Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District is a three-block residential neighborhood, approximately 50 acres in area. Located along the hill north of the village's central business district, the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District overlooks the Seneca River which bisects Baldwinsville from east to west. The long period of gradual development within the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District has promoted a collection of building types and styles that covers the period from the 1820's through the early twentieth century. The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District is composed of 34 houses, one church and a parish hall. The district maintains a residential character with only three intrusions.
The primarily significant buildings mark the beginning of the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District at the foot of Oswego Street and are interspersed along a northward path up the street. The other pivotal buildings stand diagonally at the Oneida and Oswego Street intersection and rest upon the crest of the West Oneida Street hill that dominates the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District. The homes along Oswego Street are built in the Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne styles. Some Greek Revival influence is seen on the north side of West Oneida Street, but the street's most significant buildings are those built in the Shingle style. The sole Tudor Revival design marks the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District's termination along Sunset Terrace. This home was executed by Ward Wellington Ward, a prolific early twentieth century architect in central New York.
The character of the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District reflects Baldwinsville's development from its initial settlement to its heyday as a bustling village of lumber yards, flour, planing and paper mills, tobacco warehouse and small factories. By the mid-1880's, the area north of the Oswego Street commercial district had become an elite residential section. Baldwinsville's prominent citizens, bankers, company presidents, merchants and professional people resided in the elegant homes that grace the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District's stately tree-lined streets today.
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District represents a small portion of the original settlement of Baldwinsville. The southern boundary begins at the change from commercial to residential and is anchored by the First Presbyterian Church. Although a few homes east of the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District along Elizabeth and East Oneida Streets date from the mid-nineteenth century, they do not reflect the character of the more prestigious section of the village included within the district. The houses along the southern portion of West Oneida Street have little historical or architectural relationship to the district. The north portion of Sunset Terrace was developed in the 1930's and 1940's and possesses no architecturally significant structures.
Some of the contributing properties in the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District include:
51 Oswego Street, c.1860, residence of James Frazee who built the Union Mills in 1859, and in 1857; he was elected a member of the State Legislature
55 Oswego Street, c.1820, residence of Judge Otis Bigelow, postmaster 1828-1840 and merchant; Justice of the Peace and member of the Assembly in 1831
57 Oswego Street, 1921, residence built for his wife by George Rinehart, owner of a lumber company
61 Oswego Street, 1847, residence built by Payn Bigelow who organized the State Bank of Baldwinsville in 1875 and was founder and director of the 3rd National Bank of Syracuse; built this house for his daughter as a wedding gift
63 Oswego Street, 1889, residence of Otis M. Bigelow, president of the 1st National Bank
64 (rear) Oswego Street c.1865 residence of Rev. William Beauchamp, archeologist and historian of the Iroquois Indians and Onondaga County
65 Oswego Street, 1870, residence of Mr. Fuller who owned a lumber yard and was part owner in a sash and blind company. He and his father built the D.H. Allen house, Squire Munro house and the First Presbyterian Church
70 Oswego Street, 1852, residence built by Judge Otis for his daughter Mary
72 Oswego Street, c.1832, residence built to house Presbyterian ministers
74 Oswego Street, 1866, home of Dr. Kendall, who was a surgeon in the Civil War
76 Oswego Street, c.1830, residence of Jacob Amos who owned mills in Baldwinsville and Syracuse and was mayor of Syracuse in 1892 and 1894; another resident of this house, J.W. Upson, built the Seneca Hotel, tobacco warehouses, a block of stores in the commercial district, and organized cattle companies in Arizona and Montana
78 Oswego Street, 1865, residence of W.W. Perkins, a dentist, and became village president from 1861-1865; the Haywood family, who operated a wagon factory, also lived here
80 Oswego Street, 1880, residence of James Connell, a town supervisor and assemblyman; he was instrumental in installing the village waterworks
82 Oswego Street, 1880, residence of Wallace Tappan, a shipper and buyer of general merchandise and tobacco; he was elected loan commissioner in 1860 and assemblyman from the 1st district in 1884; he was also village president from 1871-1872
83 Oswego Street, 1845, residence of Co. Isaac T. Minar an early attorney and surrogate of the county of Onondaga (1840-1844); he organized the village's first force of firefighters; he was the Justice of the Peace in 1860
1 East Oneida Street, 1837, residence of Squire Munro; he was a pioneer in tobacco farming and commissioner of bridge construction in 1836
6 West Oneida Street, 1837, home of William F. Morris, who founded Morris Pump Company in 1870; he was village president in 1878, vice-president of 1st National Bank and president of Gazette Publishing Company
8 West Oneida Street, 1820, residence of John C. Miller, owner of a woolen mill and independent power company
16 West Oneida Street, 1895, summer residence of Jacob Amos; he was vice-president of 3rd National Bank and the NY Brick and Paving Co., director of the Commercial National Bank, president of the St. Lawrence Trolley & Electric Light Co., director of Syracuse Independent Telephone Company, and vice-president of C.L. Amos Coal Company; he was also mayor of Syracuse in 1892 and 1894
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District is a significant collection of nineteenth-century architectural styles found in central New York. The residential neighborhood of thirty-four buildings was the home of many of Baldwinsville's most prominent citizens. While the designs of a majority of homes are local interpretations of popular nineteenth-century styles, there are two buildings designed by prominent local architects Horatio Nelson White and W.W. Ward. The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District remains intact and retains a cohesiveness of scale, materials and setting.
Continuing in the tradition left by Judge Bigelow [see also Baldwinsville Village: Beginnings], many prominent residents of the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District entered the political sphere. By the turn of the century the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District boasted of a State Legislator, James Frazee; State Assemblyman, Wallace Tappan and James Connell; and numerous village presidents.
Another prominent resident of the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District whose influence was felt beyond Baldwinsville was The Rev. William B. Beauchamp. His early research on the Iroquois lore, history and culture has been recognized as a major contribution to the fields of history and archaeology. Among his many publications include, The History of the New York Iroquois, Past and Present of Syracuse and Onondaga County, and Iroquois Folklore.
Architecturally, the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District is significant for its display of styles spanning the period, 1820-1924. Included within the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District are examples of the Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Shingle styles of the nineteenth century, as well as an example of the twentieth-century eclectic revivals. The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District also reflects the continuation of architectural tradition in the vernacular expression of a pioneer community. Many of the permanent houses of the first settlers were simplified versions of popular architectural styles. For example, two Greek Revival homes within the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District demonstrate the vernacular expression of the classic temple. The Meyers-Chappell House (116 West Oneida Street) exhibits the adaptation of the temple form into an asymmetrical plan. In the George Wilson House (69 Oswego Street), the robust qualities and massiveness of the Greek Revival style have been interpreted on a modest scale. Both houses bear the usual elements of the Greek Revival style, the Doric order, smooth surfaces, low-pitched roofs, trabeated windows and doors, and variants on the pediment front.
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District also features homes built in very early nineteenth century classical modes which have had sensitively designed additions. The late Federal period design of the Thompson House (8 West Oneida Street) was remodeled in the Shingle style in 1890. The Perkins House (78 Oswego Street) was built in the Greek Revival style and remodeled in 1912 in the Georgian Revival style. It is highlighted by a broken pediment portico, fanlight and sidelights around the door, and an open porch, crowned with a balustrade.
Two prominent architects in the central New York region designed buildings in the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District. The First Presbyterian Church (60 Oswego Street) was designed in 1865 by Horatio Nelson White in the Gothic Revival style, like the majority of White's churches, the design of the First Presbyterian relies upon the contrast of wood and plaster to enliven the sparsely decorated interior. The austere interior is enriched by dark oak attenuated brackets that allude to hammer beams as they span structural and non-structural surfaces.
Another visual landmark is "Applecrest," designed by Ward Wellington Ward, a dominant force in early twentieth century residential design in central New York. Throughout the interior, Ward incorporated the craftsmanship of Henry Chapman Mercer's tile installations and his own attention to detail to a design suggestive of an "English Hall." Nestled upon a wooded hill, Applecrest is also a fine example of the unity of nature and architecture that Ward was noted for.
The Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District is the highest concentration of fine nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings in Baldwinsville. Other fine examples exist throughout the village, but they are randomly scattered in neighborhoods that have little architectural or historical cohesiveness. The interiors of many of the homes within the Oswego-Oneida Streets Historic District have been left intact and have received careful maintenance over the years.
Beauchamp, William. History of Baldwinsville. New York, n.d.
________. Past and Present of Syracuse and Onondaga County. New York: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1908.
Bruce, Dwight, ed. Onondaga Centennial. Boston: Boston History Co., 1896.
Directory of the Village of Baldwinsville. Baldwinsville, NY: Gazette and Farmers Job Print Co., 1885.
Hall, Edith. History of Baldwinsville. McHarrie's Legacy, 1981.
Hawley, George. Dr. Jonas C. and Mrs. Betsy Baldwin. 1977.