This past summer, I went to Rochester to visit a friend. Initially, I had no idea what we were going to do. As a Buffalo native, I was of the mindset that there's nothing to do in Rochester. That was until I learned of the George Eastman House, a historical landmark and former home to the founder of the Eastman-Kodak Company, one of the pioneers in household camera use.
Mr. Eastman was a complicated, successful, and hardworking individual. He was a fiercely dedicated man, committed to controlling his life. This can be seen throughout in every detail of his home that he oversaw from its inception to the tale of his suicide. The George Eastman house was built in 1905 and is an amazing testament to architecture and design of the early twentieth century. The spectacular gardens that line the property feature trellises, 16th century Venetian planters, and the most beautiful arrangements of foxglove, hydrangea, and ivy. Every window in the house overlooks these amazing gardens. The Eastman House features beautiful tile flooring, old-world moldings and carvings throughout, and magnificent art and furniture. Eastman was, understandably, interested in advancing technology. At one point, his house had around nineteen telephones. He also created the first surround sound system of his time by installing the pipes of his organ in the walls, which can be heard throughout his large home.
George Eastman's dedication to the arts and education are preserved in the 68,000 square foot film and photography museum that is attached to his estate. The photography archives feature works from nearly every major figure of the medium, and the motion picture archives contain stills from many major films and directors, from Orson Welles to Quentin Tarantino.
The George Eastman House is absolutely worth a visit, whether you're interested in photography, architecture, botany, or film history. It is truly a portal to an amazing period of time.