Welcome to Penfield
Founded in 1810 as the first of Rochester's east-side towns to be established shows through pride in the rich history, planned growth, exceptional schools, vibrant business centers, involved residents, quality parks, recreation and unique national treasures.
As of the census of 2000, there were 34,645 people, 13,144 households, and 9,634 families residing in the town. The population density was 923.9 people per square mile (356.7/km²). There were 13,673 housing units at an average density of 364.6 per square mile (140.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 93.48% White, 3.05% Asian, 2.11% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.43% of the population. There are an estimated 2,393 veterans in the town.
There were 13,144 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.4% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.7% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the town, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $63,223, and the median income for a family was $74,959. Males had a median income of $52,282 versus $33,365 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,576. About 2.3% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.
The unemployment rate, as of July 2013, was 5.5%. This is below the 7.6% unemployment rate of New York State in July 2013.
The lands that now constitute the Town of Penfield were part of the hunting grounds of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee tribes. There is no evidence of Seneca settlements within Penfield, but the town does include the place now called "Indian Landing." From this landing on the shores of Irondequoit Bay, trails and water routes went throughout the region and beyond. This included a water route with only two portages leading from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
Following the American Revolution the lands that became Penfield were included in the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. After passing through several hands, Townships 13 and 14 of Range IV of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase were acquired by Daniel Penfield in several transactions during the course of 1795.
The area in today's Monroe County remained divided by the Genesee River, and all the settlements to the east of the Genesee became part of the town of Northfield in 1796. Those to the west of the river were organized into Northampton in 1797. As the population rapidly grew both settlements divided. Northfield first became Boyle, from which Penfield split in 1810.
The Town of Penfield was established in 1810 and the first Town Meeting was held on April 2, 1811. The town initially consisted of Townships 13 and 14 of Range IV.
A portion of the southwest corner went to the Town of Brighton when it was established in 1814, and Township 14 became the Town of Webster in 1840. So modern Penfield is, with minor differences, Township 13 of Range IV of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase.
The original Penfield Town Hall was built in 1895 and was deemed a Penfield landmark in 1981. This building is located at 2131 Five Mile Line Road. In the 1950s the downstairs of the town hall was the library and when the location of the Penfield Town Hall was changed, the library took over the entire building. The library has now since been moved to Baird Road Community Center. In 1966 the Penfield Town hall was moved to its current location at 3100 Atlantic Avenue. The original building of the town hall is currently a maternity clothing store.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
- The Horace and Grace Bush House.
- Daisy Flour Mill.
- Dayton's Corners School.
- Hipp-Kennedy House.
- Mud House.
- Penfield Road Historic District.
- Stephen Phelps House.
- Samuel Rich House.
- Harvey Whalen House.
As with many suburbs of the United States of America, Penfield's workforce co-exists with the major corporations and institutions found in the Rochester, NY metropolitan area. These corporations include Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb. Major health, insurance, and educational institutions also contribute to employment and culture, including University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Rochester Regional Health.
The town is primarily served by the Penfield and Webster central school districts, with relatively small portions of the town served by the Pittsford and Wayne central school districts.
Additionally, there are several privately run schools:
- The Charles Finney School (grades K–12), non-denominational Christian
- Bread of Life Christian Academy (grades K–8), non-denominational Christian
- Southeast Christian Academy (grades 1–12), Baptist
- Rochester Christian School (grades K–8), Calvinist
- St. Joseph Elementary School (grades K–6), operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester
- Webster Montessori School (grades pre-K–5), secular