Baldwinsville History Mystery: Feb. 20, 2019
Question: The unusual architecture of this frame building made it easy to spot against the village skyline where it served as an orientation point for almost a century. Just 10 days before the 100th anniversary of its formal opening, this village landmark was destroyed by fire. Do you know anything about this structure, its location or its name and purpose?
Last week’s answer: The photo from last week was taken circa 1958-59 at the sight of the Cold Spring Bridge. On the right is the bridge that was built in 1905 and on the left is its replacement, which was completed in 1959. Note the change in the road. Today it leads to the bridge on the left.
There have been several river crossings in this area over the years. First, at the time of early settlement of the military tract in 1794, the area just up the peninsula was called Drake’s Landing where settlers could enter the area via a ferry (there was no bridge at that time). The number of settlers increased so much that by 1825, the need for a bridge was obvious. Because the land on the Salina side was swampy and prone to flooding, there was much discussion as to where it should be built. Finally in 1835, a replacement was completed near the site that it is today.
In 1845, the legislature authorized the towns of Lysander and Salina to raise a tax to the sum of $2,200 for the purpose of building another new bridge. In 1869 it again acted and approved a replacement. This was made of iron, stone, wood or a combination of such materials at a cost of not more than $6,800. It lasted until the bridge on the right was completed in 1905. By 1957, the need for another new bridge was necessary. The bridge on the left was that bridge. In recent years (2013-14) the bridge on the left also saw extensive improvements.
The commercial building down the bank from the bridge as shown in the photo was Downing’s Cold Spring Inn. Today it is owned by the Liverpool Elks Club.
Several people emailed or called with the correct answer, but Ronald Landers was the first, writing, “This week’s picture is taken from Hayes Road looking at the Route 370 bridge. The building is now the Elks Lodge.”
Other readers shared their memories of the rickety plank bridge.
“It scared me crossing the single lane bridge that had wooden planks that were always loose,” wrote Bob Ross.
Jim Baxter went into a little more detail.
“The photo is of Paul Dawson’s restaurant and the old bridge in the background had a wooden plank bottom on it. I remember on a clear day we could hear the automobile and truck traffic rumbling over the wooden planks with a series of ‘clunks,’” he recalled.
Email your guess to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 315-434-8889 ext. 310 with your guess by noon Friday. 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.