Baldwinsville History Mystery: May 30, 2018
Question: Can you tell where this picture was taken and when? The building in the background added significantly to the prosperity of the community. What industries did it hold? It is no longer there; do you know why? What industry was in the building on the right? Hint: its name still exists, but for another purpose.
And the big question — where was the plank walk and why was it there? If you can tell that should help date the picture.
Last week’s answer: Last week’s photo featured children approaching the Barge Canal bridge as they paraded south on Oswego Street. Several are waving American flags, which suggests that this may be a patriotic holiday parade. However, both adults and children are wearing coats and hats, not typical warm weather holiday attire.
The occasion was Baldwinsville’s 1930 Decoration Day (Memorial Day) parade. The observance began at noon as village church bells tolled for five minutes. The paraders gathered at the Soldiers’ Monument at the corner of Charlotte and West Genesee Street at 1 p.m. At 1:30 the parade stepped off and headed east to Virginia Street, up to Elizabeth Street, west to Oswego Street, then south down Oswego Street/Syracuse Street, to Tappan Street and Riverview Cemetery. Baldwinsville’s grammar school children brought up the very end of the line of march as they followed the Onondaga County Orphan’s Home Drum Corps.
For many people Decoration Day marks the beginning of the summer season. Always observed in Baldwinsville on May 30, the 1930 observance was far from summer-like. That day local thermometers registered a high of only 54 degrees. The young marchers would also experience the ever-present stiff breeze as they crossed the Seneca River bridge. There the double line split and the children proceeded in single file to each side of the bridge where they dropped flowers over the railing into the water as a tribute to sailors and Marines.
The pairs then reunited to continue their trek into the cemetery, where they would join the crowd gathered at the Odd Fellows monument for the formal program. Following the invocation by Rev. Roderic Pierce, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, the children would lead everyone in the Salute to the Flag. High school orators Walter Mercer and Robert Sullivan presented the traditional recitations of the General Orders of General Logan and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
After the ceremonial bugle closing with Taps, the grammar school children would join other paraders as they reformed. The marchers would once again cross the bridges and proceed to the Four Corners, turn left and disband upon reaching the Soldiers’ Monument.
For more than 50 years the Soldiers’ Monument stood at the village center where it served as the step off point for the annual Memorial Day parade. In April 1946 the monument was moved to Riverview Cemetery where it became the focal point of the day’s formal observance, a role in which it continues today, more than 70 years later.
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 before the deadline, 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.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.