Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

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

Walking Tours

Gridded Garden

Stop #01

Victoria Place

  • Built: 1880s-1920s
  • Architect: Unknown
Map This Location

The streets on this tour represent, for the most part, the imposition of a regular grid upon the Westcott area. Victoria Place was the first street in the Hillsdale development to be settled, with four houses built by 1892.  The oldest houses on the street (and in the neighborhood) include a few Queen Anne or Princess Anne style residences, rich in decorative details. Many of these also include “colonial” or classically-inspired architectural elements such as corner pilasters and Palladian windows.

Dominant features of these houses – and most subsequent residences built in the area – are the ample front porches. The American porch is a special invention, a product of our social conduct as much as any architectural design. The porch serves in many ways. It connects the public and private spaces of our lives, but it can serve as a buffer or filter, between them, too. Unlike the more strictly urban stoop – inspired by Dutch tradition and found on row-houses in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York and elsewhere, the porch offers the option of a less exposed public perch. Even when in the city, the American porch carries with it a whiff of the country, and the street-car suburban dweller can fancy him or herself a bit of a country squire. D.G. Mitchell in his 1867 Rural Studies wrote “A country house without a porch is like a man without an eyebrow.”

Before the age of air conditioning, but even today in the Westcott neighborhood, much of summer living centered on the porch.  The porch is a transitional space; part private and part public.  Older houses like those on Victoria Place, have steps that go right to the porch and then  to the front door, so that every visitor transverses the porch. Many later houses, especially those from the 1920s, have street-facing porches but entrance is only from the inside living room.