Baldwinsville History Mystery: June 6, 2018
Question: The building in this 1950s photo was located in one of our recreational gems. It has since been rebuilt by the organization that started this area. It is available for use by anyone in the community who makes a reservation with them. Can you name this organization that is celebrating its 70th anniversary? Where is this gem and what else is available there?
Last week’s answer: The area shown in the photo last week looks quite different today. It’s a site that many of us pass daily traveling south over the bridges that cross the Seneca River.
The photo was taken in 1908 when New York State was digging the Barge Canal through Baldwinsville. The walkway shown in the photo was located where the lock chamber for Lock 24 is now.
Remember all that is shown in the photo contained homes and businesses until the canal was dug. The north side of Water Street went almost to the right of the picture. The building on the back right was Kenyon Paper Mill (hence the name Paper Mill Island).
In the far back of the photo is a building with many windows. The cemetery was and is behind it. It was built in 1891 for the Bamboo Furniture Company, which was prosperous for a short time manufacturing chairs, settees, tables, magazine stands and other items, including high-end fishing rods.
After declaring bankruptcy, it was bought by the Mack-Miller Candle Company, who operated there until they were displaced by the building of the canal. At that time it moved to Syracuse. Today it still exists in Liverpool.
Did you notice that nothing in this History Mystery mentions the Erie Canal? That’s because the original Erie Canal ran several miles south of here. It was not until the canals were enlarged for the third time that we became part of what we now call the Erie Barge Canal.
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.