Monday, August 15, 2016

Fine houses of Syracuse's 19th-Century Mayors

Syracuse, NY. 201-203 Green St. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Syracuse, NY. 714 North McBride St. Louis Will house. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014
Syracuse, NY. 500 N. McBride St.. Truesdell-Schoeneck house (1892). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2014

Fine houses of  Syracuse's 19th-Century Mayors
by Samuel D. Gruber

I've recently written about beautiful Queen Anne style houses on North McBride Street and houses built by an early Syracuse Mayor Lyman Stephens. Let's continue these themes - here are more mayors' Queen Anne houses and two of the are on North McBride Street, too.

Syracuse, NY. 201-203 Green St. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
At 201-203 Green Street, on the northeast corner of Howard Street, is a palatial brick and stone Romanesque style residence with delicate porches and a polygonal tower. In 1895, two opposing candidates for mayor occupied the two halves of the building. Republic Charles Baldwin (running on the Citizen's Municipal Reform Party ticket) and and Democrat James Kenndy McGuire (1868-1923) lived side-by-side.  27-year-old McGuire, Syracuse's "boy mayor," won the election and served until 1901. The building was restored in the 1980s by the owner Joan Farrenkopf and preservation architects Crawford & Stearns. This project, and those on the 300 block of North McBride helped revive the identity of the recently-designated (1979) Hawley-Green National Register Historic District.

McGuire was one of the most influential and progressive (despite being a Democrat) mayors of the early city, especially championing the building of new schools. He was an ex-mayor at age 33 and went on to a active and public life, especially associated with cause of Irish nationalism. His life story has recently been researched and published in the biography James K. McGuire: Boy Mayor and Irish Nationalist by Joseph E. Fahey, well summarized by James McKillop.

Syracuse, NY. 216-218 Green St. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2016
Just up the street, on the north side of the 200 block of Green Street, at 216-218, is massive multi-storied Queen Anne style house with a large cylindrical tower built in 1890 for Congressman Michel E (“Honest Mike”) Driscoll who served seven terms in the United States House of Representatives.



Syracuse, NY. 500 N. McBride St.. Truesdell-Schoeneck house (1892). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2007
On North McBride Street, on north side of James Street, are two other excellent examples of the Queen Anne style; the Truesdell-Schoeneck house at 500 N. McBride Street, and the Louis Will House at 714 North McBride.  

The Truesdell-Schoeneck House was built in 1892, from an elaborate architectural kit provided by catalogue purchased by the original owner John Truesdell. The kit, which would be shipped by train and then built by local carpenters, is attributed to architect George Franklin Barber.  The house was subsequently occupied by Edward Schoeneck who served as mayor of Syracuse and a New York lieutenant governor. 

Further North, at 714 North McBride Street is Lovely Louis Will house, built in 1885, and home to candle manufacturer Louis Will. Will was Progressive Party (Bull Moose) mayor of Syracuse from 1914-1916.  The architect of the house has not been identified. The brick house is built on a sandstone foundation, with some terracotta decoration. A fine expansive porch, of the type once seen on many houses throughout the city, wraps around the front (west) and  south sides. The house has stained glass windows, purported to be early works of the Tiffany studios (n.b. I have not seen these close up).

Syracuse, NY. 714 North McBride St. Louis Will house. Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2015
Louis Will was the child of German immigrants. After his father's death he and the family began making and selling candles. The firm Eckermann and Will was founded about 1875 and the successful firm later merged with its competitor to form Will and Baumer Candle Company in 1896. In the subsequent decades Will expanded his business dealing into many other area, and entered public life leading to his one term as mayor. Later, in the 1920s and 1930s he played a major role advocating the removal of railroad lines form the downtown streets leading to the creation of the elevated rail line a few years after his death in 1932. The family sold the North McBride house in 1944 and it became a residence for the Salvation Army. In 2000 it was purchased by a private owners who as worked to restore it to its original beauty.

The Truesdell-Schoeneck House is a local protected site. The Will house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Syracuse, NY. 500 N. McBride St.. Truesdell-Schoeneck house (1892). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2007
Add captionSyracuse, NY. 500 N. McBride St.. Truesdell-Schoeneck house (1892). Photo: Samuel D. Gruber 2007


2 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I have wondered about the stories of those ornate old houses. I appreciate the research and other work you put into these posts.

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