A recent historic survey showed the village of Fayetteville has "many layers of history" and contains numerous buildings and areas that could be applied for entry on the national historic registry. (courtesy village of Fayetteville)
Everybody in Fayetteville knows the village is a historic place, but they may not know just how unique and valuable that history is. And, after months of work undertaking a historic survey, a consultant told the village board last week that she was highly impressed by the historic nature of Fayetteville.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before,” said Jessie A. Ravage a historic preservation and museums consultant out of Utica. “This is a village with many layers of history … It’s not Anywhere, U.S.A.; you’ve got some really interesting things here … it’s unusual.”
Ravage was hired by the village to undertake a historic survey report to create a more up-to-date document that not only expands knowledge of what is historic in the village, but also can be a reference in terms of planning, zoning, development and applying for grants, said Mayor Mark Olson.
The survey, which was completely paid for through one state and one federal grant, showed that in addition to the village being composed of multiple historic “layers,” much of it is eligible for application to the National Historic Registry, Ravage said. She also suggested to the village board that the village historical district be increased to include a larger area.
She said the Ledyard Dike is a unique historic attribute of the village that should be definitely listed in the national engineering registry and filed with the National Park Service, while the southern portion of Fayetteville contains “a very coherent 19th century neighborhood.” She said the village offers examples of its evolving history as a turnpike hamlet, a canal area of development, a mill village, and is simply “a fascinating example” of village industry in early Central New York.
All of these historical attributes are in addition to the more famous historical aspects in Fayetteville — such as the Matilda Jocelyn Gage house and the Grover Cleveland house — which Ravage avoided in her survey because they are so well known.
Olson said the survey was a “great opportunity” to expand on knowledge of village history and is a touchstone that can be added to. Ravage, in fact, said “There is a lot more to know here than what I have uncovered in my survey.”
Ravage’s survey, including photos, maps and historic information by building, will be posted on the state Cultural Resources Information System (CRIS) website, and will be available to the public.
Also at the meeting, the board:
•Announced that the village Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Friday, Nov. 23. The event begins at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting to occur at 7:30 p.m.
•Unanimously approved a reorganization of the village Department of Public Works in order to “better manage and organize the department and give better services to the village.” The full-time position of assistant deputy superintendent was reinstituted (after having been previously eliminated), the position of working crew leader was abolished and the position of public works maintenance worker was created.
•Briefly discussed the development proposal for a memory care center in front of Northeast Medical Center and its concerns about the project, which is being applied for through the town of Manlius. Board members and Fayetteville Fire Chief Paul Hildreth expressed concerns about the large number of calls to Fayetteville fire and EMS responders that the development will create. Olson said he will attend the public hearing on the proposal, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 in the Manlius town hall, and state the village’s concerns.
•Heard from Olson that May 6, 2019 will be the 175th birthday of the village of Fayetteville and he is planning to create a working group and get input on how the village can best celebrate this milestone. He said there are no plans or ideas yet; he just wanted to get the process started. “I think it’s a worthwhile birthday to celebrate,” he said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
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