Ellwanger and Barry Nursery Office, Rochester New York
When the building was constructed, the firm of Ellwanger and Barry was the largest nursery establishment in the world. There were over 30,000 square feet of greenhouses, employing about 200 men. Traveling salesmen and office help were in addition to this figure. Following the opening of Japan to trading with the West, the firm received an unlimited order from Japan for a selection of specimens to be chosen by the partners, primarily Barry, the horticulturist. Ellwanger appears to have been the businessman of the partnership. Both men were prominent in business and community affairs, serving on bank boards and in elective offices. Barry was elected as the alderman of the 12th Ward in 1860. Both partners lived adjacent to the nursery. All Ellwanger property was located on the west side of Mt. Hope Avenue. All Barry houses were on the east side of the street.
It is interesting to note that Ellwanger and Barry selected the design by Davis, one of America's proponents of the Gothic Revival and collaborator with A. J. Downing in The Architecture of Country Houses, first published in 1850, Downing, a nurseryman in Newburgh, New York, published several books, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, Adapted to North America (1841), and The Fruits and Fruit Trees of North America (1845). In 1846, he began publication of The Horticulturist, to which Patrick Barry also contributed.
Included with the Mt. Hope-Highland Historic District are four Gothic Revival cottages built by Ellwanger and Barry for employees between 1855 and 1868.
Overall dimensions: Thirty-two feet by thirty-nine feet; originally three-bay entrance facade; two story; originally T-shape plan with three-story tower at southwest crossing.
Floor plan: The north entrance opens into the reception area which runs parallel to the original west facade and includes the first floor of the tower. Access is provided to a meeting room in the south wing and the center L-shaped office. A bath and small office are located in the southeast and northeast corners respectively. The room arrangement is similar in the upper story. The basement has been remodeled for additional office space.