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The Syracuse area has always had its own distinct character, defined in early years by its salt manufacturing, and in later years by its railroads,
architecture, diverse industry, and great sports moments. At the same time, life here has been shaped by events and trends that occurred on a broader scale. As a new century dawns, it becomes an opportune time to reflect upon the far-reaching experiences and impact of the twentieth century. In the early 1900s, like many American communities, greater Syracuse was transformed by the arrival of the automobile, the influx of new immigrants, and the changes brought about by the widespread availability of electricity. In the years that followed, greater Syracuse weathered the economic havoc of the Great Depression and the sacrifices of World War II, but emerged into a new era of prosperity and growth. During this period, the region adjusted to the construction of giant expressways, shopping centers, suburban housing, and the dawn of the television age. These developments left the community enjoying expanded opportunities while facing new challenges for urban revitalization.
About the Author
Dennis Connors, curator of history at the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA), has assembled a photographic album that vividly depicts the Syracuse area’s progress throughout the 1900s. Readers can walk the midway at the 1913 State Fair, peak inside a James Street mansion, and visit the breathtaking Onondaga Hotel Roof Garden. Featured photographs include the live broadcast of a radio show in 1946, local boxing sensation Carmen Basilio on the night he won his national welterweight crown in 1955, and the demolition of the Yates Hotel in 1971. These, along with over 200 other carefully selected images from the OHA collection and an insightful narrative, showcase a wealth of moments in Syracuse history that will be cherished and explored for generations to come.
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