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~ Syracuse Then and Now ~

Our History
Our Challenges
Your Home

Postcard of Clinton Square in 1905 (
Detroit Photographic Co.)

"We shape our buildings; thereafter, they shape us"

 Sir Winston Churchill

During the century from 1840 to 1940 the City of Syracuse, New York grew dramatically in both population and wealth.  This was due to the city's position on the Erie Canal, its location at the junction of major highways and railway lines and its growth as a manufacturing center.

Between 1860 and 1870 the wealth of the city more than quadrupled.  In 1868 alone, 850 buildings were built in Syracuse.  In just the years between 1880 and 1900 the population of Syracuse doubled – and doubled again between 1900 and 1930.

On the eve of World War II, Syracuse was left with a fine collection of public buildings, commercial structures and private residences designed primarily by talented local architects.  Some of these ranked among the finest in the state.

Syracuse Then and Now explores what has become of this inheritance.  What were the city's architectural assets at the end of the war?  What has been lost?  What remains for us to enjoy and preserve?

This story is told largely through the use of photographs – pictures taken in the early twentieth century and more recent photos of the same locations.

You'll see that there have been significant changes during the intervening years.  Some historic buildings have been substantially modified; others are gone entirely.  Of course, historic buildings are sometimes removed to make way for something even better – look and decide for yourself.

This website is a project of the Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY).  It is a work in progress – please check back from time to time to see how it has grown and improved.

Click here to learn more about

The Preservation Association
of Central New York

or visit them at

930 James St
Syracuse, NY  13203
(315) 475-0119

Be sure to also visit:

The Freedom Trail

Central New York was home to many of the most significant events and personalities of both the underground railway and the women's rights movement.

Enlargements of the images from the Erie Canal Museum and Syracuse Blueprint  are available for purchase.

Visit the Onondaga Historical Association


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