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.
Barbara 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.
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.”
The current owners just let us know that277 Dunrovin in Brighton is on the market. Here is the description from their website:
Built 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.)
“…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.”
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 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.
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: Unique! 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.)
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.”
Ralph 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!”
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.
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.” (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: