Sunday, August 25, 2019



Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Goethe-Schiller Monument. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse High Points 5: Schiller Park 

by Samuel D. Gruber 

It’s been a long time since Luna and I posted on a Syracuse High Point, but today we went and walked in Schiller Park on the Northside, so here’s some history and some pictures – combing some earlier ones from 2017 with those of today. Today, the park is over 37 acres in size with about three miles of road and is surrounded by Oak Street, Rugby road, Farmer Street, Whitwell Drive and Highland Street.  I wanted to go to do some new photography of the three Ward Wellington Ward designed houses built for the Ziegler Family at the Oak street entrance, and Luna was game to join me. I’ll write about this in another post.  As the photos show, there are lots of steps in the Park, and lots of opportunities for climbing.



 

Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Steps. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Luna climbing steps. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Steps. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Schiller Park culminates in the “Roudtop” which is a drumlin, and one of the highest points on the Northside. Further north, on a smaller rise, is the grand Goethe-Schiller Monument with the two famous German writers looking west to the city’s turn-of-the-20th-century German neighborhoods.


Schiller Park has its origins on May 27, 1901, when the Syracuse Common Council approved spending $25,000 to purchase 23.5 acres of “Round Top Park” for a designated public park.  This was the heyday of both Syracuse population growth, and the movement to provide parks and other public amenities to the public, many of whom were recent immigrants.  Streetcars could get some people out to the country, but it was important to bring some of the country into the city.


Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Paths to the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Luna approaches the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Luna at the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Luna on a lower path. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. View form the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019

It served as lookout in the French and Indian War in the 18th century,  and had been St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic cemetery in part of the 19th century. The remnants of the cemetery were removed after the sale in 1901. This presumably included the human remains as well as all the grave markers. The Roundtop the highest point in the park and when the foliage is not too thick one gets a great view of Downtown. Even in the summer, the towers of some churches and the AXA towers are in view.

The area was formally renamed Schiller Park on July 3, 1905, in recognition of the famed German writer and in recognition of the city’s strong Northside German population. Additional land was added in 1907 and the entire tract was laid out as a park in 1910, and a landscape design by David Campbell, who was Superintendent of Parks for the city, was implemented beginning in 1911.  The large statue of Goethe and Schiller was also installed in 1911 at the north end of the park – reached by a steep staircase from the west. 

Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Goethe-Schiller Monument. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Goethe-Schiller Monument. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019

The original Goethe–Schiller Monument is in Weimar, Germany and incorporates Ernst Rietschel's 1857 bronze double statue of Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749–1832) and Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805), both revered figures in German literature. This monument spawned many others to the writers around the world - and four exact copies of Rietschel's statue were commissioned by German-Americans in the United States in San Francisco (1901), Cleveland (1907), Milwaukee (1908), and Syracuse (1911).

From Wikipedia: "Goethe and Schiller both  lived in Weimar, and were the seminal figures of a literary movement known as Weimar Classicism. The bronze figures of the Goethe–Schiller statue are substantially larger than life-size; notably, both are given the same height,  though in life Goethe was nearly 20 cm shorter than Schiller. In Weimar, the figures were mounted on a large stone pedestal in front of the Court Theater that Goethe had directed, and that had seen premieres and countless performances of Schiller's plays. Goethe is on the left, his left hand resting lightly on Schiller's shoulder. Goethe grasps a laurel wreath in his right hand, and Schiller's right hand is stretched out toward the wreath. Goethe wears the formal court dress of the era; Schiller is in ordinary dress." 

Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Goethe-Schiller Monument seen from the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Goethe-Schiller Monument seen from the Roundtop. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2019
Schiller Park also has a lovely swimming pool with a great view of the city. My son Jonah used to be a lifeguard there. Here's a photo of the pool full at the height of summer, and the view today, with the season over.
 
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Swimming pool. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2009
Syracuse, NY. Schiller Park. Swimming pool. Photo: Samuel Gruber 20i9



Read about other Syracuse High Points here: 






4. Scottholm Terrace