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50 West Main Street building records

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITArc-0387

Scope and Contents

The 50 West Main Street building records contains documents related to the history and acquisition of the building. There are preliminary applications, proposals, letters, and evidences to prove why RIT acquired the Duffy-Powers building from the government between 1959-1961. In addition to this, there is a report of excess real property from the Department of the Navy which listed Rochester Institute of Technology as the interested party. Also included are drafts for floor plans, furniture, and interior room designs, clippings, general business papers, and miscellaneous papers pertaining to 50 West Main building during the time period RIT owned the building.

Added to the collection is an Architect/Engineer report dated October 9, 1978, and one from November 1980 for the 50 West Main Street building.


  • Creation: 1916, 1939, 1959-1964, 1966, 1969, 1970-1977, 1980-1984, 1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1959 - 1962

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

In 1905, the future site of RIT's City Center was purchased for $200,000. Charles F. Crandell and John F. Strobel designed a building which opened March 4, 1907, as the Duffy-McInnerney Department Store. The name later changed to the Duffy-Powers Building. In April 12, 1932, the department store declared bankruptcy and the Rochester Savings Bank bought the building in 1936. The building was empty for a period before opening in September 1940 as an Exhibit Center for the city. In May 1944, the U.S. Government paid the city of Rochester one million dollars for the building and it became the “Kodak Naval Ordinance Plant,” manufacturing weapons and ammunition during the war. Kodak vacated the building in 1960, moving the operations to another location.

In 1960, the building was put up for sale by the government, fueling speculation as to who would rent or lease this building. The city wanted the building back for use by the city and RIT wanted the building to satisfy its needs for much needed space. In June 1961, RIT acquired the building through a twenty-year agreement with the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to use the building for educational purposes in exchange for 5% of the fixed value of the building.

50 West Main was the fourth major addition to the campus in a few years. It was used as headquarters for College of General Studies and College of Business. It contained classrooms, laboratories, a Reading and Study Clinic, the Distillation Research Laboratory, and the RIT Development Office. In 1970, the building was named “Metropolitan Center” by President Paul A. Miller. Throughout the years after RIT acquired the building, some of the spaces were leased out to other organizations and it was offered for use by the city as a community center. The building was later renamed as the “City Center”. RIT sold the building and now it is mainly used by Monroe County offices such as Department of Motor Vehicles.

This building was known as Duffy-Powers building, 50 West Main, Metropolitan Center, and City Center over the years.


1 Box(es) (One small blue/gray document box.)




The collection includes documents related to the history of use of the building located at 50 West Main Street in Rochester, NY. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) owned the building between 1962 and the 1990's. The building was called the Metropolitan Center and the City Center by RIT, and was previously known as the Duffy-McInnerney Department Store and the Duffy-Powers building. Documents include correspondence, architectural sketches, clippings, 1995 task force meeting presentation, and history of the building.


The folders are arranged by subject and are contained within eight folders. Some materials within folders are arranged in a chronological order.

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

50 West Main Street records

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Veronica Raco in July 2012.

The 50 West Main Street building records
RIT Archives
Veronica Raco
09 July 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA