Remembering the day downtown Rochester received a booster shot


With all the talk about vaccines and needles lately, I have been infected with a vague memory of downtown Rochester. I swear there was once a giant needle used for some sort of public event in downtown Rochester. I think it happened in about 1985. Can you cure me of this memory or confirm that it is true and that I am not crazy about needles. – The queen of vaccines

Wow. There is a lot going on in this letter. I needed a shot after reading it.

First, while I certainly have the depth of academic and practical education equal to most flavors of doctors (except doctors), I cannot claim the right to use this title. However, tsar, guru or even viceroy are suitable titles.

My crack research team, led by Susan Hanson at the Rochester Public Library, was able to track down this wandering memory with pinpoint accuracy.

Intrepid PB reporter Ron Freeberg packed a lot of information into a short story in the August 21, 1981 issue of the Post Bulletin about the event you almost remember.

Northwest Bank and Rauenhorst Corp. hosted a festive kick-off for the construction of the new $ 6 million bank and office building at 21 First St. SW. He then moved on to Norwest then Wells Fargo.

Instead of the usual grand opening, the developers decided to have a 35ft syringe made for the event. The developers and city leaders pushed the piston to start the project. Then they served a Lorraine quiche and champagne.

“Bank President John Cochran said it symbolized ‘a boost’ for downtown development. He said the celebratory occasion was an effort to “let our hair down” after starting a project that represented a record of complexity in real estate transactions, “according to the Freeburg article.

It was the conclusion of a two-year debate. The original proposal included the demolition of the then unused Chateau Theater. Protests from the “conservatives” eventually pushed the plans west, which is why the Wells Fargo building creates this strange airway over First Avenue.

The article ended with Freeberg going after the entire community.

“Today’s revolutionary hype with the mammoth hypodermic needle could thus become the ‘gunshot heard around town’.”

He earned several Answer Man bonus points for including the words “hoopla”, “mammoth” and “so” in a sentence. I think this is a feat that has not been duplicated since the heady days of 1981.

The result is this: send the questions for Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com.


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