The Old Neighborhood Part IIStart Tour
The tour begins at the intersection of Westcott and South Beech Street and explores the blocks immediately to the west that lie between South Beech Street and Thornden Park. From Greenwood Place the route enters and crosses the Park to visit some of Thornden’s outstanding features. The area immediately to the southwest of the Westcott Commercial District, including the Hopper Tract which now comprises Avondale and Trinity Place and Judson Street, was developed in the 1890s, with some building continuing to the 1920s.
At Westcott and South Beech Streets, we face a community mural, sponsored by the Westcott East Neighborhood Association (WENA) in 1997 and painted by local artist Michael Moody on the south wall of the one story commercial building where a small garden and bicycle rack were installed (the late Tony DeLuca, former proprietor of former Abdo’s grocery, is represented in the Moody mural). This one-story functional building replaced a two-story wood frame structure that housed the Robert B. Featherly Drugstore, one of the first businesses in the district.
Across from the mural, on the south side of the intersection is a small grassy knoll which has recently been re-landscaped and given unique sculptural benches. The spot has been unofficially christened by the local neighborhood association “Huckster Hill” and as one of the few public green spaces in the immediate area, is quickly becoming a popular Westcott gathering. From this small oasis we’ll wend our way to much bigger Thornden Park, the green lungs of the Greater Westcott Neighborhood, and one of the regions premier historic landscapes.
The streets we walk on this tour include a selection of some of the oldest houses in the neighborhood, but also a good mix of house types the demonstrate, as one heads north on Greenwood Place, the changing tastes of several decades of early 20th-century settlement, culminating near the entrance gates to Thornden Park – which became a public property in 1921 – a mixed group of bungalow and Colonial Revival houses. Along the way, a look down the series of small streets – Avondale, Trinity, Judson and Bristol – introduce some of the least known little streets in the area, full of fine houses and some counter-culture history. A jog from Greenwood to the east end of Judson Street at South Beech Street takes us to United Baptist Church, one of the oldest and finest churches on Syracuse’s Eastside.
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