Great Homes of Rochester


The Katz-Bernunzio house
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Mercygrove
     

The Katz-Bernunzio house

Abram Katz also celebrated his wealth by building a home on East Avenue full of soaring spaces and different, expensive wood. 2 years later, he watched from his front porch as work began on a home for his newest neighbor, George Eastman. Katz had done well in the city’s clothing and banking industries and was a leader in the religious community his father had helped found, Temple B’rith Kodesh. When he died at a relatively early age, Katz was lauded in local newspapers as a “well known financier-philanthropist” who had often and generously entertained friends at his East Avenue home. That home became apartments after Katz’s wife sold the building in the 1940s. It would be another 50 years before John and Julie Bernunzio threw caution to the winds and began to remake it into both a home for their young daughters but as a haven for their growing business. To visit the Bernunzio’s, one must only want a ukulele, banjo, or other vintage stringed instrument. People from around the world do want such things and so now take what becomes a very pleasant journey.

 

Mercygrove

Pearl Waite had a great idea. His wife even gave it a name: Jell-O. What Pearl didn’t have was the time and business sense to properly pedal that idea. He sold it all to Orator Woodward for $450. When the Woodward family sold the trademarked name again, it was worth 66 million dollars. Orator Woodward didn’t live to see that windfall. His family, squabbling and fractious, enjoyed it in many, very different ways. The youngest son, Donald Woodward used some of it to build a house for his wife on dozens of acres with a commanding view east of the town of LeRoy. Divorced soon after, the Woodwards had little time to appreciate the three-story mansion with the in-basement pool, enormous central hallway and richly wooded ballroom. It would become, instead, a rehabilitation home for children with cerebral palsy and then a summer rest house for the Sisters of Mercy. In the last decade, yet another owner lives and works from here: the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. Mercedian Friars date their order’s beginning to the year 1218. The latest generation of Friars calls Mercygrove both home and US headquarters. On its ample grounds and through its wide inner spaces, the Mercedians say they have found the perfect place to find their inner peace and to help others do the same.heir new home as a home and not a museum.

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