The land had previously been settled by the Onondagas, the Keepers of the Central Fire of the Haudenosaunee (“Iroquois Confederacy”), still our good neighbors of the Onondaga Nation today.
Webster Pond We have learned much from them and enjoy many of their contributions to our culture. We join in their appreciation and care for this part of “Mother Earth” which we share.
Nowadays . . .there are still activities for all ages and interests.
“The Valley” is what we who live here call our homeplace within the City of Syracuse. We are perhaps the oldest, as well as the youngest part of the City. The Valley is also a state of mind.
First settled as “Onondaga Hollow.”
Onondaga County formed; first County Court held here.
Where the present Salina Street and Seneca Turnpike cross was the region’s main intersection.
Cemetery on Valley Drive; some early settlers are buried here.
Joint schoolhouse and Masonic Hall built. Other homes from this era still in use.
1810 - 1816
Federal Era buildings made of Onondaga limestone: The Arsenal (now a ruin); the John Gridley House; and the Academy (burned in the 1920s). Brick houses: the Samuel Forman House, the Sabine-Meachem House.
Cornerstone laid for the first formal church (Presbyterian).
First newspaper, “The Lynx,” published.
First mill built where Lee’s Feed Store now stands.
First County Fair on the Village Green which is now a City Historical Site.
First Fourth of July Celebration held on the Village Green.
Lafayette made a triumphal tour through Onondaga Hollow.
Our name was officially changed to “Onondaga Valley.”
1840s - 1940s
“The Valley” was a summer haven for folks from Syracuse. Onondaga Creek, the meadows and woods along its banks, and the ravine known as “Hopper’s Glen” were popular spots. Hotels and boarding houses flourished. The Valley Opera House was the venue for stage shows. Houses of this period still occupied include: Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Cobblestone, Victorian, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Art Deco – even mail order Sears houses.
The Syracuse Rapid Transit Company extended trolley lines, including a double-tracked line.
The Valley was annexed to the city a few months after Eastwood.
Flood control projects changed the course of Onondaga Creek, and an era seemed to close.
1950s - onward
Second and third generation families have returned to the Valley to enjoy the continuing quality of life.
Athletic Fields along Onondaga Creek and Seneca Turnpike are the site of the annual Valley Men’s Club Field Days. All year these fields and others at the schools host baseball, football, lacrosse and softball practices, games and tournaments. The Ice Rink, Valley Pool and “Dancing Under the Stars” provide winter and summer fun. There is also a multi-age playground with picnic tables.
Webster Pond, on Valley Drive, is an urban wildlife refuge for birds and animals. Here is a haven for nature-lovers and fun for duck-feeders. Open air concerts may be enjoyed during the summer.
Peaceful Walks abound in the Valley – along Coldbrook, around Webster Pond, and through Heath Park’s remnant of an old forest. These walks refresh the spirit and offer pleasant exercise.
The Bob Cecile Center, originally the local firehouse, now serves as a community meeting place, both day and evening. The annual Christmas tree lighting is an enjoyable family event.
Business. The neighborhood has a thriving business community as well as civic and athletic associations. Valley Plaza Shopping Center has a grocery store, bank, pharmacy, and an assortment of smaller specialized shops. In addition, there are numerous businesses along the South Salina Street and Valley Drive corridors continuing to Seneca Turnpike. Other businesses are located along Midland Avenue, Valley Drive, and West and East Seneca Turnpikes.
Schools. Most schools are part of the Syracuse City School District. Van Duyn Elementary School, Meachem Elementary School, McCarthy School, and Clary Middle School serve the neighborhood. A private school, Faith Heritage, is also a school option. Many children walk to school on safe sidewalks with crossing guards. Special needs busing is available through the School District.
Houses of Worship. Churches of many denominations and places of spiritual retreat dot the Valley, including the Zen Center, a place of meditation located in the Joshua Forman House at Onondaga Creek and Seneca Turnpike.
Betts Library Services. Besides books and magazines, Betts offers Audio books, VCRs, and DVDs; story times, lectures, concerts, and discussion groups; a community meeting room; computer access and training; and a continuous art gallery, including the February Quilt Show.