In 1941, a group of deaf men met on a regular basis in a club room located at 21 Front Street in Rochester. They were members of the so-called Rochester Sphinx Club. Socials and other entertainments were planned to raise money to pay the rent of the clubroom.
The club incorporated in 1945, and the name was changed to Rochester Recreation Club for the Deaf, Inc. (RRCD). Women were eventually allowed to join. Socializing was very popular as there were no ttys, no tv captioning, no open-captioned movies at theaters. People met at the club to catch up on news, and make plans or other appointments.
From 1945 to 1966, the club met at various locations, renting space when needed. RRCD began hosting New York State Bowling Tournaments. They also started showing 16-mm captioned films every weekend, sometimes showing twice in an evening to handle the large crowds.
In 1966, RRCD purchased a building at 1275-1279 St. Paul Street for $12,000. Members volunteered their services fixing up the club into presentable condition; more socials were planned and membership grew. Bingo, Bank Night, weekly bowling leagues, and euchre games were frequent social events. A number of educational programs were presented for the members.
In February 1989, the clubhouse burned down, due to arson. For one and a half years, the members had no place for their meetings, so they met at Perry’s Bowling Lanes, and began searching for a new clubhouse.
In 1991, a building was purchased at 1564 Lyell Avenue for $144,000. After remodeling, the building officially opened in 1992. Many bowling tournaments were hosted by RRCD. Super Bowl parties were held with the club’s 52-inch TV. Steer Roasts kicked off the fall season each year. A local publication, Deaf Rochester News, was sponsored by RRCD for ten years. Interpreters were welcomed as members, and new programs such as D.E.A.R. and R.E.A.P. were started. Euchre became popular and drew many new members. Soon the mortgage was paid off, with a note-burning ceremony. Other local organizations began using the clubhouse for their events. A new website was started in 2006. RRCD has truly become a hub for the Rochester Deaf Community.