RIT's Downtown campus: The buildings

RIT's long history begins in 1829 with the founding of The Athenaeum, twelve years after the incorporation of Rochester as a town. In 1885, Henry Lomb, Max Lowenthal, Frank Ritter and others founded the Mechanics Institute. These two organizations merged in 1891 to become the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.

The Institute's first building was built in 1894 along the Erie Canal. It was known as the Manual Training building.

With steady growth over the next few years, the Eastman building was added in 1901 with generous help from George Eastman, Kodak's founder. Property was purchased between Washington St.,Spring St. and Plymouth Avenue in the heart of the original 100 acres that was Rochester at the time.
Shortly after the opening of the Eastman building, a woman named Susan Bevier bequethed a large sum of money for an art building with a gallery and classrooms. She also left a sizable art collection. The Bevier Memorial building designed by well-known architect, Claude Bragdon opened in 1911.