The Swillburg neighborhood is a cozy, active, triangular shaped twenty block community in Rochester, New York. The neighborhood, home to dedicated and caring residents, is bordered by Field Street, South Clinton Avenue, Meigs Street, and I-490. The charming, narrow streets and natural mixture of homes and businesses offer the feel of a village with the convenience of city living.
Swillburg’s historic center is said to be the Karages farm, which is memorialized by Karages Place, a short narrow street that runs between Clinton Ave and I-490. It is next to the Old Erie Canal which is now I-490. George Goebel at the turn of the century ran a prominent pig farm at the corner of Henrietta Street and South Goodman Ave. Swillburg’s name may have originated here because Goebel’s pigs fed on neighbors garbage known as swill.
At the turn of the century, Irish and German immigrants settled in the working-class neighborhood, setting up speciality shops, grocery stores and other businesses along thriving South Clinton Avenue. Today, businesses such as the 1930’s Highland Park Diner, upscale Rooney’s Restaurant, and the authentic India House provide diverse dining opportunities.
A typical evening in Swillburg might include a leisurely walk through a community garden, a bite to eat at a local establishment, a movie at the beautifully-restored Art Deco Cinema Theater. Otto Henderberg Park, named after a lifelong Swillburg resident who fought to save the neighborhood after the City Council announced plans to dissect it with an extension of I-390 from Brighton to downtown. The council in 1975 voted to abandon plans, but not before a swath of 40 houses was demolished to make way for the project. The park was eventually built in place of the wrecked homes. One of the demolished homes, 14 Sycamore Street was where fampus jazz muscian Cab Calloway was born. A commemorative plaque now stands in its place.
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(Information taken from the D&C 08 Sep 1999, Page 64)