Syracuse, a city and the county seat of Onondaga co., New York, at the head of Onondaga lake, on a creek of the same name, 147½ m. by the New York Central railroad W. by N. of Albany and 150½ m. E. of Buffalo; lat. 43° 3' N, Ion. 76° 9' W.; pop. in 1850, 22,271; in 1860, 28,119; in 1870, 43,051, of whom 13,990 were foreigners, including 5,062 Germans and 5,172 Irish; in 1875, 49,808. The main portion lies in the valley of the creek, while the E. part is on two ridges, the summits being about 200 ft. above the lake. It is very regularly laid out; but few of the streets are less than 66 ft. wide, and many of them 99 ft., well shaded, with occasional small ornamented squares. The business portion is substantially built of brick; but the great majority of the dwellings are of wood, surrounded with lawns and gardens. The court house, of Onondaga dressed limestone, besides the usual court rooms, contains the library of the court of appeals (6,000 volumes); it cost $40,000. The city hall is of brick, on the N. side of a little park.
The state armory, on Armory park (about two acres), is of brick, covers an area of 35,000 sq. ft,, and cost $85,000. The Onondaga County savings bank is a fine building of Onondaga limestone in the renaissance style, costing $300,000. The Syracuse savings bank, in course of construction, is of Ohio buff sandstone with trimmings of New Jersey red sandstone. The first Presbyterian church, the costliest in the city, is of Fulton brown stone in the middle Gothic style, with a lofty spire. Syracuse university is on an elevation in the S. E. part of the city, with diversified grounds comprising 50 acres. The building is of rough dressed limestone ashlar, with fine cut trimmings in the Italian style, is 80 ft. by 180, and three stories above the basement. On a beautiful elevation just W. of the corporate limits of the city stands the New York state asylum for idiots, an elegant structure in the Italian style erected in 1855. (See Idiocy, vol. ix., p. 174.) The principal cemetery is Oakwood, comprising about 150 acres, in a fine natural situation in the S. E. quarter of the city. It has been handsomely laid out, and contains many fine monuments. - Syracuse is an important railroad centre; 38 passenger and 60 freight trains arrive and depart daily.
The diverging lines are as follows: the Oswego and Syracuse; Syracuse, Phoenix, and Oswego; Syracuse and Northern; New York Central; Syracuse and Chenango; Syracuse, Bing-hamton, and New York; and the Auburn branch of the New York Central. The Erie canal passes through the city, and the Oswego canal runs N. from near the centre. In 1874, 110,000 tons of freight, exclusive of wood and lumber, cleared at the collector's office. The controlling interest has always been the manufacture of salt. The springs were first visited by Jesuit missionaries in 1654, who made some salt and carried it to Quebec. From this time to the settlement of the whites in 1787 it was manufactured by the Indians and was an article of traffic. The manufacture has steadily increased since the settlement. In 1797 the state took control of the springs and passed laws for the regulation of the business. From 1797 to 1806 inclusive, 78,000 bushels were made; 1807 to 1816, 267,000; 1817 to 1826, 608,000; 1827 to 1836, 1,594,000; 1837 to 1846, 3,058,000; 1847 to 1856, 5,083,000. In 1874, 6,029,300 bushels were manufactured on the reservation, mostly in the city. There are 20 salt companies, which manufacture both by solar and artificial heat, employing a vast amount of capital and hundreds of men.
There are about 90 other manufactories, producing articles in 1874 to the value of about $14,000,000. The most important are a blast furnace, Bessemer steel works, two rolling mills, three engine and boiler works, five founderies and machine shops, a bolt and nut factory, a manufactory of mower and reaper knives, a railroad journal-box factory, seven planing mills and sash, door, and blind factories, two fruit-canning establishments, an extension table factory, five manufactories of musical instruments (organs, pianos, &c), one of picture frames, one of glass, two of matches, one of agricultural implements, one of mowers and reapers, three of saddlery hardware, three of boots and shoes, seven of ready-made clothing, many of cigars, two of furniture, two of paper boxes, two of silver ware and jewelry, numerous barrel factories, seven breweries, three flouring mills, gas works, and six stone-dressing yards. There are five national banks, with an aggregate capital of $1,130,000; two state banks, capital $440,000; a trust and deposit company; two private banking houses, and three savings institutions, with upward of $7,000,000 deposits. - The city is divided into eight wards, and is governed by a mayor and a board of eight aldermen (one from each ward). It has an effective police force, a good fire department, water works, and street railroads.
The assessed value of property is $12,310,937; funded debt of the city, $1,339,000. The principal charitable institutions are the county orphan asylum, St. Vincent de Paul's asylum for children, the " Home" for aged and indigent females, St. Joseph's hospital, and the house of the Good Shepherd. There are a high school and 15 other public schools, with graded departments and an average attendance of 6,434 pupils. The central library in the high school building, a free circulating library under the direction of the board of education, contains about 12,000 volumes. - Syracuse university was established by the Methodists in 1870, and opened in 1871. The plan is that of an assemblage of colleges of both undergraduate and professional grades, and three of these have been established, viz. : the college of the liberal arts, opened in 1871, which in 1875 had 11 professors and 148 .students, and which confers degrees in the arts, philosophy, and science; the college of physicians and surgeons, established in 1872, which in 1875 had 15 professors and GO students; and the college of the fine arts, established in 1873, which in 1875 had 8 professors and 22 students. The number of students in the several preparatory departments in 1875 was 142, making a total of 372 students.
The library contains about 8,000 volumes. All the colleges are open to students of both sexes, who pursue the same courses of instruction in the same classes. While the responsibility of support and direction devolves mainly upon the Methodist Episcopal church, all sectarian differences are ignored, and attendance upon chapel exercises is not compulsory. In 1875 the assets of the university amounted to about $600,000, of which the city contributed $100,000, and the rest was derived from private subscriptions. - The Onondaga historical association, incorporated in 1863, has a library of 1,500 volumes and valuable cabinets. The young men's Christian association, organized in 1858, has an excellent library and reading room. There are three daily and eleven weekly newspapers, including two issued on Sundays. The number of churches is 41, viz.: 2 Baptist, 1 Church of Christ, 2 Congregational, 4 Episcopal, 1 Independent Christian, 3 Jewish, 5 Lutheran, 9 Methodist, 4 Presbyterian, 1 Reformed, 7 Roman Catholic, 1 Unitarian, and 1 Universalist. - The first settlement within the corporate limits was made by Ephraim Webster, an Indian trader, near the mouth of Onondaga creek, in 1787. In 1789 Asa Danforth settled in that part now known as the first ward, then called Salt point, and began the manufacture of salt.
It soon took the name of Salina, and became the most important place in the county. The first settlement in the central portion of the city was made in 1797. It increased slowly, and assumed successively the names of Bogar-dus Corners, Milan, South Salina, Cossitt's Corners, Corinth, and Syracuse (in 1824). It was incorporated as a village in 1825. The Erie canal having been completed in that year, the rival villages of Salina and Syracuse rapidly increased in population, and in 1847 were consolidated in the city of Syracuse.