The Original “Syracuse Crunch”

Photo Credit, Jim Sarosy

Photo Credit, Jim Sarosy

As the Syracuse Crunch start training camp in Lyon, France to kick off their 20th anniversary season, we thought it would be appropriate to tell the story about the other crunch with roots in Syracuse: Granola.

“The original “Syracuse Crunch” was not originally from Syracuse and it was not a sports team. In the mid 1800s, Dr. James Caleb Jackson, who was born in Manlius, developed the first recipe for granola cereal. Dr. Jackson, author and abolitionist, ran a hydropathic institute in Glen Haven, a small community located at the head of Skaneateles Lake. He devised his recipe using winter wheat grown in the area as a breakfast alternative. He called it Granula and described it as the first cold, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Dr. Jackson had opened his sanitarium as a water cure facility on November 27, 1847 and catered mostly to individuals whose treatments had been largely unsuccessful at other health facilities. The Glen Haven facility utilized what Jackson called a psycho-hygienic treatment consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables and plentiful doses of spring water along with his special granula.

In 1858, Dr. Jackson moved his facility to Dansville, NY where he continued to serve his special cereal to his patients at the facility he called “Our Home on the Hillside”. His cereal proved so popular, his son began manufacturing it for outside consumers. It was packaged in one-pound boxes and two tons a month was sold mostly by agents in Rochester and Boston. Representatives from a health institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, visited and began producing a similar product for their patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg called his cereal granula also and was subsequently sued by the Dansville group and in 1881 was forced to change the name of his product to Granola, the name more familiar to people today.”

Today in History: Famous Syracuse Writers, Part II

On Saturday, our post on Famous Syracuse Writers created quite the conversation surrounding literature coming out of, and by people from, Syracuse. We received comments, emails, and messages asking why we didn’t include a specific author or to add insight on one we already mentioned. The excellent engagement sparked us to continue to write about this topic, but we don’t want your comments to stop. If we missed an author, play, movie- whatever you know, we want to hear it. Email or leave a comment here with the information and we’ll consider adding it to a future post.

With that, here’s our second installment of Famous Syracuse Authors:

Today in history, in 1928, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Price-winning author, Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, is born in what is now known as Romania. One of Wiesel’s internationally known memoirs is based on his time spent as a prisoner at Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in occupied Poland during World War II.

As for writers from Syracuse, John Berendt was born December 5th, 1939 and is best know for his book, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, published in 1994. The book spent over four years on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list and has sold 2.7 million hardcover and 1.3 million paperback copies and was made into a movie in 1997 by Warner Brothers and, directed by Clint Eastwood. Berendt was also the editor of New York magazine from 1977 to 1979 and wrote a monthly column for Esquire from 1982 to 1994.

team-Stephen Crane - front row, center, HL, 1891

Stephen Crane (front row, center) with baseball teammates at Hall of Languages, Syracuse University, 1891.

This next writer was debated in our comment section in the previous post and isn’t from Syracuse. However, Stephen Crane does warrant some exploration, despite his questionable alumnus status from Syracuse University, as he was more focused on baseball than studying. However, Syracuse may have been more influential to the writing of The Red Badge of Courage, celebrating its 124th anniversary this October, than previously thought

The following is by by Rick Burton:

“There is little indication that when Stephen Crane enrolled at Syracuse University in January 1891, a great  American novel was percolating in his baseball-mad cranium. After all, it was still three years before he would publish his Civil War masterpiece,  The Red Badge of Courage.  Yet during his six months in Syracuse, Crane, an aspiring journalist born to a Methodist minister in Newark, New Jersey, was probably exposed to a series of sights, sounds, and sensitivities that would influence his future—and famously realistic—writing.

Crane signed up for English literature, history, and Latin classes, but acknowledged in a January 1896 letter to John Northern Hilliard, a journalist friend and author, that academia was not his forte, “I did little work in school, but confined my abilities, such as they were, to the diamond. Not that I disliked books, but the cut-and-dried curriculum of the college did not appeal to me. Humanity was a much more interesting study. When I ought to have been at recitations I was studying faces on the streets, and when I ought to have been studying my next day’s lessons I was watching the trains roll in and out of the Central Station.”

His Latin professor, Frank Smalley, later the dean of liberal arts, confirmed this sentiment in a letter to Crane’s widow in August 1900, noting that the author “devoted himself to athletic sports with ardor, especially base-ball and was our finest player.”But Crane also had a passion for writing, whether it was fiction, journalism, or poetry. While his early work received modest praise, it was The Red Badge of Courage that would place Crane in the same breath with such noted literary giants of the time as Mark Twain, Henry James, Jack London, and Edith Wharton.

However, new evidence, drawn from research at SU Library’s Special Collections Research Center and the University Archives may reveal just how important Syracuse University, its geography, and baseball were to the creation of a book still selling more than a century after its release. In fact, in a November 1895 letter to the editor of Leslie’s Weekly, Crane wrote, “When I was at school, few of my studies interested me, and as a result I was a bad scholar. They used to say at Syracuse University, where, by the way, I didn’t finish the course, that I was cut out to be a professional base-ball player. And the truth of the matter is that I went there more to play base-ball than to study.”

And have fun. The 1891 Onondagan offers six distinct references to Crane, noting he not only played baseball and pledged DU, but also served as the alumni association secretary and treasurer of Claverack College, a quasi-military boarding school he attended from 1888-90. Crane also captained the DU cricket club, served as a member of the DU winter coasting club, and joined an eating group called the ‘Toothpick Club.'”

This Week in History:

imagesOn October 2nd, 1959, the Twilight Zone air for the first time, fueling the imagination of the old and young in an age of change and the race into space. For those who missed our post on Saturday, the series was created and written by Syracuse native Rod Serling and ran until June of 1964. But this isn’t the only important historic premier to come out of Syracuse.

This Thursday October 2nd, 2014, the premier of “Possessing Harriet,” written by Syracuse Stage dramaturge Kyle Bass, will take place at the Redhouse Theater beginning at 7:30pm. The play, commissioned by Onondaga Historical Association and directed by Robert Moss, will tell the story of how fugitive slave Harriet Powell inspired women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.


The Syracuse House where Harriet Powell stayed and where Tom Leonard worked.

Harriet Powell came to Syracuse with the Mississippi family who owned her in October of 1839. During their stay to visit friends in the area, they lodged in a suite of rooms at the very fashionable Syracuse House hotel near Clinton Square. Working at the hotel was a free African American Syracuse resident named Tom Leonard, who also happened to be a “stationmaster” on the Underground Railroad. On the evening of October 7, 1839, with the help of Tom, and a host of other local abolitionists, both white and black, Harriet made her daring escape from bondage and began her harrowing journey to freedom.

One of the safe houses to which Harriet was taken, was the mansion of famous abolitionist Gerrit Smith in Peterboro, New York. At the time, Smith was hosting his cousin, 23-year-old Elizabeth Cady (who, as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, later became one of the most well-known abolitionists and women’s rights activists in history). Smith’s introduction of Elizabeth and Harriet led to an emotional private discussion between the two women who, though of the same age, came from drastically different backgrounds. Though no details of that discussion were ever revealed, both women later credited the conversation as one that changed both of their lives.

Event info:

October 2, 7:30, Redhouse Arts Center, 201 S. West St., Syracuse. Tickets are $40.00 each and can be purchased through the Redhouse Box Office only. Online at: or call (315) 362-2785. The cost includes a reception at the Redhouse Café after the play.

Today in History: Syracuse’s Famous Writers


Rod Serling, 1959.

Yesterday, famed poet T.S Elliot was born in 1888, which got the OHA staff thinking- who are some famous writers from Syracuse? As fate would have it, not only did we find a number of writers and authors, but one of them was born on this day in history.

Syracuse banker and writer Edward Noyes Westcott is born today in 1846 and is best known for his posthumously published novel,  David Harum: A Story of of American Life (1898). Westcott’s novel was immensely popular, despite being denied by six publishers before being accepted for publication by the D. Appleton & Company.

As the staff’s discussion moved into the 20th century, we started coming across names we were a little more familiar with, one of which is Rod Serling, the creator/writer of the classic television series, “The Twilight Zone.” Serling was born in Syracuse on Christmas Day in 1924 and won multiple awards over the course of his career including six Emmys, two Writers Guild of America Awards, and a Golden Globe.

Syracuse has also seen its fair share of notable writers come through Syracuse University, which include Mary Karr (a current professor), Jay McInerney (author of American Psycho), and the late Raymond Carver, who was an English professor known for the sign outside of his home on Maryland Avenue which read, “Writers At Work.”

Inside the OHA Collection: The Story Behind the Object


If you ever wondered where certain objects in our collection and exhibits come from, than this story is for you.

The mahogany sideboard being used in OHA’s Gambrinus Gallery is originally from the estate of Fred Hazard. It was part of a dining room set belonging to Dora and Frederick (Fred) Hazard. A photograph of the Hazard dining room at Upland farms shows the sideboard in its location in the home. The room design was eclectic in nature, keeping with the overall appearance of the home, with English country home and Classical references. The room had horizontal paneled wainscot, high dado-picture rail and a coved ceiling. The ceiling was ornamented in stencil work that depicted a trim with stylized botanical forms, fleur-de-lis in the cove, and a ceiling broken into panels with a Grecian olive-leaf border. The room had a fireplace with an elaborate marble surround and custom over-mantel with built-ins. The room was lit with Rococo-inspired wall sconces, each with three fabric shaded fixtures.


A dining room table and chairs were also in the room. The trim, top edge, and feet on the sideboard match the dining room table and it appears as if the suite of furniture was a matching set. The overall design of the set, like the room, is eclectic in nature. The table and sideboard have claw-feet and some classical features and ornaments. The chairs in the room were Georgian revival.

Within the provenance record, there is a paragraph that has some conjecture about the origin of the sideboard, mentioning the possibility of it coming from one of several Rhode Island homes owned by the Hazard family. This does not seem plausible for several reasons.

The first problem with the provenance and tying the furniture to a Rhode Island origin is mobility. Fred lived in two homes prior to moving into Upland Farms and before that, he was a boarder at a couple local hotels. According to Syracuse City Directories, his residences were as follows: 1884 Boards at the Globe Hotel, 1885 Boards at Genesee & Filbert, 1886-1889 Belle Isle Rd., 1890-1892 Milton Ave., and 1893 Upland Farm. It is possible that Hazard acquired furniture from move to move to move but it seems unlikely. It is more likely that only select pieces might have moved with him and others were left with previous homes, as was customary in that time.

The second problem with the provenance is the circumstances of the homes mentioned and Fred’s relation to them. The homes “Vaucluse” and “Holly House” are each mentioned.

Thomas Hazard, Fred’s uncle, lived at “Vaucluse”. Vaucluse was located in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, not at Newport as is stated in the provenance. There is no record of Fred ever living at Vaucluse. Thomas died, in 1888 and the estate would have passed to his sole surviving son, Barclay. Thomas’ papers survive and there is a lot of info on Vaucluse so this could be researched more but it seems unlikely that at that time furniture would have passed from uncle to nephew (Vaucluse to Upland Farm).

Rowland III, Fred’s brother, lived at “Holly House”. Holly House was built by Rowland III in 1892. It was designed by McKim Meade and White. Given the timing of construction, it seems impossible that any furniture would have been transferred from Holly House to Upland Farm.

Finally, Rowland II, Fred’s father, lived at “Oakwoods”, in Peace Dale. Oakwoods is not mentioned in the Provenance, though it seems to be the most likely place where furniture would be transported from as this was Fred’s childhood home. Since Rowland II lived into the early 20th century, it seems odd that Fred would have brought furniture with him from his father’s home, because he was still alive at the time.

Given the similarity of wood species that appears to be used throughout the rest of the dining room and the eclectic nature of the furniture and how well it seems to relate to the home. I think that it is more likely that the furniture was either designed specifically for the room in which it rested or it was selected and purchased for that purpose. Ultimately, it seems possible that the sideboard was manufactured in Syracuse and even designed by the home’s architect, J. L. Silsbee. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about Silsbee’s practice at the time or the design work he did for the Hazards to know for certain.

It graced the dining room at “Upland Farm,” and thereafter was moved to Mr. Martin Knapp’s home, “Old Trees,” in Cazenovia. The sideboard was given to the Century Club by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Knapp. Mr. Knapp was the son of Martin H. Knapp. In 1974 the Century Club donated the sideboard to Onondaga Historical Association, where it is now being used in the Gambrinus Gallery to house beer memorabilia.

Christopher Payne, Architect


Today in History: The 1960 Presidential Campaign

Nixon's Campaign visits Syracuse, May 1960.

Nixon’s Campaign visits Syracuse, May 1960.

Today in 1960, the first ever debate between major party presidential candidates (Vice President Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy) is shown on television. Kennedy was a bit more at ease in front of the camera. However, Nixon, who refused to wear makeup, appeared nervous and was sweating throughout the debate.

Before the debate, in May of 1960, one of Nixon’s campaign stops was Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport (photograph, left). Nixon would go on to lose the election in one of the closest elections in U.S history.

Illustrated Lecture-The Onondaga Arsenal: Reflections on the War of 1812 in Memory and Loss

c1880-view-1-jpg-1d85531d5a40445dIn 1812, the State of New York finished a stone building along the Seneca Turnpike in Onondaga County, just in time for America’s second war against the British. The Onondaga Arsenal was an active military storehouse throughout the War of 1812. After the war, the arsenal fell into disuse. Its slow decay is documented in dozens of photographs and paintings, as the building became a noted and romanticized ruin. For decades the community expressed interest in preserving the site, while at the same time watching it slowly disappear.

Today, only a corner of the building remains, largely invisible and forgotten. OHA Curator of History Dennis Connors will offer an illustrated lecture, reviewing its history and reflecting on how its sad story mirrors America’s memories about the War of 1812.

September 28, 2:00PM, OH Museum Auditorium, 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, (315) 428-1864–free and open to the public.