The city of Rochester, New York is widely recognized as a leader in the photo imaging industry, but little is known of Rochester’s contribution to the advancement of the medical field. The city’s reputation as a leader in the medical field goes back to 1856 when St. Mary’s Hospital opened on West Main Street. By 1900, Rochester hosted many prominent hospitals such as the City Hospital, later named Rochester General Hospital, Rochester Homeopathic Hospital which later became the Genesee Hospital, Hahnemann Hospital that later became Highland Hospital, and St. Mary’s Hospital. Many smaller hospitals would emerge during this period such as the Lee Private Hospital. The Rochester community became an important area in the practice and advancement of homeopathic medicine. One of Rochester’s leading homeopathic physicians was John Mallory Lee, a renowned surgeon and a leading figure in Rochester medicine. Dr. Lee established the Lee Private Hospital on the corner of Lake and Jones Avenues on January 8, 1898. For the next seventy-three years, this hospital would embody the virtues of commitment to medicine and service to the community from Dr. Lee and his family and under his successor, Charles C. Teresi M.D. as the Lake Avenue Hospital.
Both Doctors Lee and Teresi were innovators in their medical practices. Dr. Lee gained recognition for his work with nuclear medicine for the treatment of cancer. Dr. Teresi’s own personal experiences would endear him to the many ethnic communities in Rochester by his compassion and unwavering commitment. The ornate building, would endure through the economic hardships of the depression, endeavor through the war years and adapt to the ever-changing advancements in medical technology. The story of this unique institution ended in the summer of 1975 with the building’s demolition, but its legacy remains in the memories of the people whose lives were improved by the hospital at 179 Lake Avenue.