A Lakeside, Riverside Place for a Lifetime
The Charlotte Neighborhood
To the visitors who flock here, the Charlotte (char-LOTT) neighborhood is a quintessential waterside destination. Toddlers build sandcastles, young people play beach volleyball, music lovers enjoy the outdoor concerts and anglers cast from the pier. Weekend boaters hoist the sails, while children of all ages whirl on the genuine1905 Dentzel carousel. On blistering summer days frozen cones of authentic Italian Ice cool body temperatures and during the crisp February weekend of Winterfest, steaming bowls of "Chilly Chili" warm tummies.
But talk to long-time residents or spend the day walking the neighborhood, and you will discover a lesser-known fact: Charlotte is also a stellar place to live. Near the historic waterfront lives a friendly and stable community of year-round residents, many of whom were born and raised here. And there's not only Lake Ontario here-- there's also the mighty Genesee River, which after crashing over the High and Lower Falls, makes its final dramatic bend at magnificent Turning Point Park before reaching the lake. You can take it all in from the wonderful Genesee Riverway Trail.
The historic Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse in background. [PHOTO: Dan Dangler]
Charlotte extends like a narrow outstretched limb from the city's center north along the Genesee River. It is bordered on three sides by open space: Turning Point Park along the Genesee, Ontario Beach Park on the lake, and the extensive Riverside and Holy Sepulchre cemeteries to the south. In between, the neighborhood is blessed with undulating topography. Many residential streets are built on small ridges with valleys in between, creating a pleasant wooded feel to the area.
Founded before Rochesterville, Charlotte was established as a port by the U.S. Congress in 1805 and its landmark stone lighthouse constructed in 1822. By the end of that century, the busy commercial port doubled as summer retreat. Widely advertised as the "Coney Island of the West," the area's popular strand, hotels, boardwalk, and amusement park attracted vacationers via the New York Central railroad. Grand summer homes sprang up on the beachfront and smaller cottages on the nearby streets. Today these turn-of-the-century homes are owned by full-time residents and represent some of the older housing in the neighborhood. Charlotte also includes significant pockets of Post World War II houses, including developments from the 1980s.
In recent decades residents have worked vigilantly to preserve and improve the quality of residential life in the village. In 1962, the Charlotte Community Association was created in response to concerns about noise, traffic and other neighborhood issues. A decade later the Association spearheaded a battle to halt the construction of huge oil tanks in the undeveloped land along the river. Instead, the neighborhood convinced the city to buy the 104-acre tract for a wilderness preserve and in 1977, after 15 years of struggle, Turning Point Park was dedicated. Today the Community Association boasts some 500 paying members, ranking it among the largest and oldest associations in the city.