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Sandy Creek Town

Sandy Creek Town Hall is located at 1992 Harwood Drive, Sandy Creek NY 13145; phone: 315-387-5456.

Beginnings [1]

Little remains from the earliest events and habitation in the town. Samuel de Champlain and a band of Hurons landed on the lake shore in 1615 but left after being defeated in battle with the Onondagas. Relics, found near the Lake Ontario shore, are all that remain of an early Indian village in that area.

The architectural heritage of the town reflects the development of mercantile prosperity associated with local farming and regional trade, the growth of important religious and civic institutions, the development of a seasonal shoreline recreation area and the exceptional quality of design and construction of local craftsmen/builders. With the exception of vacation and recreation related buildings, little new development has occurred in Sandy Creek since the early twentieth Century.

The early settlement of the town, beginning in 1802, was inhibited by the War of 1812. Sandy Creek's strategic location halfway between the forts at Oswego and Sackets Harbor was cause for fear of invasion, driving off established settlers and discouraging new ones.

The second major period of Sandy Creek's development occurred between 1849 and the turn of the century, when the villages of Sandy Creek and Lacona grew as regional centers of commerce, based on the continued prosperity of agriculture, the growth of water-or steam-powered industry along Little Sandy Creek, the opening of the Syracuse-Watertown Plank Road through Sandy Creek (1849), and the arrival of the Rome-Watertown Railroad in Lacona, (1851). By 1853 the Village of Sandy Creek had fifty dwellings, five general stores, four blacksmith shops, three shoe shops, two harness shops, two carriage shops and a hotel. It also had two tanneries, a grist mill, a saw mill and three churches.

The prosperity of the town of Sandy Creek in the second half of the nineteenth century is reflected in a number of outstanding residences, representative examples of a variety of architectural styles which were popular in this period. The Matthew Shoecraft House (c. 1860's) and the Samuel Sadler House (1870's) are the finest examples of Italianate style residences in Sandy Creek. Both exhibit the square shape, projecting cornice with decorative brackets and entry porches with tapered pillars which are characteristic of the Italianate style.The Samuel Sadler House is distinguished by its varied combinations of masonry patterns, reflecting the hand of its owner/builder, a master mason. The Matthew Shoecraft House is distinguished by its double turned cornice brackets and decorative window crowns. The Queen Anne style smith H. Barlow House (1898) and Fred Smart House (1900) are significant as the best local examples of the style and as the personal architectural expressions of their original owners, both builders and craftsmen. Both houses are typical of the Queen Anne style in scale, form, the use of towers and varied' siding materials. The Smith Barlow House exhibits irregular massing and a variety of window sizes and shapes while the Fred Smart House shows the influence of the emerging Neoclassical style in its symmetrical facade.

The late nineteenth century was a period of residential growth in the villages. Many of the new dwellings were simple unadorned frame houses with gabled main blocks and side wings built by retired farmers, landlords and middle-class families. The Newman Tuttle House (1871) provides the most intact representative example of a typical vernacular residential building in the villages during this period.

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a period of civic pride, growth of important religious institutions and establishment of community organizations including the Union Cemetery Association (1866), the Union School District (1871) the Sandy Creek Lecture Association (1882) and the H. H. Cole Cornet Band (1879). A significant religious building which epitomizes the prosperity and high standards of craftsmanship as well as the community spirit during this period is the High Victorian Gothic style Methodist Church (1879). Designed by architect Winslow Tucker of Watertown, NY, this distinguished brick edifice with as late roof was financed by donations from the entire community and constructed by the volunteer labor of the congregation. It is also significant as an outstanding example of the High Victorian Gothic style in the multiple resource area.

  1. Gobrect, Larry, N. Y. State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Town of Sandy Creek Multiple Resource Area, nomination document, 1988, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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