… Solved!

Driveway Stamp at 315 Teasdale Dr, Claremont, CA 91711Is 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.

315 Teasdale Drive Claremont, CA 91711 front-door

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!

42 Harwood Lane Just Came on the Market

42 Harwood Lane frontWe 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.

Go to the full listing here.

(Note: This home sold for $390,000 on Dec.19, 2014.)

245 Thackery Road Featured in the D&C

The Reeds’ midcentury modern home in Brighton, designed by Don Hershey, has a number of upgrades, including artistic woodwork that complements the décor.

(Photo: KATE LOVERING)

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.

– MCHAO@DemocratandChronicle.com

245 Thackery Road on the Market

245 Thackery RoadKathy 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.)

Back Again

Kitchen in Wing House on Golf Road designed by Don HersheyIt’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.)

Happy 2014

Dottie at Kitchen Window and Clarence building 145 Huntington Hills South in 1947We 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.

Daughter Jill in Snow Out Front of 145 Huntington Hills South in February 1958Not 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.

The House Wasn’t on the Market …

Veronica Mecca-Dahle emailed us this great story about their house at 81 Country Club Drive in Pittsford:
81 Country Club DriveStan 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 :)

So…
“I Went to a Garage Sale and Sold My House.” A great book title? ($407,000 – No realtor fees involved.)

– Veronica Mecca-Dahle

From Bowies to Bells – New Owners at 65 Hickory Ridge Road, Penfield

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)

208 Whistle Stop Road in Victor

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):

208 Whistle Stop RoadA 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!

208 Whistle Stop Road Pool from Family RoomWe 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.)

46 Knollwood Drive

46 Knollwood Outside BackRalph 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.)
Marge Gootnick, the original owner of a Hershey home on Knollwood Drive

551 Morgan Road (Orchard Hill Estate) in Scottsville is on the Market

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:

Orchard Hill from an airplaneThe 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.)

Hershey Home Designated a Historic Landmark by the Brighton Historic Preservation Commission

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.

65 Hickory Ridge Road in Penfield is on the Market

Bowie House - 65 Hickory RidgeBarbara Bowie-Whitman notified us that the Robert G. Bowie home at 65 Hickory Ridge Road, off Panorama Trail, Penfield is on the market for the first time!

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.

Bowie House Inside - 65 Hickory RidgeThe 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.

Country Club Drive Home Featured in Today’s Democrat & Chronicle.

Country Club Drive from the back

Country Club Drive from the back

Veronica and Stan Dahle’s Don Hershey home on Country Club Drive was featured in today’s Democrat & Chronicle. Click here to read the article.

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.”

277 Dunrovin in Brighton is on the Market

The current owners just let us know that 277 Dunrovin in Brighton is on the market. Here is the description from their website:

277 Dunrovin living roomBuilt in 1959 for Wilson Family (owners of local hardware store). Located in Brighton NY on a beautiful cul de sac Dunrovin Lane, surrounded by mature trees and bushes. Upstairs has 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. Each bedroom has great size built in teak closet and drawers. One bedroom has additional built in desk. Master bedroom has large built in closet, beautiful teak vanity and tv storage as well as built in bed frame with side tables. All upstairs has original wood floor. All built ins have been untouched. There is original mid century modern lamp at the stairs. Downstairs features sunken down living room, first floor laundry, kitchen and dining room. dining room table and chairs are original to house as are included. First floor is all open floor plan with large windows inviting the great outdoors inside. Living room opens to screened porch. Kitchen features teak wood cabinets, stainless steel appliances and concrete countertops. Dining room has built in matching cabinet as well as an orginal mid century modern lamp. All downstairs has built in mid century lighting. First floor walls are all painted white. Lower level features a large family room with attached bathroom and separete back door entrance. Basement is half finished, while the other half is left as a workshop. Large two car garage. Big secluded back yard.

(Note: This home sold for $263,000 on Sept. 16, 2014.)

Hershey Home at 247 East Avenue in Batavia, NY Featured in Batavia’s The Daily News

Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum wrote the wonderful article, “Mid-century Moderns:
Batavia and its environs hold wonderful specimens of architectural style” for The Daily News. It features a Don Hershey designed home at 247 East Avenue in Batavia, NY. An excerpt from this August 3, 2013 article follows:

“…So in search of the perfect mid-century ranch, I was naturally drawn back to the East Avenue/Naramore Drive area. My eyes were always fixed to the south side of the street because I would try to pick out the “swimming pool” house, or the two beautiful yellow brick homes that could easily be sisters to those in Palm Springs. As I turned my head to the north side of the street, I saw what I was looking for — the perfect mid-century modern split-level ranch that so effortlessly blended into the landscape. There it was at 247 East Avenue.

…she (Barbara Pierce, current owner) had the architect’s name written on a piece of paper somewhere. When she uncovered the name, it turned out to be the brilliant and renowned Rochester architect, Don Hershey.

Hershey was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1904 and graduated from the School of Architecture at Cornell University. Hershey was inspired by the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. He was not an imitator of Wright, but was influenced by his use of stone and open design plans, both of which are evident in the Pierce home. In fact, Medina stone is used throughout both the exterior and interior of the house.

The original owners of the home were Jacob and Frances Pies who contracted with Hershey to design a home for their family in 1958. The three Pies children remember the house well. Last year, Harvey, the eldest and an attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, returned to the home and knocked on the door hoping to get a tour from the Pierces who had purchased it from Jake Pies.  

Harvey had only lived in the home a short time as he was in high school and by 1961 he was already in college. Ronald and Diane, his younger siblings, lived in the house longer than Harvey and have a better memory of it. I had a conversation with Harvey on the phone not too long ago. Harvey corroborated the information I had gleaned from the wonderful website www.donhershey.com about how Hershey always collaborated with both the husband and wife on the design. From Mr. Hershey’s own writings, ‘Women usually have the best ideas,” he says. “I always said, let me design this house for both of you. After all, the woman is the commander of the house.’

…The original baths have also been well preserved in the home. The exterior is Medina stone and cedar wood which is intact as the natural materials complement the natural landscape. This was a key element in mid-century modern design and homeowners that retain this element only increase the value of their home. The Medina stone is carried through the interior of the house with a convex wall in the living room which contains the large fireplace on a raised hearth. The interior cedar wood breezeway leads to the private patio outside. Stepping down into the sunken living room and den, the panoramic floor to ceiling windows invite the outside in. The Pierces’ appreciation of the natural beauty and design of the home and their loving stewardship of a Don Hershey original makes this one of the purest and most valuable examples of Mid-century Modern architecture in our area.”

Click here for more about this home.
Click here for full article.

Diana Kisiel Kastenbaum is a board member of the Landmark Society of Genesee County.

(Click on the thumbnails for enlargements.)

247 East Ave Batavia, Prime example

247 East Ave Batavia, Prime example

247 East Ave Batavia, Unique centerpiece

247 East Ave Batavia, Unique centerpiece

247 East Ave Batavia, Sunken living room

247 East Ave Batavia, Sunken living room

247 East Ave Batavia, One with nature

247 East Ave Batavia, One with nature

Don’s Granddaughters

We were very pleased to hear from Don’s granddaughters today…

“As the daughters of the late Bob (and Jane) Hershey, eldest son of Don Hershey, we were so surprised and proud to find our grandfather memorialized with his own website! We were born and raised in a Don Hershey original home at 1807 Clark Road in Penfield. The “Hershey Girls” loved the house our Grandpa designed and built for us with its classic open floor plan, beamed cathedral ceilings, sunken living room and wall of trapezoid windows which brought the outside in.

Whenever the Hershey family gathered in one of our uncles’ homes in the Rochester area or at our grandparents’ home on Landing Road South in Brighton, we were greeted with the same contemporary floor plans and warm finishes for which a Hershey home is legendary. Naturally we thought all homes were built this way! Only when we visited our friends’ homes and moved to other parts of the country did we realize what a unique piece of artwork a Hershey home is.

We are pleased to know that others have found owning a Hershey Home is just as special for them as it was for us. The more than 500 homes our Grandpa Hershey left behind are truly an amazing tribute to the creative man he was and his life’s passion.”

With Heartfelt Gratitude,
Lynda Hershey Spalding, Christina Hershey Katsarsky & Karen Hershey Morrell

Don Hershey’s Personal Notebooks

Hershey Personal NotebookDon Hershey kept a series of notebooks that contain various types of information such as a summary of his career and awards, listings of his various projects, and stories of his early life in Dayton, Ohio where he lived until college. We are gradually transcribing these writings as we go through these books and will be putting the contents up in this section. He mentions his incorporation of passive solar design and radiant heat in a slab on the ground of about 35 of his houses in the 1940′s, “taking advantage of 55% earth temperature. These proved successful with a 30% fuel saving and delightfully warm floors.” Ideas that were way before their time. It’s also illuminating to hear him describe watching the Wright Brothers (his neighbors) do tests with kites while also working on a plane that eventually led to their building the world’s first successful airplane.

We have added a section with the transcriptions of these notebooks and will continue to add more as we get them typed! Click on the “Notebooks” tab in the menu or click here to go to this new section.

25 Country Club Drive on the Market

This week we discovered another Hershey home on the market. The address is 25 Country Club Drive in Pittsford and shares the street with another Hershey home. Apparently there is an open house next Sunday, Feb. 17th. We thought we’d go see the inside. Here’s the realtor’s description:
Country Club DriveUnique! Best buy in Pittsford! Priced $35k below assesment! $85.00/sq.ft.! a spectacular “Don Hershey” designed home! An abundance of windows overlooking the 3rd. fairway of Irondequoit Country Club with Irondequoit Creek running through back of property! Open floor plan with expansive sized rooms in 5,500 square feet of living space! a unique combination of 7 bedrooms and 7 baths leaves many possibilities for in-law, teen suit or in home office! This is truly a “must see inside” property! Priced right for quick sale! (Text and photos from Blain Realty, Inc. site). (Note: This home sold for $449,900 on July 15, 2013.)

Photos

Happy New Owners of Hibiscus

We heard from the new owners of 230 Hibiscus. They moved here from Lyons, NY and said, “As soon as we began looking at homes we told our great realtor, Rita Freling, that we loved Don Hershey homes. She found us this gem and we are looking at enhancing it’s lovely design with updates. We feel soooo lucky to now be able to live in the spacious and expansive home.”

230 Hibiscus Drive in Brighton is on the Market

230 Hibiscus Drive in BrightonRalph Meranto just let us know about 230 Hibiscus Drive in Brighton. It is currently on the market. Here is the description from homesteadnet.com:

A True Hershey Contemporary Ranch design! Open, Spacious & Bright floorplan flows for ease of living.Walk in & step down to the Living room w/ Marble 2-sided fireplace. Every detail included from the engagement of natural materials & outdoor private serenity to the organized kitchen w/corian counters & pull out drawers! Expansive Master Suite includes dressing rm & access to patio.Lower level offers natural light w/2nd Kitchen,Bath w/sauna,Fireplaced Living area.New tear off roof 2011,furnace 2005, C/A,Water tank 2012. Relax!…LIFE IS FULL OF MEMORIES & HERE IS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO KEEP THEM!

Click here to see photos and more details.

Building a Don Hershey Community

The Historic Brighton lecture on Don Hershey (see previous post) was a resounding success. Don’s sons Ken and Al attended with their wives and shared many interesting and entertaining stories of their father. The event would not have been the same without them! Many people who live or have lived in Hershey homes were present demonstrating the enthusiasm and love we have for all things Hershey – the open floor plans, the huge windows (facing south), the parklike settings, the positioning of the homes in relation to the environment, the vaulted ceilings, the huge overhangs, the built-ins, prairie-style roofs, the use of various woods – cedar, butternut, mahogany, redwood… One of Don’s goals was to have his homes look contemporary 30 years later. Well, in most cases they still look contemporary 60-70 years later!

We will continue to add Hershey homes to the site as we find out about them and add to the information on this site. If you have anything to add, please comment here. We welcome your input! Stay in touch as we will be planning Don Hershey events in the future.

Welcome to the Don Hershey site.


Don HersheyDon 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.” (Some of the above is an exerpt from the Eldercraft Newsletter 1982)

Hershey homes were designed to conform to the shape and contour of the lot and were frequently one floor with radiant heat. Many had large overhangs with low slung roofs and an abundance of windows for views of nature. He incorporated built-in cupboards for storage to maintain a less cluttered look. He also frequently used concrete block or Medina stone.

This article prepared by Hershey and the builder about the McCarthy house (see at the top of this page) in Fairport, NY goes into great detail about Hershey’s approach:

McCarthy House article page 1 of 4 McCarthy House article page 2 of 4 McCarthy House article page 3 of 4 McCarthy House article page 4 of 4