Sunday, December 10, 2017

Eastwood Church Includes Arts & Crafts Details Outside with Sumptuous Stained Glass Inside

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. W. R. Brown, arch. 1916. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. W. R. Brown, arch. 1916. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. Redesigned interior. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
James Street Methodist Church Includes Arts & Crafts Details Outside with Sumptuous Stained Glass Inside 
by Samuel D. Gruber 

I was recently elected president of the Arts & Crafts Society of Central New York, so in the past few weeks I've cast my eyes about the region thinking of the effect of the Movement in the shaping of art and architecture in Central New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  I've mostly thought of the people and places where the most complete and intentional expression of the aesthetics and philosophy of the movement are apparent, such as in the furniture and Craftsman Houses of Gustav Stickley and his associates, for or in the architecture of Ward Wellington Ward or in the exceptional houses by Catherine Budd and William Henry Peters, built on Robineau Road alongside those by Ward.

But there are many less well-known and documented instances in Central New York design where Art & Crafts elements break through, mostly either simplifying some of the (often brilliant) excesses of the architecture of the Gilded Age, or after 1900 as an alternate to rules and regularity of Renaissance and Roman revival design. These include a small number of public buildings, including some churches and schools.

A few years ago my colleague Bruce Harvey and I were engaged by the City of Syracuse to carry out an religious property survey in the city to access the historical and design qualities of more than 100 present and former churches, synagogues, and religious school buildings. This survey showed that while there are still extant a large number of 19th-century churches built in historicist styles and a large number of well and often creatively-designed modern churches of the post-World War II period, there were few religious structures that showed appreciation by the architect or the commissioning congregation of Arts & Crafts design.

We can only speculate on the reasons for the small number of Arts and Crafts churches. Part of it was timing, the style seemed most popular in the years preceding World War I, and then afterwards tastes changed. In Syracuse two churches include Arts and Crafts elements are from this period.. These former First English Lutheran Church at 501 James Street from 1910-11,  which I have already written about, and the James Street Methodist Church of 1916, described below, located in Eastwood. In 2016, a century after the church design was first published, the James Street Methodist church was sold. The Austin organ of was sold  beforehand and removed.  I have not been in the church since the sale to see what changes have been made.


Syracuse, NY. First English Lutheran Church. Archimedes Russell and Melvin King, architects, 1911. Bell tower. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, exterior detail. W. R. Brown, arch. 1916. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Also, much of the Arts & Crafts aesthetic is about individual or family living, and this is best applied in more intimate settings. That is why, in part, there are so many Craftsman houses but one doesn't see many (or any?) Craftsman churches. Already in the late 19th-century, however, there was a tradition of open wood roof construction in many churches, and this presages in some ways the reverence for traditional craftsmanship of the Arts & Crafts Movement. In England there is a direct line between Pugin and the Gothic Revival and William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In American church architecture, the Gothic Revival remained strong, and a particular brand of English country Gothic was popular through the 1920s among the same social class and mainstream Protestant groups who mostly supported Arts and Crafts design at home. This English Gothic could also be built on an intimate scale. We have examples in the city such as Saint Stephen's Lutheran Church on the Northside (1929), Saint Alban's Episcopal Church on the Eastside (1929 ff), and many more. These churches could include some Arts & Crafts detail work, especially in wood, metal work, and stained glass. In England, Arts and Crafts masters such as Henry Wilson had a close relationship with the Anglican Church and provided many important church furnishings.

Syracuse University architecture professor Frederick Roy Lear excelled in Gothic design and his work is apparent in the former English Lutheran Church of Atonement (1927) and the former Lafayette Avenue Methodist Church (1928).

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. Drawing of church in 1916 before construction.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. Program from 1920s.
Architecture 

Begun in 1919, the James Street United Methodist Church occupies a site on the north side of James Street in the former Village of Eastwood, at Rigi Avenue. The design reflects a Renaissance style filtered through an Arts & Crafts aesthetic. The building is on a lot donated by a parishioner J. C Surbeck, a “pioneer of Eastwood.” The church was built with a central raised bell tower and open lantern surmounting the center of the sanctuary roof. This raised element is now gone, already removed by the 1960s. The architect was W. R. Brown of Brown, Blauvelt Co, from Rochelle Park, N.J.[1]

The church has an unusual plan that contributes to a complex roof structure. The focus of the sanctuary is a raised area for the communion table set in an apse-like projection from the south east corner of the building. Seating in the sanctuary, which was originally in curved benches, faces southeast. A low barrel vaults covers most of the sanctuary space.




Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. cornerstone W. R. Brown, arch. 1919. There was original an entrance through this corner pavilion. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. W. R. Brown, arch. 1916. There was original an entrance through this corner pavilion. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014
The building originally had three street entrances. One was a fairly low double door entrance on the chamfered building corner that was surmounted by a projecting shed roof supported by decorative brackets, above which were two round-headed lancet windows filled with stained glass. This entrance probably led to the ample basement (where services were held when the building was first under construction) and also into the sanctuary via doorways to the sides of the raised communion area. Until 2016, an organ occupied this space. The doorway and windows were filled in 1948 when the building underwent structural renovations, and also an interior remodeling. Today, the foundation level stonework runs continuously across this part of the building.

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church. W. R. Brown, arch. 1916. The interior was remodeled in in 1948 and later. An Austin organ was installed behind this screen. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014
Other entrances to the church are up steps on James Street and Rigi Avenue.On James Street, steps lead to projecting gable-roof porch to the left of the south sanctuary arm and a large arched stained window, filled with stained glass. On Rigi Ave. there is side entrance, projecting out to the sidewalk from the body of the church, up steps to a door in a small lean-to-roofed wing. The entrance doors on both sides maintain their original decorative hardware.


A functional addition to the church was added to the north end in the post-World War II era. Though designed by noted modernist Gordon Schopfer, it does not display unusual or exceptionally technically innovation and architectural expressive elements, as do many other Schopfer commissions.

Stained Glass

The original stained glass is in all the windows. Geometric patterns are used for windows to non-liturgical spaces. The three large arched windows the light the sanctuary are more ornate. The two memorial windows facing James and Rigi Ave. include large figurative religious scenes. The window facing  Rigi Ave. represents Jesus as a shepherd of his flock. The window facing on to James Street represents the Three Marys at the Tomb with the Angel announcing Christs resurrection. It is not known what studio designed and manufactured the windows.
 
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.
Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.

History

The origins of the church are in a Revival held in January 1912 in 67 persons professed conversion, leading to the desire for a church in Eastwood. A large basement was designed and built allowing a space forth the new congregation led by Rev. Richard Lowry. The congregation first met in a barber shop, then in the basement of the church as it was under construction. Rev. Lowry’s sudden death, however, in 1913 led to the arrival of Rev. Dr. William H. Powers, who oversaw the erection of the church. Powers subsequently became Dean of Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University. 

The church was dedicated on June 20, 1920 by Bishop Burt, head of the Methodist conference, assisted by Rev. William H. Powers, then pastor. It was established as a “unity church” but the Methodist ritual was followed throughout all services. Among the denominations worshiping “in perfect harmony” were besides the Methodist Episcopal, “Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Roman Catholics, Weslyan and Free Methodists, Evangelicals, Christian Scientists and New Thoughters.” In 1923 there were reported to be 500 members of the church from “all parts of Eastwood and the outskirts of Syracuse.”In 1937 The Syracuse Journal reported membership over 400 and a constituency of about 1,000.

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.

Syracuse, NY. James Street United Methodist Church, windows after 1919. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014.

Sources

“James Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Eastwood, New York,” East Syracuse (Nov 24, 1916) 

“James Street Methodist Episcopal Church Owes its Origin to Sunday School Held in 1870,” Syracuse Journal (June 19, 1937) [photocopy] 

Edwards, Finette A. “Thirteen Denominations Here,” (Sept. 29, 1923) “My Church” Past, Present, Future, A Commemorative Book About James Street Methodist Church Dedicated to the Observances of its 30th Year of Christian Stewardship and Service 1919-1949

1. American Contractor (July 7, 1917)East Syracuse, NY.  Church 30,000 65 x 95  Archt. & Engr. W. R. Brown, care Brown, Blauvelt Co., Inc, Rochelle Park, New Jersey. Owner James Street M. E. Church, George O. Merwin, chm. bldg.com., 324 West Fayette, East Syracuse, bids to abt. Sept 1.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Syracuse High Points 3: Morningside Heights Park and Reservoir (& Graffiti Gallery)

Syracuse, NY. Luna ascends the hidden steps in Morningside Heights Park. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

Luna at the summit in front of the Morningside Reservoir. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

Syracuse High Points 3: Morningside Heights Park and Reservoir  (& Graffiti Gallery)
by Samuel D. Gruber

 
Luna and I continue to climb to Syracuse Heights on our morning walks. We recently ascended the "Hidden Stairway" to the summit of Morningside Heights Park, these days a nature area and one of the city's most hidden parks.

The recreational area was established in 1938, when the City purchased a piece of land from the adjacent Morningside Cemetery. The park was then named Comfort Tyler Park after the local 18th-century pioneer, and it was developed into a winter sports center. By 1939, the new Park had a toboggan slide, a skiing and coasting hill, and and skating pond (in the south portion of the park). These were all lighted for night use. It is hard to believe today - the area is mostly overgrown as scrub and woods. But there still remains a massive stairway up the hill as evidence to the park's past glory.


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Heights Park. Unmarked entrance on Mornigside Terrace to hidden stairway. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

Syracuse, NY. Morningside Heights Park. Hidden stairway. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

Syracuse, NY. Morningside Heights Park stairway. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

Syracuse, NY. Morningside Heights Park stairway looking down. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017.

The stair hard to find. It is unmarked - you have to enter through a grass covered empty lot on Morningside Terrace, not far from Lancaster Avenue. A slight left, past some trees and heading towards the hill, and suddenly the lower level of the stair is revealed. Not until turning entirely left and looking up does one grasp the full length of this massive construction. Today, more than 75 years after its construction it remains in excellent condition. But where does this monumental stair go?

Immediately, the stair goes nowhere. At the top there is nothing but vegetation and a beaten path through the woods that quickly takes one to a paved road - the access road for the water towers of the Morningside Reservoir that top the hill.



These massive holding tanks were built in 1940 and still serve the Eastside of the city. They are also, to my mind, one of the two best graffiti galleries in the city. For decades graffiti artists have made the climb here to decorate the tanks - or just to tag them. The show is ever changing. Here's a selection of this summer's offerings:


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Reservoir. Graffiti. Photo: Samuel Gruber July 2017.


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Reservoir. Graffiti. Photo: Samuel Gruber July 2017.


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Reservoir. Graffiti. Photo: Samuel Gruber July 2017.


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Reservoir. Graffiti. Photo: Samuel Gruber July 2017.


Syracuse, NY. Morningside Reservoir. Graffiti. Photo: Samuel Gruber July 2017.

The park is also home to the Morningside Community Garden. The garden has just about 60 plots that local residents use to grow flowers and vegetables. The Garden is open to everyone.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Death of Art Pioneer Dorothy Riester, Sculptor of Temple Adath Yeshurun Art

Death of Art Pioneer Dorothy Riester, Sculptor of Temple Adath Yeshurun Art

Syracuse, NY. Temple Adath Yeshurun. Menorah candelabra by Dorothy Riester. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber
Death of Art Pioneer Dorothy Riester, Sculptor of Temple Adath Art 

[cross posted from Samuel Gruber's Jewish Art & Monuments]

Dorothy Riester (1916-2017), a pillar in the art world of Central New York for decades, died this week at  the age of 100.  She had remained active and creative until the end of her life.  Though not Jewish, Riester contributed some of the most memorable "Jewish art," in upstate New York with her sanctuary sculpture for Temple Adath Yeshurun in Syracuse. Designed by Percival Goodman, the Conservative synagogue dedicated its new home with Riester's powerful combined Decalogue and Ner Tamid  over the Ark and menorahs on the bimah in  June, 1971.  Riester also created a sculpture representing the Burning Bush in Temple Adath's Cooper Meditation Garden.  Her sanctuary work recalls that of Seymor Lipton, and is in every way of equal quality.

Riester was one of just a handful of women sculptors who received major synagogue commissions in the 1950s and 1960s.  Others were Mitzie Solomon Cunliffe, Luise Kaish and Louise Nevelson.

Read and see more here.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Westcott Neighborhood Ward Wellington Ward House Tour Wednesday Evening, July 26th



Westcott Neighborhood Ward Wellington Ward House Tour 
Wednesday Evening, July 26th, 5:30 - 7:30 pm

I will be leading a walking tour of Arts & Crafts style houses designed by Ward Wellington Ward along Allen Street in Syracuse's Westcott Neighborhood this Wednesday evening form 5:30 to 7:30. We'll walk from the 300 block of Allen Street to Euclid Avenue.  

Please note: the tour will only pass exteriors - there will be no entry into private houses. 

We will have a stop for refreshments at the Morgan Dunne House at 464 Allen Street to celebrate the inclusion of the house on the National Register of Historic Places, and to hear plans for the upcoming restoration.

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The tour starts at the SW corner of Allen Street and East Genesee Street. The tour will proceed if there is light rain. If there is a deluge we will reschedule. 

The tour is sponsored by the Westcott Neighborhood Association (WNA) and The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY).  Tickets are $10, or $5 for WNA and PACNY members. Organization memberships will be available at the tour.

I will discuss Ward's career,  local trends in Arts & Crafts inspired architecture as well associated historicist styles and vernacular trends. I'll also speak a bit about the overall development of Allen Street.

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Between 1910 and 1923 Ward designed more than a dozen houses in the area, with about the same number designed and built in the University area immediately to the west.  Even more houses by Ward were built by Ward in walking distance - in the along Salt Springs Road and in Scottholm .- we can visit these on another tour. 

I've written before about some of these houses on this blog and on the WNA website. Here are some links:

Ward Wellington Ward Arts & Crafts Houses at East Genesee and Allen Streets

423 Euclid Ave. (Frank Collins house)

126 Concord Place (Tuck house)

700 Allen Street, Anna Stohrer House 

Ward Wellington Ward's 1909 (H. A. Moyer) Automobile Factory Among Syracuse's Top Industrial Buildings 

Ward Wellington Ward on Walnut Avenue

Monday, July 17, 2017

Syracuse High Points 2: Thornden Park Water Tower (Elon P. Stewart Reservoir)

Syracuse, NY. Luna leads he way up to the Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. The Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. The Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017
Syracuse High Points 2: Thornden Park Water Tower (Elon P. Stewart Reservoir)
by Samuel D. Gruber 

Ascending any of the roads of Thornden Park, or coming up the hill from Clarendon Street to Ackerman Ave., one makes for the highest point where sits a massive round tower. Or, like Luna and me yesterday, you can skip the road and just climb the very steep hill rising opposite the Thornden swimming pool.

The tower is actually the Elon P. Stewart Reservoir, which holds 2 million gallons of water and is a key part of the city's water system. It is gravity fed by Skaneateles Lake (860 feet), which is higher than Thornden (732 feet). The reservoir (or standpipe) buitl in 1925-26,  rests 372 feet above the level of Onondaga Lake.

It was originally just called the Thornden Standpipe, is now named after a former city water engineer. The steel tank, which is enclosed in a masonry building, is 77 feet across, 60 feet high, and open at the top.  When it was constructed, engineers boasted that if every house in the neighborhood flushed their toilets at the same time, there would be no drop in pressure.  don't know if there was an architect involved - even for the exterior decoration - but the superb masonry work was done by Hueber Bros., Inc. (now Hueber-Breuer).

Syracuse, NY. Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Entrance portal. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016.

The simplicity of the building - the pristine geometry of its great cylinder - is what makes the structure striking yet calming. The roots of this design go back to the Pantheon in Rome. These water reservoirs have always reminded me of the Martello Towers in Ireland, too. For more contemporary architectural use of the cylinder see the works of Louis Kahn and Mario Botta.

Rome, Italy. The Pantheon, 2nd century. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber ca 1985.
Rome, Italy. The Pantheon, etching by DuPerac, ca 1575.

https://elcafetindelas5.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/bangladeshkahn.jpg
Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh National Assembly, Louis Kahn, arch, 1982. photo: web.

Image result for mario botta cylinder

√Čvry (Essonne), France. Cathedral of the Resurrection, Mario Botta, arch., 1995 Photo:web.


In keeping with the Pantheon, this brick cylinder has a classical "front" - that is, a flat decorated portal stuck into the curved body of the building.  The main portion of this entrance  is the frieze dominated by a carved head of Neptune, god of the seas, who is surrounded by shells and tridents, his watery attributes.



Syracuse, NY. Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Entrance portal. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017











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Syracuse, NY. Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Entrance portal. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017.

Syracuse's water system was first organized in 1841, using hollowed out logs to move water from spring fed reservoirs to the center of town. This technology had already been perfected in the salt industry, where hollowed logs were a regular feature to move water. By the 1880's the need for water had greatly increased as the population boomed, and a more reliable source was needed. and logs were no longer used - since most local forests had been clear cut for farmland. Iron and lead pipes became the favorite conduits of the water - no one considering the now-obvious contamination problems.

From The Leaf: A Publication of the Thornden Park Association, Syracuse, NY (March 2015), Vol 2:1:
After much debate, Skaneateles Lake was chosen as the city's new water source. Two side by side cast iron pipes were laid over a 19-mile route between the lake and Syracuse. Although laying pipe through solid rock, across ravines, and through quicksand was a difficult task, in 1894, after 5 years of construction, the pipeline was complete. City water was stored in Syracuse Reservoir  now called Woodland. In the 1920's, two “above tanks” called standpipes, were built one at Woodland and one at Thornden.
In 1992 the water tower was repaired. Exterior renovation included replacement of the  roof, repair of masonry, removal of graffiti, application of sealer to the masonry, and installation of both security lighting and a wrought iron fence around the tower to protect it from future vandalism. In 2014, $2.9 million was spent culminating in a new, 11 ton aluminum roof (pictures of it going up here; and video here). The work was needed because of severe roof deterioration and of 16 concrete columns inside the structure that support the roof.

Syracuse, NY. Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, during repairs.. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014


The views west and especially north from the sprawling grassy lawn around the tower are spectacular. These photos do not do them justice. On July 4th it is traditional for neighborhood families to gather on the great lawn and watch the fireworks from the fairgrounds or the stadium to the north, as little - and not so little - children delight themselves rolling down the green hill.

Syracuse, NY. View looking north from Thornden Park water reservoir. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017

Syracuse, NY. View looking north from Thornden Park water reservoir. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017

Syracuse, NY. View looking northwest from Thornden Park water reservoir. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Luna at the Elon P. Stewart Reservoir in Thornden Park, Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2017

[source: The Leaf: A Publication of the Thornden Park Association, Syracuse, NY (March 2015), Vol 2:1


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Syracuse High Points 1: Westminster Park

Syracuse, NY. Westminster Stairs. Luna looks at Sam and thinks "Are you crazy?" Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Westminster Stairs, vw down to Euclid Ave.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Westminster Park. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse High Points 1: Westminster Park
by Samuel D.  Gruber 

[n.b. Information in the blog post is pulled from my on-line walking tour of this neighborhood, to explore more of the area see Westcott's England.] 


Syracuse has many parks, big and small. Many of these - especially of the small ones - are often in out of the way places, and are sometimes found on left over land. A number of parks include high places, often the summits of drumlins, which were not always desirable for building. Or, these spots might already have been singled out and sometimes privately developed for recreation in the 19th century as popular destinations because they offered expansive vistas and salubrious breezes. This summer (my dog) Luna and I will be a exploring many of these high places - and we hope to report back.

Sometimes, as in the case of Westminster Park, summits and other green spaces were left open in the center of larger building tracts as a way of attracting nearby residential development. This was the case of  Westminster Park, a former sheep pasture, that was deeded for a park by the original Westminster Tract developers in 1890. The 4.784 acre park sits at the end of Westminster Avenue atop a 655-foot drumlin and offers superb vies of Syracuse and Onondaga Lake – better when the foliage is not full. It is now connected to Euclid Avenue by steps which were added later.

From 1890 to 1910 the city did little to improve the property except to develop Westminster Avenue and a sidewalk around the top of the drumlin. In 1890, ambitious plans were promoted for the erection of a rustic Gothic style resort hotel at the highest point – where the park is now. Like so many plans in Syracuse – these went nowhere. Still, these are telling about how this part of the city was perceived at the end of the 19th century.

Syracuse, NY. View looking west from Westminster Park to University Hill andbeyond. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012.

An article in the Syracuse Daily Standard (February 26, 1891) speculated on future plans:
  
    On the Highest Peak A Large Rustic Hotel to the Built on the Top of Lookout Park A Resort for Pleasure-Seekers in Summer – Plans of Real Estate Agents for Next Season
The real estate market is quiet just at present and the agent finds little more to do than to sit in his office, smoke cigars, and plan for the future. A talk with real estate dealers will disclose that these plans for the future are being made on a gigantic scale. It is a prevailing impression among real estate men that the boom a [sic] their particular line in the spring will be something enormous. Each, of course, claims that the greater boom will be in the direction of his particular tract. While there is no doubt but that considerable will be done in all directions, judging from the present outlook, the boom will open strongest in the eastern and southern portion of the city. The tracts lying in this direction are the Easterly tract, the Westminster tract, the Hillsdale tract and the University homestead tract.
A scheme which has been maturing during the winter and which in all probability will be carried out in the spring is to erect a pleasure resort on the Westminster tract, a park of about six acres. It was laid out by the owner of the tract for a park. The trees and shrubs making the shading of the park have already been set out. The park is situated on the summit of the highest portion of the tract, which is the highest hill in tho vicinity of Syracuse. From the park, which will be called Westminster park, a view can be gained of the entire city of Syracuse, of Onondaga lake, and Oneida lake, which can be easily seen on a clear day. Drives and walks have been laid out in the park and these will be nicely graded and paved, with asphalt. The main drive will be the termination of Westminster avenue. The drive terminates on a large round plateau upon the very summit of the hill. It is at this point that the scheme takes form. Upon the eastern side of this plateau it is proposed to erect a large rustic hotel which will attract thousands from the city during the warm summer months who desire fresh air and delightful scenery. The plans for the hotel have not yet been definitely made, but this much is known, it will be built in similitude of a log structure and will be Gothic in architecture. The consolidated railroad have made preparations to lay their tracks within about 200 feet of the proposed building and access to it may thus be gained when the road is in full operation. Electricity will be the motive power of the road and it is estimated that it will not take to exceed 20 minutes to reach the resort from the center of the city.”
Twenty years later, people were still waiting for park improvements. The Syracuse Journal reported on Oct. 22, 1910 that “Superintendent Campbell said to-day (sic) that the people of the seventeenth ward were entitled to have the park improved, as the people of that land pay a large portion of the city’s tax, with their residences being very valuable,” the article read.
Syracuse, NY. Westminster Stairs, vw down to Euclid Ave.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Westminster Stairs, vw up to Westminster Park.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Westminster Stairs, Bricks in their original arrangement paving the ramp sections.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017

In the years that followed, the staircase and connecting tramp sections from Euclid Avenue to Westminster Park was constructed, trees were planted and a gazebo (now gone) was built to host the families traveling by trolley to enjoy the view.

Syracuse, NY. Westminster Park. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017

Syracuse, NY. Westminster Park. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
The well maintained a regularly mowed green oval in the center of park resembles a traditional bowling green - a place for lawn bowling (similar to the Italian bocce). I wonder if bowling has ever been played here?  There are similar ovals atop other city summits. I'll have to check with the Parks Department and see if there is interest in an outdoor bowling league - or at least a one day affair.

I've written about other parks on this blog.Click here for more on Thornden Park, and here for Fayette Park.