Jefferson Clinton Hotel
Labor Temple, 1930's
Labor Temple, today
Hogan Block, 1940's
Hogan Block, today
Syracuse Suds Factory
Originally settled in 1804, the Armory Square district began to take its current shape in the mid-19th Century. The area's proximity to the Erie Canal and major rail lines made it an ideal location for industrial operations. Most of the neighborhood's historic buildings were constructed between 1860 and 1890 as factories or warehouses.
At the turn of the century, the area was densely built up and bustling with activity. There were more than twenty hotels in the neighborhood, servicing the railroads. The Jefferson Street Armory, built around this time, is actually three buildings and was once used to quarter the cavalry and the infantry. As the railroads declined in the 1930s, the majority of industries and hotels relocated or ceased operation. Between 1940 and 1960, many buildings were vacated or demolished.
A decade later, with national emphasis on revitalizing the urban environment, the rebirth of Armory Square began.
Armory Square retains a significant and well-preserved concentration of historic buildings exhibiting a variety of architectural styles. The architectural and historic significance of the area is now recognized. In 1984, an application filed by the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, resulted in the area's designation as a National Historic District, and facilitated a new spurt of development and renovation.
For more information about the history of Armory Square, visit Armory Square: Then and Now.
In a new book by Arcadia Publishing, local authors Robert J. Podfigurny and George W. Curry use both vintage and contemporary photographs to document the dynamic transition of Armory Square from past years to today.
The book serves as not only documentation of this history, but also as a tribute to the efforts of key individuals whose vision and hard work brought back this neighborhood from a state of economic despair.
The authors hope the book will “help readers gain an appreciation for the rich, fascinating history of the Armory Square district.”
To read more and purchase the book online, please visit Arcadia Publishing. The book is also available at national book store chains as well as independent retailers in the Syracuse area, such as Eureka Crafts.