Category: History

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!!





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.

Bailey’s Dairy Treat in Nedrow

When I was a kid, my parents would periodically take us to Bailey’s Dairy Treat in Nedrow. If I remember correctly, the ice cream was good! We went to Nedrow because at that time there wasn’t an ice cream stand in LaFayette.

I took a couple of photos of the place last year. This is a photo of the sign:
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And a photo of the stand itself:
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As I drive by it, I’ve been noticing it has been improving over the years, so I stopped in a couple of weeks ago to talk to the owner. He has owned the place for six years. It has been open for 54 years (so it opened in 1958), and he has some old photos he will be sharing soon. I stopped in last night, and he wasn’t there, but I took some photos, because he has a new sign:

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And the ice cream cone that blew down some time in 2012 (I think) on the stand is back up:
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Once I see the old photos, I’ll post them here. If I remember correctly, the stand was white when I was a kid, but it’s been a while, so I could be wrong!

Tales From the Crypt. . .

This isn’t really about a crypt, but I like the title, so I’m sticking with it.

OHA had its annual Ghostwalk at Oakwood Cemetery, and this year included a trip into the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, as a surprise to our guests!  Everyone always asks “can we go inside the chapel?”  And this year they did.  Well, I did, too, before the Ghostwalk started, and without any lights on – in complete darkness in the vault in the back, I snapped flash photos –  not knowing what I was pointing at.  The inside of the chapel wasn’t much better, but at least it had a couple of windows so I didn’t go falling into the holes in the floor.  This chapel was designed by architect J. Lyman Silsbee.

Here is the inside of the chapel, looking from where a priest would stand to the doors leading to the outside:
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Going up the wall toward the ceiling – mind these were taken in darkness, so they are not all lined up beautifully like I like:
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Here’s one side of the chapel:
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And the other side:
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And towards the front of the chapel – don’t mind the nervous actor in the photo:
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And the front of the chapel towards the ceiling. Yo, I need to clean that camera’s lens!
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More details. I love Silsbee. Did you know Frank Lloyd Wright worked for Silsbee?
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This place needs some serious TLC!
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Floor details at the front between the chapel and the vault (keeping in mind I could not see anything while snapping photos!):
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Cool door, I hope there was more of a door than this between the chapel and the vault. Ack!
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Light fixture between chapel and vault:
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And the vault:
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Hallway leading out of the vault – to the light of day!
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And now I know what the inside looks like – and so do you. Here’s a stone on the outside of the building:
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I love Silsbee’s details:
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I’ll leave you with the beautiful garden planted in front of the chapel:
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Octagon Schoolhouse Cemetery aka Otisco Southern Cemetery

I was processing a photographic collection a couple of weeks ago – photos taken by Charles A. Billings, who was a member of the Syracuse Camera Club.  Some photos were taken in Onondaga County, and some outside Onondaga County (the Camera Club traveled around the state).  When I came to the end of the collection, I found two photos of a tombstone and war marker belonging to Leavitt A. Billings, buried in Octagon Cemetery.  To myself, I thought, he’s not in Onondaga County, so I moved on.  But then it bugged me.  In the back of my brain, I knew I had seen Octagon Cemetery before, so I went to my extensive cemetery list at rootsweb, and saw Southern / Octagon Cemetery located in Otisco, and the website didn’t have anything on the cemetery, except it’s location on Octagon Rd.  I went to Google Maps to see if I could find the exact location of the cemetery, and I didn’t.   So I took note that Octagon Rd. was off of Route 80.

Last Friday night I had to take a photo at Onondaga Community College for OHA’s upcoming newsmagazine (which is going to be another great magazine) and at the intersection of something and Route 80, I turned my car south onto Route 80.  I drove through the beautiful hills of the southern part of Onondaga County (where I grew up, and those hills are in my very being) and eventually came to Otisco, and kept going until I saw Octagon Rd.  Immediately I saw a cemetery on the southwest corner of Route 80 and Octagon Rd.  This had to be it.  But why was it so far back away from the road? And was it Octagon Cemetery?  There is no sign.

Looking west.  Photo from the Archives of Onondaga Historical Association

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View looking south towards cemetery from Octagon Road.

There was an Octagon Schoolhouse located on the same lot 4 north of the cemetery:
Deed from the Archives of Onondaga Historical Association

Octagon Schoolhouse, Photo from the Archives of Onondaga Historical Association

I took photos of the tombstones located on the east end close to the road, where there is a World War II veteran buried:
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And then headed back towards the original cemetery. I started taking photos of all of the tombstones on the east side and completed four rows. I found Revolutionary War soldier Christopher Mott. Then I found Leavitt A. Billings and Anna his wife, and his Revolutionary War marker, the reason why I was there:
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I skipped ahead some more and found Revolutionary War soldier Ebenezer French:
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And Revolutionary War soldier Ira Pomeroy:
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It was humid so I stopped photographing tombstones after finding not just one, but now four Revolutionary War soldiers and one WWII soldier. And what really irked me, besides the fact the cemetery is unmarked, is there are no American flags next to these soldiers.

Saturday I had to work in the Research Center for Sarah (who is on vacation) and one of our patrons came in (Lee) and mentioned she had to do some research on Otisco. I started asking questions about Otisco, their historian, etc. and after she answered my questions, I told her that I had investigated the Octagon Cemetery and there is no sign and no American flags next to the soldiers, etc. Interestingly enough, SHE had just been to the SAME cemetery and noted the same things, while she was looking for one of the Pomeroys. And her director, Nancy, had been to the cemetery previous to this. So, since there are Pomeroys buried in this cemetery, Lee suggested I write to Nancy about how to go about getting a roadside marker put up for this cemetery. Which I will do, but first I need to finish photographing the cemetery.

I dug into some files at OHA and found there are seven Revolutionary War soldiers, two War of 1812 soldiers, three Civil War soldiers, one WWII soldier, and Militia Colonel Stephen Pomeroy. Where are the rest of the markers?  And why no American flags?

Beauchamp in his “Revolutionary War Soldiers Resident or Dying in Onondaga County, NY,”  calls this cemetery Octagon Schoolhouse Cemetery.  On the deed above the association is called Otisco Southern Cemetery Association.

I have started adding my photos to the rootsweb website here, but I still have a way to go.  Next time it isn’t raining, I’ll be driving there again to take more photos and updating the website.

Sonnenberg Gardens on Mother’s Day

We have been going to Sonnenberg Gardens since the 80’s, and we are really happy that the state took it over and are restoring it.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, for a switch, (Mother’s Day is usually cold and rainy) so we had an enjoyable day. The first thing we saw, were geese and their goslings. Like we need more geese, but the goslings are so cute!

Turtles soaking up the sun after this l-o-n-g, c-o-l-d winter:


A frog as green as the slime he is floating with:








Repair work in progress:




Repair work completed:
I was so excited they’ve fixed the collanade that bisects the old fashioned garden!



The mansion now is wheelchair accessible:

There were vintage fashions on display throughout the mansion:


And displays of stereoscopic cards and other old photographs:

And, of course, some flowers:


Hojack Swing Bridge

We went to Charlotte to see the lighthouse, and ended up (re)discovering a world of things at Charlotte, including the Hojack Swing Bridge, which is located on the Genesee River just south of Lake Ontario.


I’m standing on the old railroad bed:

I was wondering what was in the control booth:

So I searched online and saw a report, which, when you open the pdf file, shows what is inside the control booth:  Hojack Swing Bridge

According to this report, this bridge was built by the King Bridge Company in Ohio in 1905:

It was originally steam powered, and converted to diesel in the 1950’s.

Here’s looking at the old rail bed across the river, through the bridge, on the east side:

Here’s where the bridge locked in on the west side of the river:

And here’s one of the resting pads:

Here’s the view of the bridge looking south:

And a view of the bridge looking north:

Carrier Corporation

One of the projects that I like to do on my time off is take photographs of buildings / places that I *feel* or know will be going away soon. I’ve taken many photographs to embellish the files at the OHA, and have used these photos more than once in research requests.

Last week, when someone who previously worked at Carrier Corporation told me I had best get down to Carrier and take photographs, pronto, I did! I picked him up and let him take the photos with my camera. I’ll go out again this week and take more, because the place is coming down fast. Carrier Corporation was on Thompson Road in East Syracuse near Carrier Circle.

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The lights in the middle of this photo show that they are working on tearing this down day and night:
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Now that it’s getting lighter longer after work, I can start taking photos again after work, as long as it isn’t precipitating outside.

Sweetheart Market

I was so bummed when doing some research in North Syracuse, we passed by Sweetheart Corner on the southwest corner of Rt 11 and Taft Rd, and the only thing left is the sign!


I used to go grocery shopping at Sweetheart Market in the early ’80’s when I lived in North Syracuse for a couple of years, back when I refused to go to Wegmans except for the double coupons. I did a search on the Post-Standard archives website, and found it closed in July of 2003, due to loss of sales to the big chains.  Bummer! At least the sign remains there! But you won’t catch me going into this Rite-Aid store.  Change is not always good!

Camillus Erie Canal Park

This past weekend the Camillus Erie Canal Park had a Grand Celebration to dedicate the restored Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct, but since I work on the weekend, we couldn’t make it out there until Sunday after work, after all of the festivities were done.  It doesn’t matter, because I don’t really enjoy crowds, anyway!  And by the time we got there (after eating Luigi’s  pizza, mmmmm), the sun was in that perfect place in the sky to shed an orange glow on everything.

Here’s a replica of the Sims’ canal store, now known as Sims’ Museum, which wasn’t open. I do want to go back when it is open, soon!

Sims’ Museum

A long bed of iris along the canal bank were all so beautiful!

This is an old lock:

As we were examining the lock, Midnight, the resident kitty, came over to greet us, and then to perch himself underneath one of the bottom valves of the lock:

Buoy Boat 159 is on display here:


This is a replica of a Lock House:

We then went a mile down the canal to Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct:

If you click on this Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct link, you can see progress pictures of the restoration:

This looks great!

The aqueduct over Nine Mile Creek:

Of course, we had to walk down to the little waterfall of Nine Mile Creek:

Assuming that this is the old wood which was taken out and replaced with the brand new wood:

There is a steam engine exhibit that we need to come back and see sometime, soon, too! This is one of the steam engines outside of the exhibit area:

The back wheels are taller than me!

I took this shot of the sign for the hours, so we can visit when the museum is open:

And the last thing I noticed was this wildlife refuge sign!
I always love to see areas for wildlife!