1902 Encyclopedia > Syracuse, United States

United States

SYRACUSE, a city of the United States, the county seat of Onondaga county, New York, 148 miles west of Albany, midway between that city and Buffah.. Syracuse is situated near the southern end of Onondaga Lake (5 miles long by 1 broad), whose waters flow northwards through Seneca and Oswego rivers into Lake Ontario at Oswego. The Erie Canal, flowing east and west, joins the Oswego Canal within the city. Syracuse contains several handsome public buildings,—the county court-house, the United States Government building, the city-hall, the State asylum for idiots, the Onondaga peni-tentiary, the county orphan asylum, the asylum of St Vincent de Paul, the high school (containing the central library of 15,000 volumes), a State armoury, &c. Syra-cuse is the seat of a (Methodist) university, founded in 1870 and consisting of a college of the liberal arts, a college of the fine arts, and a college of physicians and surgeons. The salt industry, to which Syracuse owed much of its early prosperity, is still the staple; the springs situated near the southern end of Lake Onondaga, which appears to be the remains of a once very extensive basin, have been under State control since 1797. Previous to the opening of the Michigan springs they were the largest in the United States, and they still yield on an average from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 bushels of salt per annum. Rolling-mills, furnaces, steel-works, glass-works, breweries, and manufactories of barrels, agricultural machinery, and clothing are among the secondary industrial establishments. At the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 Syracuse had only 300 inhabitants; by 1855 they were 25,107, and in 1860, 1870, and 1880 respectively they numbered 28,119, 43,051, and 51,792; in 1886 the number had risen to 81,000, including some adjacent villages recently annexed.

By some investigators it is believed that Lake Onondaga was De Soto's " cilver-bottomed " lake. The great tribal fortress of the Onondagas on the east side of the lake near the spot novv occupied by Liverpool was attacked without success by Champlain in 1615. The first house on the site of Syracuse was built in 1805. The village, to which the name of Syracuse had been given in 1824, was incorporated in 1825, and the city in 1847.

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