Growing up, Robert Abbott lived on Rochester’s northwest side. From his family home on Emerson Street, young Abbott was close enough to Maplewood Park that he could to walk to work at the Maplewood YMCA, near the corner of Lake and Driving Park avenues. He completed his primary education at School No. 34 on Lexington Avenue before moving to Madison High School, where he graduated in 1934.
According to Abbott’s high school yearbook, The Madisonian, “Bob” participated in a number of clubs and sports. A student athelete, Abbott played two years of soccer and joined the basketball team during his senior year. He also displayed early signs of his political future, serving as a student government cabinet member, and as his class secretary.
The Madisonian also reveals Abbott’s physical toughness. A poem accompanying his class picture reads:
A strong and healthy fellow we’ll all agree,
A physical culture teacher someday he will be.
Built in 1922, Madison High School stood on the corners of Epworth Street and Wilson Park. Abbott’s alma mater closed in 1981 and was razed in 1983.