Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

A vibrant eastside neighborhood rich in history, culture, food and entertainment


Hidden Gems of the Westcott Neighborhood

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Written by Grant Johnson

June 30, 2015

While the diverse and plentiful offerings of the Westcott neighborhood are surely no longer a secret to the outside world, the many houses, businesses and public spaces still offer some surprises and interesting histories perhaps not readily apparent to the casual observer, or even longtime area resident.

The business district of Westcott contains a storied history, from the early twentieth century origins of the Westcott Theater to the many storefronts that have housed everything from grocery and hardware stores, to bookstores and tax preparers.  How many recall that Alto Cinco began in a single storefront (where the kitchen was recently built out) as a take-out focused business twenty years ago?  Or that in decades past the Agora, or Good Earth Cafe existed in the same space as Recess Coffee?  What other businesses could we support in the neighborhood to help thrive so we can see them in another ten or twenty years?  What would you like to see make a comeback, or has never been offered in the neighborhood?

Huckster Hill, at the intersection of Westcott and South Beech Streets, has long been an informal gathering place at the southern end of the business district.  Once a place where fruits and vegetables were sold from a cart by “Huckster Jack” just a few decades ago, Huckster Hill was transformed in 2015 by neighborhood artists and residents into a vibrant and engaging public space, replete with benches and creative lighting, contributing to the legacy of this important gateway to the neighborhood commercial district.

The Gustav Stickley House (438 Columbus Avenue) is, at first glance, just another of many turn-of-the-century Queen Anne-style homes located along the side streets in the Westcott neighborhood.  However, the uninitiated visitor may not realize that this is a home of not only local importance, but one of national historical significance as its interior contains the first manifestation of an American Arts and Crafts interior as popularized by Stickley in the early twentieth century.


These are but a few of the hidden gems of the greater Westcott neighborhood.  What are yours?  What secrets do the houses, streets and storefronts have to reveal?  What future gems from the Westcott neighborhood could we be talking about in twenty or even a hundred years?

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