This week's story is about the Jacksonville School, District No. 7, sixth in a series regarding our early schools. Now a private residence, the building sits on the northeast corner of Lamson and Fenner roads. At one time the school was located right next to the Lamson Grange, No. 588. The latter building dates back to 1833, when the Second Religious Baptist Society needed a building in which to worship.
Like a youngster uncertain of its own identity, Jacksonville endured a succession of political name changes in its early years. Originally founded in 1793 as "Palmertown" by Jonathan Palmer, it was renamed "Jacksonville" when Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828. The presidential election of James Polk in 1844 brought a post office to the hamlet and with it yet another name change to "Polkville." When Abraham Lincoln was reelected president in 1864, the people of Polkville lost their post office to nearby Little Utica. In protest, they renamed the place "Jacksonville" and it stuck. By 1878, according to Professor W. W. Clayton's "History of Onondaga County," Jacksonville was "a small hamlet at the cross-roads west of Little Utica, containing a carriage, joiner and undertaker's establishment, country store, cider mill, boot and shoe shop, and tannery."
But, some 50 years later, inertia had set in. This once-bustling little hamlet made the short list of Onondaga County's "forgotten villages" in a series of stories written in 1933 by Elmer Bogardus and Elizabeth Pike for the Syracuse Post-Standard. One year later, the Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University issued an educational bulletin about the rural areas and small towns of Onondaga County. It listed Lamson and Little Utica as two of 10 hamlets with populations of fewer than 50 people, and Lysander and Plainville as two of 25 small villages with populations of between 50 and 249 people. Jacksonville failed to merit any mention, even as a hamlet. Jacksonville may have been hidden in plain sight, but contemporary sources in the 1930s complimented the place for its scenic beauty and sense of tranquility.