Baldwinsville History Mystery: Aug. 16, 2017
Question: Unfortunately, Baldwinsville has seen its share of fires. This one took place in March of 1908. Do you know the industrial buildings that burned and what it produced?
Last week’s answer: The rambling structure located at 102 Oswego St. has seen many changes since it was built by Henry Marvin around 1870. The front entrance, its original one, faces south, which made it accessible to the early highway which then ran below the hill. If you walk the path from the northeast corner of Oneida and Oswego to behind No. 102, you should notice that at least some of the houses seem to have their main entrances facing in that direction.
In its earlier days, Oswego Street did not always climb directly up the hill, but took a route to the east of the hill. According to Edith Hall, the location of the street depended upon which group was currently in power in the village.
She wrote: “It is reported that this street … is of the most mobile character: when the Bigelow family dominated politics, the street ran over the hill much as we see it today, but whenever the Munro faction carried the day, this way was abandoned, and Oswego Street, as it crossed Oneida, veered slightly to the eastward and followed approximately the course of the lane which today skirts the base of the hill.”
If you want to know more about the “houses on the hill” stop at the library and take a look at “An Anthology of the Houses East and West Side of Oswego Street… Baldwinsville, New York” written by Edith Skinner and “The Houses on the Hill” by Sue Ellen McManus. Both are available for circulation.
In addition, according to readers Martha Hosey and current owner Bridgette Sweet, the house once belonged to Oscar Brown, the Brown tract’s namesake.
“Years ago, I remember that there was a barn located where the Grace Church parking lot is today,” Hosey wrote on the Messenger’s Facebook page. “He had a couple of horses that used to graze in the pastures that ran all along Route 48, across from Brown Street.”
Additionally, according to Van Buren Town Councilor Howard Tupper, the tract eventually became the grounds for C.W. Baker High School, Durgee Junior High, Elden Elementary School and the old transportation center.
“This extensive holding was sold to the new central school for the present day campus,” Tupper wrote in an email. “Other parts were sold to developers west of Route 48 and are residential properties.”
Contact Editor Sarah Hall at email@example.com or leave a message at 434-8889 ext. 310 with your guess by 5 p.m. Friday (please leave the information in the message; we are not generally able to return calls regarding History Mystery responses). If you are the first person to correctly identify an element in the photo, your name and guess will appear in next week’s Messenger, along with another History Mystery feature. History Mystery is a joint project of the Museum at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse and the Baldwinsville Public Library.