Monday, May 21, 2018

Syracuse High Points 4: Scottholm Terrace

Luna checking out the bricks on the way up to the summit of  Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse High Points 4: Scottholm Terrace
by Samuel D. Gruber

Since last summer Luna and I have been including Scottholm Terrace on some of our "high point" walks. The small street in the Scottholm neighborhood reaches a height of 640 feet above sea level, rising approximately 110 feet above the remainder of the Scottholm neighborhood, a good part of which was designated a National Register Historic District in 2012. To conquer these topographic challenges, over the decades the sloped ground has been sculpted and leveled to allow for residential construction.

This is visible today as each residential lot ‘steps’ up the hill. Even so, the steepest portions of the neighborhood, requiring the most leveling, were developed last and thus contain many mid-20th-century homes, built long after most of the Scottholm "garden suburb" was built in the 1920s. Albert Homes, Inc. developed the top of the drumlin in the late 1950s and early 1960s with a series of modern houses, many of which were purchased by Syracuse university professors.  Architecture professor Lou Skolar designed and built his won house (see below).

Syracuse, NY. 201 Sunnyside Rd. at the intersection with Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012.
An attractive cottage-style house, built ca. 1930, nestles against the hill at the corner of Sunnyside Rd and Scottholm Terrace. A series of split-level houses from the 1960s and later can then be seen dug into the slop heading up from Sunnyside Rd. Most of Scottholm Terrace is paved in brick - and has always remained so - to help with traction.  Only the flatter summit is paved in asphalt.

 Scottholm Terrace, mid-20th century split-level houses on the way up Scottholm Terrace from Sunnyside Rd. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Scottholm Terrace looking east. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Luna at  the summit of  Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Among the modern houses is the lovely and delicate Skoler House, designed in 1957 by Syracuse University architecture professor Lou Skoler (1920-2008) as home for himself, wife Celia, and children. The house is Influenced by Japanese design and sits lightly on the hilltop. It is noted for open easily partitioned interior spaces and (I'm told) offers breathtaking views to the north and east when the foliage is not full. Skoler, a graduate of Cornell's School of Architecture, became an influential professor of architecture at Syracuse University and played a leading role in introducing modern architecture to Central New York. 

The 1900-square foot house is one of the few modern style buildings in Syracuse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its present occupants have worked hard to maintain its architectural integrity. what was sees from the street is only a partial view, as a lower story of the house is set below in the hillside, and its occupants have long vistas to the east. The Japanese-influenced design and construction of the building were innovative for Syracuse in the 1950's and Skolar could not find a contractors to bid on his design. Consequently, he served as his own contractor.

Syracuse, NY. Skolar House, 213 Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Skolar House, 213 Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Syracuse, NY. Skolar House, 213 Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017
Luna checking out the bricks on the way down from the summit of  Scottholm Terrace. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2017

Down the slope of Scottholm Terrace toward East Genesee Street are several notable houses. This side of drumlin was developed - up to a certain point in - the teens and 1920s. including two by Arts and Crafts architect Ward Wellington Ward. The Amon Sanderson House at 100 Scottholm Terrace (aka 112 Scottholm Boulevard), built in 1916, was one of the first erected in Scottholm. Sanderson was a former clergyman who became a developer of residential neighborhoods, especially on the Eastside of Syracuse. In city directories he is listed as president of the Scottholm Company in 1922 and secretary of the Eastern Land Corp. in 1920.Thus his house was both a personal investment and an advertisement to encourage other builders in the new neighborhood.

This two-story frame house exemplifies Ward’s Arts & Crafts style and also the related Prairie style.  Among the distinctive features of the house are its gable-on-hipped roof, cedar clapboards in wide and narrow strips, decorative lattice-work and gable designs. A one story porch faces Scottholm Terrace.  The house is one of five similar homes in Syracuse designed by Ward. The others are at 464 Allen Street, 100 Berkeley Drive, 1917 West Colvin Street, and 116 Rugby Road.

Syracuse, NY. Amon Sanderson House, 100 Scottholm Terrace, Ward Wellington Ward, architect, 1916. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012
The Mrs. F. Reynolds House at 104 Scottholm Terrace was built  in 1919.  It is an unusualy Ward design. The basic form and structure of the house are similar to the Sanderson House, but the stucco finish links it - at least visually - to contemporary California designs.

Nearby houses also incorporate Arts & Crafts and Tudor Revival forms and details, but for now, the architects of this fine houses remain unknown.


Syracuse, NY. Mrs. F. Reynolds House, 104 Scottholm Terrace, Ward Wellington Ward, architect, 1919. Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012
Syracuse, NY. 106 Scottholm Terrace, 1928 (?)  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012
Syracuse, NY. 114 and 112 Scottholm Terrace.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012
Syracuse, NY. 116 Scottholm Terrace.  Photo: Samuel Gruber 2012
Read more about Scottholm here. 

Other Syracuse High Points:

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

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

Syracuse High Points 1: Westminster Park