Fresh from the Archives

May 29, 2014

Over the past few months we’ve collected a handful of photos from descendants of the Hart family, from intimate shots of family picnics to exterior and interior shots of Hart’s stores around the Rochester area.

We’re totally jazzed to have come across a photo collection of the old Hart’s stores in Rochester.

Hart's store at Union and Monroe
A fender bender at the corner of Union and Monroe.
A Hart’s store is featured in the background, where Kim Dao Jewelry & Repairs stands presently (view on Google street view).
Undated photograph.

Part of the Harold Lara collection at the City Historian’s office, many of these photos feature Hart’s as a backdrop to an automobile fender bender or a crime scene.

Harold Lara was on staff at the Democrat and Chronicle until the late 1920s when he started his own business. He worked a great deal for local insurance agencies and attorneys, photographing car crashes and storefronts for liquor licenses.

A clerk at a Hart's store, ca. 1930.
A clerk at a Hart’s store, ca. 1930. This photograph was taken by Lara while police were investigating a robbery at the store.

By the time Lara died in 1999, his collection outnumbered 100,000 negatives. While cleaning out his house, Lara’s family found negatives all over, from the attic to the basement. Many had already started to deterioriate.

Lara’s family turned over the entire collection to the Office of the City Historian, who is presently cataloging and preserving the collection. It is hoped that the vast collection will soon be available to the public.

Until then, we’re excited to share a handful of these photos with you!

Special thanks to Nancy Rosin for pulling these photos for Hart’s from the enormous collection and to Barb Koehler at the Office of the City Historian for providing a historical background on Harold Lara.

All photographs part of the Harold W. Lara Collection, Office of the City Historian

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