Always Interesting – Today, the LONGSTREET Family

I love helping other people with their research at OHA, because sometimes I come across my own family, and I make a mental note to stay after work on a Sat or Sun to look through the information.  This past week I was looking for something, and came across some nice photos of my great-great grandmother’s sister’s husband and child.

Cabinet photo of Byron Longstreet, son of Dr. James Oliver Longstreet and Emily Victoria Seaver
Photo courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association

I love carte de visite and cabinet photographs.  I have a large, unidentified daguerreotype that was handed down through my family to me.  I thought perhaps it may be these two, and now I can do a side-by-side comparison and see if this may be possible.

Cabinet photo of Dr. James Oliver Longstreet.
Photo courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association.

Imagine my surprise when I looked through these photographs and saw names I recognized!

Dr. James Oliver Longstreet
Photo courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association.

Dr. James Oliver Longstreet is also the son of my Great-Grandmother’s aunt. The LONGSTREET surname is a famous one in Onondaga County, and someday (after hours) I’ll do the research into it (there are broken links when clicking on Longstreet due to Ancestry taking over Rootsweb).  So much to do, so little time!  Oh, and I have other stories to tell.  It will take time to gather the info!

Moving the Archives, The Library, and Me

I don’t know what day I’m on in this move.  After moving every day for five days a week for what seems like forever, it all runs together.  But the archives is all moved,


the flat cabinets are all in place at the back of the archives (or front, or side, whatever),

What is it about these flat cabinets that I love?

and now we’re working on the library.

This may not look like much, but it represents quite a bit of work! And we have much more to go!

And since Syracuse China has taken over my fifth floor office space, I’m moving my office to the second floor.  Well, that and the director wants me there, too.

This was where I was working!!

No pics of the new office yet, because other people have to move stuff out. But I set up my desk/computer/printer/scanner, and went to open the window, and the window is huge, oh my! Pics to follow. But I will be glad to settle into archiving and etc. instead of moving boxes all of the time!

Hotel Syracuse

Last Thursday, June 11, 2009, we attended the OHA Medal Event Breakfast.  OHA awards the OHA Medal to recognize distinguished contributions to local history and to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Onondaga County. This year’s honorees were: Cathedral Candle Company, Historians of Syracuse China, William Pomeroy, and John H. Mulroy, the first County Executive of Onondaga County.   The event was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Syracuse, which was built between 1922 and 1924.


At this time, the Hotel Syracuse opens up its banqueting facilities for special events, but otherwise it is closed.

Grand Ballroom

Details from the Grand Ballroom:






View from the Grand Ballroom, which is on the tenth floor of Hotel Syracuse, looking south to the glacially formed hills where I grew up:

I have many memories related to Hotel Syracuse: My Senior Ball was held in the Grand Ballroom, I belonged to the Syracuse Ski Hawks and we had our parties  in the Grand Ballroom, and we held our board meetings in one of the meeting rooms.   Plus we had work Christmas parties at the Hotel’s restaurant.

It was weird walking towards the entrance with nobody around:

I wish I took photos after I was inside to show the large staircase to get up to the main floor, which was a ghost town. It was really weird.

There are so many details on the outside of this building, I could spend more time taking photos. The gargoyles are still hanging on:


I can only imagine how beautiful this building was when it was brand new. It’s beautiful now, but it definitely needs work. I hope they will be able to open it up again soon!


Moving the Archives – Day Seven

When I last posted about the archives, we were still working on the first side. As of yesterday (Saturday) morning before we started working, we had the first side filled:


the second side (to the left) and the third side (to the right) filled:


and we had to stop on Friday night because we needed to break down more shelves to build a third row, then add another bay on the end of the second row. Which we accomplished, and have filled the new bay and have the fourth side about half full.    I’ll take photos next time I go to work.

It was slow going this morning, because we had to move many boxes of  glass plate negatives and glass lantern slides.  Do. You. Know. How. Heavy. These. Are. Grouped. Together. In. A. Box???   Two of my male volunteers both work out at the gym and they were both having a hard time.

We have really worked our hinies off (only figuratively, unfortunately)! And I am happy it is my “weekend” for sure!

The Woman Is An Archivist

If you’ve been following my blog for, OMG, almost three years, you know I’ve taken archival courses, have been interested in the OHA archives, and have been a volunteer of OHA since February of 2006.  As of December of 2008 I became a part time employee of OHA, learning some other parts of OHA – their museum and their gift shop.  And as of just recently, I’m working there full time, and am now the archivist!  And man am I  busy, there’s so much to do, but it’s all good, it’s fun, and very invigorating!

Yesterday I was mentioned in the Syracuse Post-Standard by Dick Case who wrote an article here, but I will also quote it since it will go off the website, eventually.

Syracuse China owner donates china and paper archive to Onondaga Historical Association

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The magnitude of the gift is just beginning to sink in for Gregg Tripoli, executive director of the Onondaga Historical Association.

Details have been worked out for Libbey Inc., owner of Syracuse China Corp., to donate its entire archive of china and paper to the historical association, one of our oldest ongoing institutions. Syracuse China, with roots back to 1871, closed its Lyncourt factory, eliminating 275 jobs, last week. Libbey bought the Syracuse company in 1995.

Gregg has been negotiating for the collection since Libbey announced the closing in January. He called it “phenomenal” and “spectacular, a collection any institution would love to have.” The trove includes an estimated 25,000 pieces of china and an uncounted number of company records, photographs, documents and letters.

Gregg said Libbey agreed to pack the collection. It will be moved to the association’s downtown headquarters by OHA staff and volunteers, sometime before Libbey closes its outlet store on Court Street in June.

The association plans to store the china in the collection in a large “back room” exhibit on the fifth floor of its building at 321 Montgomery St. Eventually, the exhibit will be open to the public for tours by appointment for a fee. Gregg said the OHA will move its fifth-floor reading room and research center to the second floor, where new space is being created for an enlarged public room that will include a library. This will house the association’s large holding of books, which have been in storage since it moved from the original headquarters at 311 Montgomery.

Thousands of archival materials, which are part of the collection, will be kept separate from the OHA’s main archive. The archives are to be supervised by a new archivist, Pam Priest from Rochester, who has been hired and is working “behind the scenes” in the building, according to Gregg.

A few items from Syracuse China will be added to an existing, permanent exhibit devoted to the company. Gregg said some of the china in the company archives in Lyncourt will be shared with the Everson Museum of Art, including items decorated by ceramist Adelaide Robineau.

The archives at the plant were developed in recent years by a team headed by historian Cleota Reed, assisted by Stan Skoczen and Ruth Hancock, a member of the Pass family who owned the company until 1971. Stan, retired as quality control manager, is regarded as a world-class collector of Syracuse China. Ruth Hancock’s great-grandfather was Richard Pass, an English potter hired as superintendent of Onondaga Pottery, as the company was known until 1966. Her grandfather and father were presidents of Syracuse China.

Gregg said Reed, Skoczen and Hancock were part of a group of volunteers that supervised selection of the china pieces for OHA, under the supervision of OHA curators Tom Hunter and Dennis Connors.

Pottery in the collection goes back to 1841 and a Syracuse stoneware potter from Vermont named Williams Farrar, whose pot shop in Geddes is regarded as the ancestor of Onondaga Pottery Co.

Gregg said the gift includes pieces of furniture, such as shelves and cabinets, that will have to be moved by professionals. Examples of fine china encompass hundreds of pieces, including lines made for hotels, railroads, steamship lines, embassies and airlines. One line was decorated with paintings by Grandma Moses.

And we’re building a new research center and archives, and I’ve been documenting the weekly progress via photos.  Here’s part of the research center space as of last Saturday:


And according to the floor plan, my research center desk will be back near the wall, which will be covered with bookshelves, as will the whole room. Bookshelves, all over the place? Oh my, just like home!


I love this building. This building makes me feel happy. This is the 1906 New York Telephone Building. My Dad, who worked for the New York Telephone Company didn’t work in this building, but his work occasionally brought him to this building.

Morning at the Museum

I was walking through the museum in the dark Sunday morning to go take some photos, and saw the really cool pattern the EXIT sign makes on the wall in the dark.  Now, I know I need a tripod, but how do I carry one around in my back pocket and work, too?  That is a problem.  Oh well.  So this is fuzzy, but you get the idea.


And the guy carrying the boards of cups is a representation of what it was like to work at Syracuse China, a company that has just recently shut down in Syracuse and moved overseas.  Don’t get me started.

Still Redecorating!

Wow, okay, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in so long.  And I can’t believe we haven’t finished decorating yet, but we squeeze it in when we can. So here’s the area where the Christmas tree was.

Scott found a dead tree and we decorated it with birds and berries. We’ll be adding his toboggan this week. And another old fashioned lamp, like the one in this photo:


Most of the pieces of the outfit on the mannequin Scott got this week from an older couple who had these clothes in their basement from their ancestors. The skirt is so silky, and the burgundy and black tops are velvety. Imagine having clothes from your ancestors. Our family gives all clothes away when someone passes away.  I actually just have one shirt from my Dad because I just had to have it.

We had some problem with this woman’s boobs. They were too big for the tops, so we had to add a contemporary but old-fashioned looking blouse.

The slip is peeking out at the hem. I should have taken photos of us when we were assembling this to show you all of the crap that is underneath this skirt – ouch! Maybe when we disassemble it. Anyway, it required our four hands to just make it come together!

This is one set of bookcases decorated with skaters on the Erie Canal:

to simulate the real skaters that used to skate on the Erie Canal:
363 - Cl Sq E - Lift Bridge #1 - 300dpi
Photo courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association

I realize I should take close-ups, but I was taking photos in-between dealing with a bunch of excited young girls.  Some of the buildings will be lit up hopefully by the time I go back to work!  Stay tuned for more!  We have Black History Month and Valentine’s Day decorations we’re working on.  Imagine, before I got there, at this time of year these areas were all. . . blank and boring.

Ohhh, Ahhh, over the Niagara Mohawk Building in Syracuse

As I was driving up Franklin Street Thursday night I saw yet another one of my favorite buildings dressed up for Christmas.

This is the most beautiful, art deco building I’ve seen, the Niagara Mohawk building in Syracuse. My Grandpa used to work here when it was Niagara Hudson and then Niagara Mohawk.  It will always be the NiMo building to me, but the company is now called National Grid.

352 - Niagara Mohawk Building Detail - 300dpi
Spirit of Light on the same NiMo building, from the Onondaga Historical Association Photo Store #352

And I’m sorry I haven’t been around visiting your blogs!  Hopefully Monday!

“Bringing Toys From the Past to the Present” WTVH-TV CBS 5 +

Here’s a link to one of the news stories from the WTVH-TV CBS 5 Syracuse tv station from 11:00pm last night of OHA’s Nifty Fifties Toys exhibition!  Click here to watch!

Another photo from the exhibition.

Just saw Sean Kirst’s article at the Syracuse Post Standard website:  ‘More ghosts of downtown Christmas: Coming back downtown’ here.  I remember the Edwards store rocket in the toy store set up in their annex.

325 - Edwards toy store 1 - 300dpi

Downtown Department Stores, Or What Am I Doing?

Today at work there was a roundtable of the owners of the department stores that used to be in Syracuse for years until malls took over.  First I met Mr. Chappell of Chappell’s Department Store.

875 - Block108-W-1942 - 300dpi
#875 from OHA’s Photo Store

An old Chappell’s box in the Nifty Fifties toy exhibition. Remember when everything you bought was put into a box instead of a bag?  Chappell’s used to do this even into the 80’s, except their boxes were yellow at that time.  I think I still have a couple of them in my attic.

Then I met Mr. Rodormer of E. W. Edwards & Son Department Store.

326 - Edwards toy store 2 - 300dpi
The rocket in the annex of Edwards Department Store at Christmas time. #325 from OHA’s Photo Store.

An old Edwards box in the Nifty Fifties toy exhibition.

There were others that didn’t introduce themselves to me.  While I didn’t get to listen to the roundtable (pout) I really enjoyed meeting these gentlemen.  I wanted to lock the door and go upstairs to take a few photos, but people kept coming in late.

And I’m really enjoying my job as gift shop manager / museum attendant / webmaster / etc. at OHA!  I don’t know and don’t care what my title is.  Every day at least once a day someone comes in to tell me stories from the area or their family history.  I’m totally in my element with this.

Here’s a quick view of the Nifty Fifties toy exhibition, which is just meant to tease you to come visit if you’re in the area!

It is really cool, and it is getting quite a bit of press and people visiting!

I even submitted a photo of my older brother riding his new horse (which got passed down to the rest of us):

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