More than a century before the Lakeview Amphitheater began booking rock concerts on the western shore of Onondaga Lake, a Liverpool man named Captain Fred Ganier built the first lakeside resort at Lakeview Point. Nowadays you can hear music played by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Jett and Luke Bryan at Lakeview Point, but in the 1880s you would have listened to ensembles such as the Otis Brass and String Band.
After the Civil War, Ganier had been helming a small steamboat, ferrying folks from Syracuse to admire the vistas at various spots around the lovely lake. In 1872, he constructed a two-story hotel and an ice house under the elms at Lakeview Point, near the mouth of Nine Mile Creek.
Capt. Ganier gave substance to his lakeside vision by opening the first resort on its shore, a hotel and dancehall which would soon be surrounded by nearly a dozen such bustling attractions, including Pleasant Beach Hotel, Maple Bay Lakeside, Long Branch Park and White City.
Ferries eventually gave way to the Syracuse, Lakeside and Baldwinsville Railways which carried thousands of visitors to the resorts seven days a week, including Sunday, much to the chagrin of local pastors who argued for a quieter and more dignified observance of the Lord’s Day.
In any case, no matter the day of the week, folks flocked to chowder parties, baseball games, and fish, frog and chicken dinners. The resorts occasionally booked special attractions such as aeronauts in hot-air balloons, ice-boat races and fireworks, but the everyday scene featured dancing, bowling, taking aim at shooting galleries, spinning on amusement-park rides and slurping schupers of George Zett’s crisp and delicious lager.
Local historian Joyce Mills will revisit those often spectacular, sometimes specious turn-of-the-century resorts at 7 p.m. Monday, May 15, at the Soule Road Elementary School Library, 8338 Soule Road, in the town of Clay. Admission is free, and the public is invited; lpl.org; (315) 457-0310.
The topic of Joyce’s multi-media program, presented by the Clay Historical Association in collaboration with Liverpool Public Library, is “Onondaga Lake: The Coney Island of Central New York.”
Copies of “Around Liverpool,” a compilation of historic photographs edited by Mills and Village Historian Dorianne Elitharp Gutierrez, will be offered for sale at the Monday’s event.
“Progress is being made to develop a plan for restoration [at the Village Cemetery] and to secure funding,” said Kelley Romano, a member of the Village Cemetery Committee, which is hosting its second annual Cemetery Community Clean-up Day from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13. Friends and neighbors will gather at the cemetery for a few hours of raking, trimming, weeding, and they’ll and learn a little village history, too.
“Some tools will be provided,” Kelley said, “but you may bring your own work gloves, rakes, pruners, brush loppers and small trimmers. Coffee and donuts will be available as a thank-you for helping out!”
The cemetery is bordered by Fifth and Sixth streets and Tulip and Alder streets. For information, call (315) 440-4119.
The Liverpool First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Tulip and Oswego streets, will host its bi-annual Rummage and Bake Sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday May 13.
The Elsie O’Neil Circle at the church has been collecting donations at Fellowship Hall. If you are able to donate some items for sale, or baked goods or time for this worthy cause, please call the Church Office at (315) 457-3161.
By the way, The Elsie O’Neil Circle meets next at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at Fellowship Hall.
One of the most impressive 19th century buildings in the village, the columned cobblestone edifice erected by Liverpool businessman Jonathan Hicks in 1854, is now for sale.
The building at 609 Vine St., on the corner of Aspen Street, is now owned by Advocates, Inc., which is applying to the Liverpool Zoning Board of Appeals for a use variance. The proposed purchaser is the Brewerton-based law firm Sheats & Bailey, PLLC, wants to operate offices on the first floor while leasing two non-owner-occupied apartments on the second floor, but the building is located in a residential district designated for single-family homes.
Sheats & Bailey is being represented at the ZBA by Mario D’Arrigo from the Syracuse law firm of D’Arrigo & Cote. The building, well known for its unequally spaced iconic columns, last sold in 2011 for $388,000.
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