Looking Backward: The last man to leave Picketville

The idea of discovering a lost world has intrigued storytellers for years. Authors like Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about these hidden places a century ago, and they still thrill us today. Closer to home, local folks like Dick Case and Tony Christopher told similar stories about our own lost worlds, ones that actually existed right here in our midst. Dick edited a book about these places 10 years ago called, "The Forgotten Villages of Onondaga County." It's a compilation of newspaper columns from 1933 to 1934 written by Elmer Bogardus and Elizabeth Pyke, in which the authors explore 40 of these disappearing places. In some cases, they had already vanished. One of these places was Picketville.

Forty years ago, Tony Christopher described Picketville in the Baldwinsville Messenger. "Its location stood between Ellison Road and Little Utica. The name Picketville was given to this little community consisting of a sawmill and a few rustic houses. A lane, by now obsolete, came from East Mud Lake Road and crossed the creek by passing over the dam." According to one source, this stream was once known as Buttonhole Creek. It winds its way under East Mud Lake Road and Ellison Road, before passing through Picketville on its way to Ox Creek and the Oswego River. The lane once passed northeast from East Mud Lake Road, opposite where Bellows Road runs into it, just past the north end of Ellison Road.

You won't find it on any modern maps, but if you stand at the east-end of Bellows Road, you can just make out where the little lane once ran right between the house and barn across the road. One book refers to it as a wagon track, but the wheels that once dug ruts into the rich soil have long since retired. It's now overgrown with underbrush. To distinguish this old track from the field it traverses, one must possess the willingness and ability to see things as they were 100 ago. It also helps to have an old map or two.

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