This is a history of 295 Alexander Street, compiled from information found at the Rundel Library and City Hall
1800s' LAND OWNED BY JAMES BRECK
The property from East Avenue to Gardener Park, between Alexander Street and Ryan Alley is called the James Breck Subdivision. In 1861we find a James Breck residing at 52 East avenue according to the Rundel Library's' City of Rochester directory for 1861.
1868 THE BUILDING WE KNOW AS 295 ALEXANDER STREET TODAY IS BUILT
According to the department of assessment and taxation, Rochester, N.Y. This is most likely an estimate but the only thing we have found in writing thus far.
1869 MAXCY N. VanZANDT, RESIDENCE
The City of Rochester Directory for July 1 1869 shows Maxcy N. VanZandt residing at 155 Alexander Street. According to the Platt map for 1875, this property's address was at that time 155; it changes to 295 around 1880. Mr. VanZandt can be found at this address until 1879 according to The City of Rochester Directory. His business VanZandt & co. located at 11 West Main Street specializes in "teas, coffees, and spices at New York prices". VanZandt & co. is also the manufacturer of Flour city baking powder. A good guess is that the VanZandt family was the first to occupy this building
1881 MARY A. ROBINSON AND BENJAMIN P. ROBINSON, RESIDENCE
The records at the tax assessors' office at City hall show Mary Robinson as the first "grantee" for 295 Alexander Street in May of 1881. These records also list George H. Humphery as the "grantor", a Rochester area lawyer. I can find no evidence of George Humphery ever occupying this address.
1901 EDWARD B. ANGELL
City hall shows Edward Angell as the "grantee" on December 3rd 1901, the "grantor" is Evelyn Seelye. The City directory lists Benjamin Robinson's' death on march 14th, where Evelyn Seelye comes from is unclear. Edward Angell is listed as living in as well as running his physicians office in the years that follow.
1902 BUILDING PERMIT
City hall shows a permit application to "erect addition brick office" on 06/10/1900. Not 100% sure but Possibly what is now the 1st floor kitchen and 2nd floor 'party room'. Try to find more information on this.
1922 ROCHESTER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
The building directly across the street, now an apartment building, was originally built as The Rochester Theological Seminary. According to library records they also occupied this address for a time, this however seems unlikely as Edward Angelli is still the owner and presumably living in as well as running his physicians office at 295 Alexander at this time.
1925 - 1945 EDWARD B ANGELL, PHYSICIAN
Library records state that both residence and medical offices were occupying this space during this 20-year period. Most likely 1901 - 1945 is a more accurate time frame.
1946 C. GURNSEY TICE AND WIFE CORNELIA M. TICE
City hall shows C. Guernsey Tice and Wife as the "grantee" in 1946, the "grantor" Edward Angell.
1948 BUILDING PERMIT
City hall shows a permit application to "remodel front on br(ick) store bldg." on 04/19/1948. Tax records show the original front porch removed and the interior remodeled into a store by 08/11/1948. Also by 1948 a one story addition on the back (now a parking area) has been removed. Not sure when this addition was built possibly 1902 permit refers to the building of this.
1950 NOLAN KALTREIDER, PHYSICIAN and TICE & GATES CHINA GLASS & SILVER
The duration for either of these businesses is unclear, although it looks as like retail joins the medical offices (and residence?) in the early 1950's.
1955 BUILDING PERMIT
A permit to "change use of br(ick) store into a modeling school" is applied for on 10/07/1955. In 1956 the building is accessed at $17,328 by the city tax office
1957 - 1958 THE FERREL SCHOOL OF CHARM AND MODELING
A must for any young lady intent on marrying well during the height of 1950's conservatism. The aura of charm fills these rooms to this day
1963 E. C. McCARTHY DICTATING MACHINES and RESIDENTIAL
Most likely a storefront for business equipment but possibly some light manufacturing. This is the first appearance of residential since 1945 but it could have existed all along.
1966 BUILDING PERMIT
A permit to "encl. base stairs on brick 3 fam", applied for by a beauty shop. The city tax office accesses building at $17,500.
1967 BUILDING PERMIT
A permit is applied for to "maintain a 2 fam deweling as at present 1 studio", applied for by a beauty shop.
1968 BOB SPECIALE HAIRDRESSER and RESIDENTIAL
Looks like a big place for a salon but there might have been other businesses or some vacancy. This is the last time we see any residential listed.
1970 DAN - CAP CONSTRUCTION
06/12/1970 city records show Dan - Cap construction inc. 130 Bouckhart st. as the owner.
1972 AURTHUR & CORNELIUS CUSTOMADE LEATHER, BODY & COMPANY SOAP and BODY OILS, CHEZ JEAN PIERRE CAFE, EURIPEDES ART GALLERY, OWLS NEST BOOKS & RECORDS
A busy year for 295, and the beginning of it's use as a restaurant. Quite possibly not all of these businesses occupied the space at the same time. Recent enough for some of our guests here at Mex to recall having visited one or more of these shops.
1974 BUILDING PERMIT
A permit is applied for on 01/23/1974 to "remodel add on rear of property" Applicant unknown, a second permit on 12/31/1974 to "change use from store 1 apt to restaurant store.
1976 JEAN PIERRE MARIOL AND WIFE JEAN
On 02/23/1976 Jean pierre mariol and wife jean mariol are listed as 'grantees'.
1979 WIFE JEAN MARIOL TAKES SOLE POSSESSION.
City records show Jean Pierre's' wife Jean as grantee. A permit is applied for on 08/20/1979 to "change use from vacant to bar - 1st floor only". Applicant unknown.
1979 - 1984 CHEZ JEAN PIERRE CAF? and JP's MARBLE BAR
An upscale dining and drinking establishment during Alexander streets' heyday, most likely was occupying only the 1st floor. If JP's really had a marble bar it's not here today.
1984 CARL COTTRONE AND KENNETH R. VASILE.
In 1984 several permits are applied for including remodel interior, plumbing, and dumbwaiter installation. After Cottorone and Vasile take possession on 02/14/1984 295 Alexander Street is extensively remodeled taking on the two-story bar and restaurant format that still exists today.
1985 GABRIELS RESTAURANT
Don't have much information on this one, presumably operated by Carl Cottorone Jr. Construction on the road out front during this time took its toll on the businesses here on restaurant row. not open for long according to our time line.
1986 CHEERS BAR and RESTAURANT
That's what the library says, everyone remembers cheers at 293 Alexander currently the Blue Room.
This is the first time we see a vacancy listed, but most likely not the first time the building was vacant.
1989 - 1994 CREME DE LA CR?ME
Desert and coffee house occasionally using the up stairs for private parties. It must have been popular; many of our current customers remember this one. Their hasty departure marks the dark days here on Alexander Street.
1996 - 1998 ASMARA RESTAURANT
An Ethiopian restaurant turned illegal dance club, Asmara lasted longer than the neighbors had hoped it would. Abuse and neglect best describe the activity at 295 during this period.
1999 SHEBA RESTAURANT
Open only a couple of months only on our time line because it was so recently open.
1999 APRIL 7 MEX OFFICIALLY BEGINS CONSTRUCTION
With the help of friends and family as cheap or free labor the building of Mex is finally under way. Many small projects become big ones, opening is postponed time and time again.
2000 MEX RESTAURANT BAR AND PATIO OPENS
Mex opens on 02/09/2000.