White Family Left Legacy in Syracuse

Preserved images recall one of city’s most influential families

Thursday, March 2, 2006

By Dick Case Staff writer

The White family left many marks on the Syracuse community, including White Memorial Building (1876) downtown, Hamilton White house (1842) on Fayette, Firefighters Memorial Park, the White monument in the park, Lyndon golf course, Ernest White Hall of the SU College of Law and other landmarks.

Joe Zlotnik, a retired Post-Standard colleague, knew he had a piece of history in the family in a colored photograph his father, the late Tony Zlotnik, a former Herald-Journal printer, found in an old house on the golf course property 40 years ago. It's a framed likeness of Horace White, Syracuse lawyer, state legislator and Republican governor of New York in the early 1900s.

The photograph from the Brady Studio in New York City shows Horace as a young man. A later picture from The Post-Standard library was taken before his death in 1943.

Horace White (Left) as a young man, circa 1890. The Original image from Brady Studios in New York City was turned into a 7-inch-by-9-inch colored chromolithograph. Joe Zlotnik donated this image with its frame to Syracuse University in 2005. Another copy was given to the Onondaga Historical Association. On the right is a newspaper photo of how White looked in the 1940s.

We also show a vintage photo of the White home, demolished in the 1960s, at 842 James St.

The Whites were active in political, business and social life in Syracuse for decades. The land first developed by Ernest I. White: Horace's brother, to expand Onondaga County Club across Route 5, had been a family farm. One White house remains on the property.

The Hamilton White house on South Townsend Street was built by Hamilton Sr. It later was the home of his son, also Hamilton, an early city fire commissioner, who had his own fire station next to the home. He died while fighting a fire in 1899.

Hamilton was Gov. Horace White's cousin. Horace's home on James Street - where he lived until his death - yielded another surprise in 1962, prior to demolition, when some of his personal papers were found abandoned in the carnage house. That material is part of the Special Collections at SU's Bird Library, where Joe Zlotnik donated the photograph found by his father.

© 2006 The Post-Standard.