Estimated to have been built between 1825 and 1827, the structure is the oldest residence within the inner loop of the City of Rochester still on its original foundations. Despite numerous owners and alterations, most notably a significant renovation in 1956, the structure remains an important example of early Rochester domestic architecture.
Monroe County purchased the house to be used as a conference center, a compatible use for the building. Returning the Watts House to its original configuration entailed clarifying the circulation and removing walls to create reasonable spaces. The few details that were re-created were based on what currently exists.
The grand, curved stairway of the entry hall is the focal point of the house. The wood balusters, which define the staircase's sweeping arc, were bending under the weight of the rail. Concealed strengthening devices were installed to give the rail stability. The original wood treads of the stairs and stair landing were maintained.
The project ensures the preservation of the historic and architectural value of the Ebenezer Watts House. SWBR worked in conjunction with the Landmark Society to review the rehabilitation process.
Winner of Rochester Chapter AIA Design Excellence Award
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