In 1817, Silas O. Smith purchased ninety wooded acres outside of the growing pioneer village of Rochesterville, on the country road to the distant village of Pittsford. He had come to the frontier from Massachusetts in 1810 and set up as a dry goods merchant. In 1838, Smith began work, with the architect/builder Alfred Badger, upon what would become the grand statement of his success and his place in the society of the growing city. He and a few other leading citizens decided to forsake the fashionable streets of the Third Ward for the spacious woodlands east of town. Badger was from Portsmouth, NH and he and Smith found inspiration for Smith’s new house amongst the finest houses of their former homes in New England. By 1844, three beautiful Greek Revival houses, the Pitkin house across the street, the Ericson-Perkins house, now the Genesee Valley Club, to the west, and the Smith house, became the foundation for what would become the city of Rochester’s most beautiful thoroughfare, and would inspire the mansions that would come to line East Avenue. Smith named his new home Woodside for its location on his ninety wooded acres.
Inside, each of the three floors is bisected by a central hall. These halls hold the graceful curving staircase that morphs to a sharply rising spiral when it leaves the third floor for the cupola. This much-photographed staircase is monumental, imposing and, at the same time, light and almost whimsical.
The first-floor rooms are grandly luxurious, fourteen-foot high ceilings; ten-foot doors, four-inches thick; moldings of astounding size, depth and complexity; fireplaces surrounded by beautifully carved, exotic marbles; stunning, immense light fixtures. And yet, despite all this beautiful grandiosity and luxury, the immense scale of the rooms, they were rendered in such pleasing proportions, in both their size and details that they attain a surprising and pleasing comfort. The rooms on the western side of the first floor are used as the formal, entertaining rooms, living room and dining room. They are separated by pocket doors of rosewood grain. The center entry hall is a lovely large room itself, accentuated by the architectural curves of the staircase. At the rear of the house, the center hall leads to a beautifully renovated powder room and the delightful and spacious covered rear porch that overlooks the back garden.
On the eastern side of the house are two large more informal rooms, still with lovely fireplaces, moldings, and doors, separated by a back hallway and staircase. The room to the rear is open to the kitchen. It is a wonderful everyday living space, perfect for informal dining and the normal activities of daily life. Within the room there is a wet bar with large ice-maker and spacious black, leathered-finish granite counters and cabinets.
The library on the east side of the house can comfortably accommodate a large screen television, the furnishings of a cozy den, an impressive office, or a comfortable family room with built-in shelving to display your collections.
The kitchen features SubZero and Wolf appliances, modern custom ivory-colored cabinetry, more black leathered-finish granite counters, and all the amenities of upscale contemporary kitchen design. From the kitchen there is a recently constructed rear exit into the attached three-car garage. The garage is also a recent addition; it is heated and even features a Tesla charging station. Here are the finest examples of historic design and craftsmanship coupled with luxurious modern amenities in new bathrooms, kitchen, heating and air-conditioning, etcetera.
The third floor has four large bedrooms, one full bathroom, and some utility rooms. The finishes here are simple and plain. From here, the stairway becomes a spiral and leads to the round windowed cupola whose door accesses the observation deck outside. Here, the East Avenue cultural district is at your feet. The view of parades, fireworks, or of the neighboring East Avenue spires is unequaled.