Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

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

Walking Tours

The Westminster Tract

The Westminster Tract is one of several large residential areas south of present-day Euclid Avenue, platted in the late 19th century and opened to development. These tracts include University Heights (1890s), The University Tract,  and Westcott Heights.  The Westminster Tract  was established around 1890 and actively promoted the following year.  The name Westminster was apparently chosen by the developers, perhaps to give the cachet of culture and history, evoking the area around Westminster Abbey and Palace of Westminster in London, seat of the government of England for almost a thousand years.  Street names in the area, especially those adjacent to the tall drumlin that occupies the center of the tract were given English names – Lancaster, Buckingham, Kensington and Westminster.

In 1891 ads for the tract in the Sunday Herald (October 4, 1891) stated:

This elegant property adjoins the land of the University Homestead Association and is BISECTED BY THE ELECTRIC CABS of the Genesee Street and Crouse Avenue Branches of the Consolidated Railroad Company.  Cars run on a seven minutes headway.

The new Westminster Tract is suitably restricted against nuisances.  It is in the midst of fine improvements and the approaches to it are unexcelled .- It has SIDEWALKS. MAGNIFICENT SHADE TREES and well made streets and avenues carefully graded, and with stone gutters. It is on high ground, overlooking the heart of the city and commanding incomparable views of Onondaga Lake. A handsome waiting-room of the Electric line has just been erected on the property. Homeseekers, builders, investors, this is the chance of a century to buy at auction prices the most highly developed and attractive property in Central New York, and the only similarly improved property near Syracuse.

The Route

This tour covers much of the southern portion of the Westminster Tract that is bordered by Lancaster Avenue on the west and Westcott Street on the east.  The northern portion includes the blocks from Euclid Avenue north to Clarendon Street; the southern portion encompasses the tall hill atop of which sits Westminster Park, and continues south to Broad Street.  This tour circles the hill on the north (Euclid Ave.), west (Lancaster Ave.), and south (parts of Buckingham Ave. and Kensington Pl.), before climbing Westminster Avenue to the summit, from which we descend back to Euclid via a steep stair of 181 steps.

©2015 Samuel Gruber. All content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)