— Stories of Beaver County & its Rivers —
In the 1880s, the heart of Rochester lay on the flat stretch of land along the Ohio River. The main road, Water Street,
was a perfect location for businesses for many reasons. Proximity to the rivers and railroads meant heavy supplies could easily be transported to factories, and likewise, finished products could be carried away for sale. Many factories also needed a water source for steam, cooling or washing during their production processes. Unfortunately, rivers at that time were also an easy way to dispose of industrial wastes and the rivers became very polluted and remained so for years.
The businesses and factories set up between Water and Railroad Streets in Rochester manufactured a wide range of goods:
(1)Wm. Miller & Sons Lumber Yard & Planing Mill 1875 - 1912
Provided all types of lumber including fine woods used in interiors of many grand buildings and homes in the region.————————————————————————————————
(2)Olive Stove Works c.1872
Produced coal and gas stoves, ranges for cooking and heating. Also created castings for many area glass companies.————————————————————————————————
(3)Rochester Clay Pot Co. 1884 (closed by 1908)
Makers of fire bricks and bricks for paving and building. Originally built by Miller and Sons to produce crockery ware.————————————————————————————————
(4)Rochester Roller Flour Mill 1883 - 1914
Produced various baking flours and feed.————————————————————————————————
(5)Beaver Valley Brewing Co. 1903(large building still standing)
Produced Yale Export Ale and Porter. Later housed bowling lanes.————————————————————————————————
(6)The Rochester Cut Glass Company 1896 - 1922
Produced cut glass items: tumblers, stemware and bowls.————————————————————————————————Point Bottle Works Company 1879 - 1906
Located at the point where the Ohio and Beaver rivers meet. Manufactured glass items including medicine bottles, liquor bottles, flasks and fruit jars - up to 180,000 bottles per day.————————————————————————————————Superior Coffin and Burial Casket Works c. 1876
Offered a variety of coffins and caskets. Their most expensive model was the walnut "Rochester Casket" for 17 dollars.
In the late 1800s, a variety of businesses were located along the rivers in Rochester - it was the main part of town in that time.
Images left to right, Top:
Advertisement for an Olive stove; the Olive Stove Works building; Middle:
Beaver Valley Brewing sign; the Beaver Valley Brewing plant (note the tower section, now gone); Bottom:
Riverside Carriage advertisement; Rochester Flour Mill promotional image; advertisement for Miller Lumber Yard. Right:
Early view of Water Street in Rochester, in the background, the ferry landing in Monaca can be seen. (Notice the carriage in the foreground.)
Hotels on Water Street
Amidst the industry of Water Street stood the Speyerer Hotel. Built in 1891, the hotel offered guests views of the Ohio River and amenities such as steam heat and an elevator. Because of the hotel's proximity to the river and rail lines, a special room was retained here by H.C. Fry to conveniently showcase Fry Glassware (manufactured in north Rochester) to out-of-town buyers. After only 39 years of service, the hotel was demolished.
Another, smaller hotel - the St. James - was also located on Water Street (past the Brewery site). The hotel, once known as the Pavilion, operated under various names between 1848 and 1937. Early advertisements boast "the place to meet old friends. It is a home as well as a hotel."
The St. James offered a large "up-to-date" bar, stables for horses, and "sheds" to store automobiles. In 1910, a room at the St. James could be had for just one dollar per day!