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HistMapCvr.jpgMany community residents have asked that we provide more information on the rich history and architecture of our Downtown's buildings, people and history. We are therefore pleased to announce a new section “Downtown History” to our website which will include monthly presentations on historic events, important structures and notable personalities.

Barbara Davis as New Rochelle's City Historian has agreed to work with the BID on this new and exciting section. She is also Chairperson of the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee for the County of Westchester and is the New Rochelle Public Library Community Relations Coordinator. Click here to download the downtown walking tour.

“The Arcade” Building
(Now the Curtain Shop and General Store)
541 Main Street
A stunning metamorphosis occurred on this building in its 100th year. In 1997, when a restoration project implemented by the New Rochelle Downtown BID removed an unattractive façade, two banks of gorgeous arched windows and wonderful terracotta relief work that had been hidden since the 1960’s was revealed and carefully restored by historic preservation architects and experts. Today, the building proudly boasts its original use by the raised letters of “The Arcade”, flanked by the “1882” (the year the business was most likely established) and “1897”, (the year the building was constructed).

519 Main Street
What does 519 Main Street, at the prominent corner of Main Street and Memorial Plaza, have in common with the 81 Centre Artist Studios, Talner’s Jewelry, the Curtain Shop and the “Palace” buildings? Just look up.

Main Street, New Rochelle
Part 1
Businesses with Historic Character
"Main Street is more than a line on the map. It's a sense of place, a reflection on a simpler past, a connection to a heritage," Pat Ross writes in her book, Remembering Main Street: An American Album. "People talk a lot about the way Main Street has changed and how it will never be the same. But the history of Main Street is a history of change, a history of evolution. Throughout the decades, the fortunes of towns have ebbed and flowed. Main Street has never been static." Click headline for complete article.

Main Street New Rochelle
Part 2
By the 1920s, New Rochelle was one of the most sought-after suburban communities for home-buyers. Main Street quickly transformed to accommodate the discerning tastes of the community’s ever-growing neighborhoods.

Former Masonic Lodge/Library Building
451-453 Main Street
Early History
The Huguenot Lodge No. 46 of the Free and Accepted Masons as formed in 1888, but grew from the Westchester Lodge, F. & A.M., which was begun in 1796. The Huguenot Lodge members met in private homes until money was raised to erect the downtown building, which was dedicated November 19, 1901.

New Rochelle Public Library and Library Green
One Library Plaza
Circa 1979 and 2001
Recipient of the National Award for Excellence for Library Architecture, the New Rochelle Public Library, built in 1979, in part from an existing parking garage, serves as the educational and cultural center for the New Rochelle.

Talner's Fine Jewelry and Giftware
565 Main Street
Leonard Italiano would be amazed by the vast and prestigious selection of jewelry, crystal, china and other fine gifts that fills the Main Street store at the corner of Centre Avenue. Italiano was one New Rochelle's premier jewelers - first working door-to-door and then in an upstairs store on Mechanic Street (now Division Street) as early as 1924. Despite his birth name, Italiano was not of Italian descent. He was one of New Rochelle's early Jewish shopkeepers. By the time he opened a small Main Street store near Centre Avenue, in 1928, he had changed his name to Leonard Talner.

I.B. Cohen’s
525 Main Street
When Lou Gehrig shopped at I.B. Cohen's, in the early 1930s, he had Nat Cohen make suits from material Gehrig had purchased while playing exhibition games in Japan. Each suit cost the famous Yankee $32.00. At the same time- and years before- artist Norman Rockwell bought his clothes here. Many other celebrities, CEOs, and area neighbors have and continue to shop for the best-dressed look at I.B. Cohen’s.

510 Main Street
Since 1927 New Rochelle children have been walking through the doors of 510 Main Street to buy their seasonal wardrobes. Unlike any other Main Street store, founded by Herman Liebman and his partner, Herman Pinals, Liebman's has been in its same location for almost 70 years.

Former National City Bank
“Banks are symbols of power, money, security and conservatism: their image, therefore, can be expected to be strong in terms of design. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when many United States banking institutions got their start, they were more locally oriented than at present…they were usually single-unit enterprises created by local individuals.


Norman Rockwell
The New Rochelle Years

Norman Rockwell in the 1940s: A View of the American Homefront
organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, and Norman Rockwell's New Rochelle Years, organized by Barbara Davis, New Rochelle Public Library, were the inaugural exhibits at the Museum of Arts & Culture, a program of the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence.

(click to read more)
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