Oct 31, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
For decades I mistakenly believed that Onondaga Lake Parkway had been built under the auspices of the Works Project Administration, President Franklin Roosevelt’s ambitious public employment program designed to take the sting out of the Great Depression.
And I’m not the only one.
Thousands of visitors to the county’s most popular park are officially misled to credit the WPA for the park’s creation. Markers there make the WPA claim look like gospel. Turns out it’s sheer bunk.
“The signs there are wrong,” says local historian Joyce Mills, “and it annoys me.”
Mills, who lives in Liverpool, has meticulously researched the origins of the Onondaga Lake Parkway which opened along with park land and athletic facilities in 1933. Roosevelt’s WPA wasn’t established until 1935.
Local folks such as Joseph A. Griffin and Mr. And Mrs. Crandall Melvin Sr. were more instrumental in the parkway development than any federal officials.
“It was all done with state and local government funding,” Mills said last Saturday. She was addressing a meeting of the Historical Association of Greater Liverpool at the Gleason Mansion. Her talk was illustrated with a slide show of photographs and newspaper clippings documenting the park’s development.
Emergency Work Bureau
Mills will reprise her presentation on Jan. 17, 2013, at Liverpool Public Library.
The park plans were hatched by Griffin in 1928, and more than 2,000 unemployed men were hired to fill in the old Oswego Canal and turn it into the parkway we now enjoy. “It was the largest project in the area,” Mills said, “but it was not a WPA project. It was administered by the Onondaga County Emergency Work Bureau.”
In fact, back in ’28, Griffin was the secretary of the Onondaga County Park and Regional Planning Board and chairman of the Boulevard-Parkway Committee. He pushed for the development of a parkway to connect the city of Syracuse and the village of Liverpool. When the project was finished in 1933, Griffin Field was dedicated in his honor. Now Onondaga County Parks’ main offices are located at the old Griffin Fieldhouse.
Mills has alerted County Parks about the incorrect information on its historical markers, but so far county officials have turned a deaf ear to her advice.
Cozy at The Cobblestone
Just in time for the oncoming onslaught of wind and snow, the outdoor deck at the historic Cobblestone Tavern will soon be enclosed by weatherproof windows.
Cobblestone owner John Gormel – the man with the mile-wide smile – discussed his window-pane project with the village planning board at its Oct. 22 meeting.
Believed to be the oldest operating dram shop in Onondaga County, “The Cobble” first opened here named the National Hotel in 1839 under the ownership of Jonathan Hicks.
Stocking the shelves
The Food Pantry at St. Joseph the Worker Church needs some replenishing. The volunteers seek donations of canned vegetables, ravioli, spaghetti, soup and tomato sauce as well as boxed cereals.
The pantry at Sixth and Tulips streets is open from noon to 3 p.m. Mondays, from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and from noon to 2 p.m. Thursdays; 453-7970.
Your turn on terms
What’s your opinion about length of terms for village trustees and the mayor? Put in your two cents in a straw poll at villageofLiverpool.org.
Why waste your presidential vote on a Republican or a Democrat? I’m voting for someone who cares more about people than profits.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein tells it like it is. Here’s what she said in August:
“The developers and financiers made trillions of dollars through the housing bubble and the imposition of crushing debt on homeowners. And when homeowners could no longer pay them what they demanded, they went to government and got trillions of dollars of bailouts. Every effort of the Obama Administration has been to prop this system up and keep it going at taxpayer expense. It’s time for this game to end. It’s time for the laws to be written to protect the victims and not the perpetrators.”