In April 1848, abolitionistFrederick Douglass purchased his first home in Rochester at 4 Alexander Street, about 150 feet south-southwest of what was then Main Street (currently East Avenue). A later street renumbering also exchanged the odd and even sides of the street, so the site now bears the address 297 Alexander Street.
Douglass purchased the house from an antislavery activist, jeweler John Kedzie. The sale was engineered by Joseph Marsh, publisher of an Adventist newspaper whose offices were in the Talman Block, where Douglass edited his antislavery newspapers. The homeowners on either side were fellow abolitionists who welcomed Douglass as a neighbor; other residents of the block protested an African American moving into their "aspiring" suburban neighborhood.