Today in history: March Madness is Born, Kick off of Men’s East Regionals in Syracuse


Today in history, Oregon defeated The Ohio State University 46–33 on this day in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Below are some of S.U’s team in 1939.


Syracuse University men’s basketball team, which has been around since 1900-1901, made it’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 1957, losing in the round of the “Elite Eight” to North Carolina 67-58. 46 years later, the Syracuse Orangemen won the tournament defeating two number one teams in Oklahoma and Texas before winning the championship game against number two Kansas.


Tonight, the Men’s East Tournament kicks off in at Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome as NC State takes on Louisville followed by Michigan State against Oklahoma.

This Week in Civil War History: Onondaga County Soldier Hears News of Confederates Losing Ground

Sherman and his staff, 1865

A few weeks before the Civil War came to an end, Southern surrender began to seem inevitable for Confederate General Robert E. Lee, as he found himself and his army backed into a corner, one that included the Union’s top two army commanders,

“I fear now it will be impossible to prevent a junction between Grant and Sherman, nor do I deem it prudent that this army should maintain its position until the latter shall approach too near.”

This was part of a letter send to the Confederate President Jefferson Davis on March 26th, 1865 explaining the position his army was in and how one way or another, he would need to face both Sherman and Grant’s armies. A few days earlier, news had broken within the ranks of the Union Army of good news brewing as the Confederate forces began to become worn down. David W. Nelson of the 117th NY State Volunteers explains in his journal…

63rd entry 21 March: Start this morning at ½ past six.  We now close upon Sherman’s army and pass large members of his Foragers also some work…..up by him.  We halt at one o’clock and go into camp.. Have fresh pork for supper.  It is said that Sherman has force of Rebels in a tight place. There is heavy firing al the afternoon.  Rain is falling tonight and ahs been for several hours.

64th entry 22 March: The weather is fair this morning with high winds.  We are encamped about ½ mile from the Neuse River. Sherman’s pontoons are being put over today. The Rebels are reported falling back. The colored men go over the river to put up works.

Rebel obstructions on the Neuse River



Museum Week: The History of OHA Buildings, 1863 – 2015

10. c.1970s

Onondaga Historical Association has called a number of buildings home over its 152 existence. Today, for Museum Week, we want to cover all of the places OHA has resided since 1863…

Women’s History Month: 20th Century Women Architects Constructed More Than Infrastructure; Built Legacy for the Future


American architects were virtually all male until the late 1800s when a few women began to practice.  By 1958, females still comprised only one percent of registered architects.  It did not climb past 20 percent until the 21st century.  Locally two women stand out as pioneers:

Marjorie WrightMarjorie Wright, a 1918 architecture graduate of Syracuse University, worked as an associate in the office of her father, Gordon Wright, as a “draftsman” specializing in landscape and interior design. Wright and his partner Charles R. Ellis were responsible for buildings such as the First Baptist Church and Mizpah Hotel (photographed above) and the McMillan Book Company.

Helen Gillespie-Helen Gillespie was a 1930 graduate of Cornell’s Architecture School. In addition to residential architecture, she was noted for several libraries in Central New York, including the Betts, Hazard, Paine, Petit and Soule branches in Syracuse

Women’s History Month: Happy Birthday to Matilda Joslyn Gage


Matilda Joslyn Gage was born on March 24, 1826, in Cicero, New York. An only child, she was raised in a household dedicated to antislavery. Her father, Dr. Hezekiah Joslyn, was a nationally known abolitionist, and the Joslyn home was a station on the Underground Railway.

In 1845 she married merchant Henry Hill Gage, with whom she would have four children. They eventually settled in Fayetteville, New York, and their home became a station on the Underground Railroad. Although occupied with both family and antislavery activities, Gage was drawn to a new cause: the woman’s suffrage movement. Her life’s work would become the struggle for the complete liberation of women.

Unable to attend the first Woman’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848, Gage attended and addressed the third national convention in Syracuse in 1852. She became a noted speaker and writer on woman’s suffrage.

During the Civil War, Gage was an enthusiastic organizer of hospital supplies for Union soldiers. In 1862 she predicted the failure of any course of defense and maintenance of the Union that did not emancipate the slaves.

Gage, along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and served in various offices of that organization (1869-1889). She helped organize the Virginia and New York state suffrage associations, and was an officer in the New York association for twenty years. From 1878 to 1881 she published the National Citizen and Ballot Box, the official newspaper of the NWSA.

In 1871 Gage was one of the many women nationwide who unsuccessfully tried to test the law by attempting to vote. When Susan B. Anthony successfully voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested, Gage came to her aid and supported her during her trial. In 1880 Gage led 102 Fayetteville women to the polls in 1880 when New York State allowed women to vote in school districts where they paid their taxes.

During the 1870s Gage spoke out against the brutal and unfair treatment of Native Americans. She was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation and given the name Ka-ron-ien-ha-wi (Sky Carrier). Inspired by the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy’s form of government, where “the power between the sexes was nearly equal,” this indigenous practice of woman’s rights became her vision.

Gage coedited with Stanton and Anthony the first three volumes of the six-volume The History of Woman Suffrage(1881-1887). She also authored the influential pamphlets Woman as Inventor (1870), Woman’s Rights Catechism(1871), and Who Planned the Tennessee Campaign of 1862? (1880).

Discouraged with the slow pace of suffrage efforts in the 1880s, and alarmed by the conservative religious movement that had as its goal the establishment of a Christian state, Gage formed the Women’s National Liberal Union in 1890, to fight moves to unite church and state. Her book Woman, Church and State (1893) articulates her views.

While Gage remained a supporter of woman’s rights throughout her life, she spent her elder years concentrating on religious issues.

Gage died in Chicago, Illinois, on March 18, 1898. Her lifelong motto appears on her gravestone in Fayetteville:

“There is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven; that word is Liberty.”

Today in History (Part II) – Syracuse in Space

Musgrave, anchored on the end of the Canadarm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope to install protective covers on the magnetometers as part of STS-61.

Today in 1965, the first spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov left his Voskhod 2 capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20 minutes, secured by a tether. Does Onondaga County have any astronauts? Well, they aren’t from here, but they did attend Syracuse University.

Commander Eileen Collins
Commander Eileen Collins

The first, is Eileen Collins, which gives us an opportunity to celebrate Women’s History Month, too. Born in Elmira, New York in 1956, she graduated from Syracuse University in 1978 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics/Science. Following graduation from Syracuse, she was one of four women chosen for undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Collins was selected to be an astronaut in 1990 and first flew the Space Shuttle as pilot in 1995 aboard STS-63, which involved a rendezvous between Discovery and the Russian space station Mir. In recognition of her achievement as the first female Shuttle Pilot, she received the Harmon Trophy (awarded annually to the world’s outstanding aviator, aviatrix, and aeronaut). She was also the pilot for STS-84 in 1997. In total, she recorded over 38 days in space.

Story Musgrave
Story Musgrave

The second, is Story Musgrave. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1935, he graduated from Syracuse University in 1958 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics. Before going to school, Musgrave was an aviation electricians and instrument technician in the United States Marine Corps. He was also a aircraft crew chief while on assignment in Korea, Japan, and Hawaii. Musgrave’s space experience began in 1967 when he was selected as a scientist-astronaut. However, he wouldn’t make it into space on his flight on April 4th, 1983 on bord ther STS-6. In total, he recorded over 53 days in space.

Today in History (Part I): “Happy Birthday, Mr. President”


Today in 1837, President Stephen “Grover” Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. In 1841, the Cleveland family moved to Fayetteville, New York and he would go on to be the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms in the office. Cleveland served as the 22nd president from 1885 to 1889 and as the 24th president from 1893 to 1897.

Grover spent much of his childhood in Fayetteville, attending Fayetteville Academy and the Clinton Liberal Academy. However, he would be in and out of school due to his family’s financial situation. The first time his father pulled him out of school, Grover was placed in a two year mercantile apprenticeship program. The second time surrounded his father’s death in 1853 as Grover hoped to help support his family.