Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

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

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Stately Streets

Stop #47

Cambridge Street

  • Built: ca. 1904
  • Architect: Unknown
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The land of what is now Cambridge Street was part of a large parcel was owned by Palmer Curtis and passed on to his daughters Harriet S. Curtis and Helen C. Walters. Helen Walters, widow of Major Alvah D. Waters, lived nearby at 1816 E. Genesee until her death in 1909. According to her obituary she “was a woman of fine presence and great executive ability and character, and assisted her father, Palmer Curtis, in the management of his lands in the eastern part of the city.”

Already on the 1892 plan of the area there is a street on the Curtis parcel called Curtis Street, but the development of the street only came later, and we do not learn of construction on the tract until 1904, when a newspaper notice of Jan. 17, 1904 announced that:

Miss Harriet S. Curtis has broken ground for a modern House in Cambridge street, Seventeenth ward, which she will build at a cost, of $7.000 for investment. It is to be a twelve-room house- with hardwood finish and all improvements. Miss Curtis will direct the construction and it is the plan of Miss Curtis to build several houses in this section of the city.

These houses, which still exist are similar in form to those built by Pennock on Allen Street, and judging form information on Sanborn insurance maps it seems that Curtis built at least five houses before 1910. At the corner of Cambridge and East Genesee, where the firehouse is today, the Bastable family had an impressive house.

Most of the lots on Cambridge Street were purchased and built upon after World War I. Colonial Revival houses were popular in the 1920s.  There are a few examples of bungalows of different types.  Already in the 1920s, but especially after World War II, Cambridge was a popular street for middle class Jewish professionals. who had moved from the area now occupied by the University Health Center and I-81. Jewish institutions including the Jewish War Veterans’ Post, the Jewish Community Center and two synagogues were situated on East Genesee St. between Westcott Street and Fellows Ave.