Thursday, June 21, 2012

Historic Samuel Forman House for Sale


Syracuse, NY. Samuel Forman Hse, 417 W. Seneca Turnpike. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012
Syracuse, NY. Samuel Forman Hse, 417 W. Seneca Turnpike. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012
Historic Samuel Forman House for Sale
by Samuel D. Gruber

The historic Samuel Forman House at 417 West Seneca Turnpike, built in 1812, was saved from demolition in 1998.  The house - which has also been used for commercial purpose - is now empty and for sale.
Syracuse, NY. Samuel Forman Hse, 417 W. Seneca Turnpike. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012

The Forman house is prominently sited just west of  the corner of West Seneca Turnpike and Valley Drive.  It is one of Syracuse’s most historic residential structures and one of about a dozen fine masonry Federal-style buildings still intact along Seneca Turnpike from the Onondaga Hollow to Onondaga Hill.  The house was documented as part of the Historic American Building Survey sometime after 1933 (see: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/item/ny0608/ ), has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and is listed as a Local Protected Site.  The Forman house is notable for its -severe but elegant Federal-style architecture including a well-preserved doorway with sidelight windows an interior curving staircase, and many intact architectural features within and without.  It is also associated with one of the founding families of Syracuse. Samuel Foreman was a brother of Joshua Forman who lived nearby (the Zen Center now occupies what was Joshua's house, now greatly transformed).

Sale of the building for residential use is problematic. While there are many historic sites in close proximity, commercial development in recent decades on the immediate adjacent lot and including a strip mall across the Seneca Turnpike now filled with discount stores, have compromised the home’s original setting. On the other hand, the constant car and pedestrian traffic for nearby shopping and dining (including Gannon's famous and excellent ice cream) offers potential for the right business tenant.  

Syracuse, NY. Samuel Forman Hse. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012
In 1998, the house came under threat when a local developer planned to demolish it along with several surrounding buildings to make way for a new 11,000- square-foot Eckerd drugstore.   Local preservationists (including SUNY-ESF prof Kathy Strickley and myself) and the Preservation Association of Central New York  worked with the developer to save the building intact.   At the end of 1998 the developer rehabilitated the Forman House for professional offices, and the building was later occupied by an antique store.  Eckerd went out of business not long after its new store was built.  That new structure is now a Rite-Aid Drugstore.

The building is now empty and for sale (asking price is $195,000) with its primary listing (with interior pictures) at realtyusa.com: 

It is listed as appropriate for a ground floor business with an apartment above.  Alternatively, the entire space could be adapted for residential, office or appropriate retails space.  Probably because of the now-commercial nature of its location, the historic character of the building is not being  used as much has it could be in marketing. Now seems a good  the time to list the house and other contemporary structures in the Valley on the National Register.

Syracuse, NY. Samuel Forman Hse & adjacent drugstore.  Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2012

5 comments:

  1. This is definitely a blog worth following. You’ve got a great deal to say about this subject, and so much knowledge.

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  3. I had not realized the age of the home or the Forman family had once resided there. The Forman name has some personal significant meaning to me as part of my genealogy/ family tree. It is unknown at this time if Samuel and his son, Eugene, have any connection with the Forman's who resided in Cayuga County, near Albany, NY , Westchester County, NY also Burlington and Monmouth counties of New Jersey. Gannon's ice cream is excellent but expensive. I've only lived in the valley area for about 3 years which is infested with high crime as is the whole south side of Syracuse. Sorry but Syracuse is turning out to be like Flint and Detroit, Michigan.
    I appreciate those who support Historical Sites as preserving our heritage.

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  4. The Forman's of Syracuse (Joshua, Joseph, Samuel and Eugene) are not of any relation to my known group of Forman. It would of been nice if they were.

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  5. This is the samuel forman who was a merchant and relocated to cazenovia in 1793 with john lincklaen. samuel and his brother jonathan (revolutionary war hero) ran a general store when the Holland Land company acquired land at cazenovia and environs for sale to settlers. Samuel forman built lakeland, a house rivalling lorenzo (lincklaens house) on the shore of cazenovia lake, but sold that to Jacob Ten Eyck when Forman retired to Syracuse. No known relation to Joshua Forman. Samuel Forman was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey at middletown point(what is now Matawan). John Lincklaen's wife Helen Ledyard was the daughter of Samuel Forman's sister.

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