Views from SU’s Bird Library

I was in a workshop on March 27, 2015 on the 6th floor of SU’s Bird Library, and took photos from all of the windows I could find.  Here they are:

A view from the room we were in for class:


A view from the room where we ate lunch:


And a view from the quiet study room with the Plastics exhibition:


Letchworth State Park

Because of the continuous cold throughout the winter of 2014-2015, Letchworth State Park’s Genesee River and falls completely froze over, and the spring created a frozen volcano.  Here’s some photos I took of the river and the volcano after they had already started melting on March 9th, 2015.

Here’s the middle falls:




Here’s the volcano, with my Mom beside it for a reference as to its size:

Here’s a couple of views from high up of the river / falls and Portage Bridge:



Needless to say, we can’t wait for spring!

George Eastman House

We went to the George Eastman House this past week to see The Dutch Connection:



Note the Aeolian Pipe Organ in the conservatory:



After getting our eyeballs full of spring flowers, we saw a video on the North Organ, donated by Dr. Richard Zipf.  Here’s a quick history of the Aeolian Pipe Organ at the Eastman House.  I would love to hear organ music in the Eastman House!






We went to go into the Dawn of Technicolor exhibit, and somebody started feeling ill, I won’t mention any names, but I had to take Thursday off from work because I still wasn’t feeling well.  Much better now, but I missed the exhibition!!  However, there is a book. . .

This is the wall of bottles of dyes outside the Technocolor exhibition, it is SO cool!!



Hurd Orchards

On Tuesday last my Mom and I went to Hurd Orchards in Holley, NY. It was a beautiful, although very windy, day.


One of the first things I spied was the field of zinnias – I *love* zinnias!



And then a garden full of mums:


I took a photo of my Mom in an area they had set up to take photos, with an old tractor and pumpkins and squashes. I love this old wheelbarrow.


Inside the store, they have baskets hanging from the ceiling:


Inside the barn, they have flowers hanging from the ceiling:


And hydrangeas on the floor:


And a gorgeous flower arrangement:


And just outside the barn, a fabulous display of squashes and pumpkins. Mmmm!  All a feast for the eyeballs!


July 4th at Oswego

No fireworks on July 4th, because I always love the fireworks at Oswego’s Harborfest.  But we did go to Oswego yesterday with the hope that it would clear, and it did, but it was windy all day, which made it nice and cool. They are dredging at the Port of Oswego: 074

Here’s a tugboat taking a barge of dredge out to dump in Lake Ontario: You can hear how windy it is in this video.

I didn’t go swimming because I didn’t feel like dealing with the rough water yesterday, even though the water was warm:

The House That Aaron Built

By Pamela A. F. Priest

In January 2012, former Syracuse Post-Standard columnist and current OHA volunteer Dick Case sent an email to OHA inquiring about “The Lyons Settlement” of Syracuse.  Research yielded a booklet entitled Home Beautiful:  The Transition of a Shabby House.  This booklet detailed the history and renovation of resident Aaron Hoyt’s “Shabby House,” originally located at 10 Baker Street (now Clinton Street), a very short street off W. Adams Street in 1851.  Imagine my surprise when I realized Aaron Hoyt was my four great-grandfathers!  This fact served to make my research and the story even more interesting and personal.

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Anna E. Lyons crayon drawing from her 1909 journal, showing the homes built on West Adams street, including Aaron Hoyt’s home in the mid-right foreground.   A newspaper caption read, “Fourteenth Ward in 1854, Old Crayon Showing the Old Sixth Ward from Baker Street to Stearns Factory, With Binghamton Depot to the Right.”

Aaron Hoyt built his home on Baker Street probably using lumber cut from the land he owned in Sentinel Heights (then called East Hill).  All the lumber was hewn and scored by hand and the entire structure was put together using handmade wooden pegs.  According to Newton King, former Town of LaFayette historian, Aaron Hoyt was a local carpenter who also was responsible for the construction of several of the larger buildings located in the Village of Syracuse during the early 1800s.  Unfortunately,

Aaron Hoyt died suddenly of “ague” in 1847, as noted in his son William Hoyt’s diary:  “1847 August 26, Father & family return to Syracuse, father get down with ague”; “September 1 go to Syracuse & dig Potatoes for father”; “September 10, 11, 12 Father very Sick. Life despaired of. Sick with Summer complaint and Child Fever. Weather variable hot & cold. A sickly season in Syracuse”; “September 20 Aaron Hoyt, Sen. departed his life this Day at 4 o’clock PM in the full hope of a blessed immortality.”

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1882 Sanborn Map showing Aaron Hoyt’s home at 10 Baker Street on the corner of West Adams and Baker Street.

Aaron Hoyt’s wife, Sophia (Brooks) Hoyt, had her niece, Miss Mary S. Hoyt, a photographer, move into the home with her after her husband’s death.  However, shortly thereafter, Sophia decided to rent the house. She eventually moved to Lexington, Kentucky, with two of her daughters, where she died on  August 26, 1872. Son William Hoyt continued to collect rent for his family’s home.  In 1880, he chose to sell the house and property to Mrs. William Lyons for $2,500, as documented once again in his diary.  In 1882, Lyons built a concrete house in front of the little frame house erected by Hoyt so many years earlier.  Unfortunately, the original house remained vacant and became very rundown.  In 1934, after being given the moniker “Shabby House,” the Syracuse Home Improvement Campaign moved it to James Square, where it was totally renovated.  That city program was created to provide work for local labor using local materials.  Design features such as electric switches, phone outlets, washable wallpaper, rubber kitchen floor and clothes closets were included.  Renovation costs came in at $3,850 with furnishings, appliances and decorative elements adding another $1,876.  Local architect Webster Moulton oversaw the renovations.  Decorations were provided by another local business, G.W. Richardson and Son, Inc., and a local landscaper provided the landscaping plan.  Once completed, the public was invited to view the end results and thousands passed through the newly designed front entrance.

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The house at James Square (James and North Warren Streets) so people could watch its transformation.

Several publications continued to follow the intriguing story of the “Shabby House.”  In February of 1976, the Syracuse Herald-American featured the house, which was then owned by Dan and Jo-Anne Murphy, and in January of 1997, the Syracuse Post-Standard covered it.  While rummaging in a shop in Seattle, Washington, one of the This Old House  magazine writers found a copy of the 1934 booklet produced to detail the rebirth of the house.  The booklet intrigued the writer to conduct further research resulting in a feature article for the Jan/Feb 1997 edition.


 Illustration from article published in the December 1934 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

2012.114D Aaron  Hoyt Home aka Shabby House at James Square

Aaron Hoyt’s home transformed from “Shabby House” to “House Beautiful.”

Today, Aaron Hoyt’s “Shabby House” still stands on Ashdale Ave. – a testament to the outstanding construction abilities and methods of its original builder and owner, Aaron Hoyt, in 1838.

Unedited version here!


Now that it is somewhat warmer outside, I have the need to be outside in the evenings.  Last night I had the need for some hills to fill my mind and make me feel alive (“The hills are alive. . .”), okay, no, I just love the glacially cut hills of Onondaga County.  So I hiked it down to Cortland (well, I mean drove), and I wanted something to eat, so A&W it was, because I remember coming here as a child, and I wanted to play with the buttons.  You know, as a child, you don’t get to do any of that, being relegated to the back seat.

Here’s the menu:
I wish I had a photo of the menu from when I was a child!

They still stick the tray on your window, even though the window is a bit slanted:

You can go inside to eat, but what fun is that?

Here’s the rest of the bays.

It was fun to sit there and have someone bring stuff out. Like magic. Like being a child again! And no, there were no roller skates involved!

These photos were taken on my cellphone, so not the best.  I need to start bringing my camera with me now that it is warmer outside.


Last night I went to Alaska:

At least it looked like what I think Alaska might look like in spots:

I mean, doesn’t it look like it?

Seriously, I went to Lake Ontario at Oswego last night, and this is what Lake Ontario looked like! Unbelievable! I’ve never seen this before.


See this scene:


It looks like this in the summertime:
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Ahhhh, summertime. . .


And here is what these formations are called:

I learned a new word last night: snowbergs. Yeah, I’d rather not have learned that word, ever. But you have to admit, this is pretty cool, now that we’re (supposedly) into springtime now.

2013 New York State Fair

Last night was a beautiful night and we decided to go the NYS Fair. I like going with a list of things to do so I don’t forget anything. First up, the OHA Onondaga Lake exhibit along with the other Onondaga Lake exhibits.

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OHA’s Exhibition

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A dredge cutter head – Onondaga Lake is in the process of being dredged.

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Examples of fish in Onondaga Lake. Wow.

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A bald eagle. Poor eagle, sitting all caged up.

Then on to the sand sculpture – which was still being created. Hmmm, I was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t ready for the fair, but at least I got to see most of it.

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One side a guitar. . .

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The other side produce, and. . .

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A farm scene.

Then to the Empire Theatre where we were hoping there was going to be organ music, but no, now it’s limited to Mon & Tues. So we skipped out of there and went to see the model train display.

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A great model of the 4th New York Central Railroad train station on Erie Blvd. in Syracuse.

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I love the circus posters!

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Beautiful roses in the Horticulture Building.

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The butter sculpture, which is always fun to see.

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Then the history of the New York State fair, which has some of OHA’s images in it.

They had models of previous years’ butter sculptures:
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Then eating at P-Z-O’s, which is only at the fair, which is too bad, because the red sauce is good. A family sat at the same picnic table next to us, and the kid spilled her water all over me. At least it was just water.
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Then we’re done, and as we’re walking back to the gate, we saw cows being walked.
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And the daily parade. Which I just realized this morning, while I was watching it, I was being televised, so I was on TV. If I find the clip, I’ll post it here!