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Oneida City

Oneida City Hall is located at 109 North Main Street, Oneida NY 13421; phone: 315-363-4800.

Beginnings [1]

The city of Oneida was initially developed through the purchase of several hundred acres of land in 1830 by Sands Higinbotham. Although Higinbotham was not the first resident, settlement accelerated after he moved his family to the area in 1834. With the construction of the Erie Canal feeder in 1835, the region acquired new significance as an area of potential growth. Eager to attract settlers, Higinbotham offered generous low terms for lot purchases and lumber from his mill in nearby Vernon. In 1837 Higinbotham agreed to allow the Syracuse and Utica Railroad Company to build across his farm with the stipulation that the train patronize the Oneida Depot. The railroad started on July 4, 1839 and steady growth of the community began. By 1840 the population of Oneida Depot was approximately 800 and in 1848, it was incorporated as the village of Oneida.

From 1840 until approximately 1870, Oneida developed as a major shipping center for the agricultural products of the surrounding region. The Erie Canal feeder, three miles long and 12 feet wide, extended from Oneida Creek, near the village of Oneida Castle, to the Erie Canal providing convenient access and tremendous shipping potential. The portion of the feeder located at the northern boundary of the district was covered in the 1930's and remains undeveloped as Triangle Park.

The favorable shipping facilities, easy railroad access and low priced land contributed to the village's steady growth and attracted the development of manufacturing and retail trade. Among the larger and more successful firms to settle in the village were the Oneida Iron Works, founded in 1875 by W. S. Leete and A. E. Loomis, the cigar manufacturing firm of Powell and Goldstein (established in 1879), and the National Casket Company formed by the firm of Chappell, Chase and Maxwell in 1881. Many of these prominent businessmen as well as local politicians built their homes in the district. Designed by Cazenovia architect, I.J. Van Dusen, Goldstein's home at 532 Main Street is a distinctive example of the Colonial Revival style with a classical porch with balustrade and a Palladian window. The president of the village, Matthew J. Shoecraft lived at 260 Main Street in an ornate Italian Villa style residence with such features as a cupola, scroll-sawn bracketed cornice, elaborate entry portico and a port-cochere. Albert E. Loomis, a local physician and founder of the Oneida Iron Works, built a large Queen Anne style residence at 341 Broad Street which exhibits an elaborately carved Eastlake style porch, shingled cross gables, decorative brickwork, and an ornamental cornice.

  1. Harwood, John F., New York State Office of Parks and Recreation, Main-Broad-Grove Streets Historic District, nomination document, 1983, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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