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North Syracuse unveils newly refurbished village seal

North Syracuse Village Justice Robert Bertrand, right, and designer Diane Lewis Ware examine the newly refurbished village seal while Mayor Mark Atkinson looks on. Bertrand’s late wife, Debbie, designed the original seal in 1986.

North Syracuse Village Justice Robert Bertrand, right, and designer Diane Lewis Ware examine the newly refurbished village seal while Mayor Mark Atkinson looks on. Bertrand’s late wife, Debbie, designed the original seal in 1986. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— For some 27 years, the village of North Syracuse seal adorned the front of village hall.

But the effects of 27 winters, summers, springs and autumns took their toll, and the wooden sign began to fade.

“The sun hits this site pretty good, so it gets pretty weathered,” said Mayor Mark Atkinson. “We knew we had to do something to bring it back.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, the village unveiled the newly restored sign. The seal depicts the plank road that once ran through the village, the first in the country; that road is now Route 11. The road, once made of hemlock, served as the inspiration for L. Frank Baum’s Yellow Brick Road in the “Wizard of Oz” books. Also on the seal is the structure that now serves as the North Syracuse Community Center — a former functioning trolley station — as well as a trolley car being pulled by horses. Along the bottom are the words “Yesterday’s Road to the Future” along with the village’s year of incorporation, 1925.

The original seal was designed in 1986 by Debbie Bertrand, wife of Village Justice Robert Bertrand. Debbie, a former commercial artist, passed away in 2009, and her husband sees the restoration of the seal as a fitting tribute to her.

“Debbie would be very proud to see that the village restored it,” Bertrand said. “She took a lot of pride in doing it. I’m really proud for her that it’s still here and that it’s been restored so well.”

Diane Lewis Ware, who handled the restoration, said she simply worked from Debbie Bertrand’s original design.

“It was all hers,” Ware said. “I just stayed in the lines.”

Ware, an artist from Cicero, said she had heard the village was looking for someone to refurbish the wooden seal and she wanted the job from the start.

“People told me, ‘No way, you don’t have time for this,’ but I really wanted to,” she said. “And it worked out.”

The seal includes some of Ware’s touches, as well as Bertrand’s original work. According to the mayor, it ties together the past and future of the village.

“I think it’s really interesting that it’s ‘yesterday’s road to the future,’ and we’re taking something from yesterday into the future,” Atkinson said. “It’s kind of like a time capsule.”

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