razing means loss of another landmark
October 22, 2005
Post Standard Columnist
My colleague Dennis Nett returned from a picture
assignment the other day with a timely comment: "It's a lot easier to
tear 'em down than it is to build 'em."
You're right on, Dennis.
We've lost another city landmark.
This week, Syracuse University demolished the home
Syracuse architect Albert L. Brockway designed for himself on a
beautiful overlook to the city in 1912. No. 403 Comstock, in 93 years,
had been a private home, a university living center, a sorority house
and lately, a fraternity house.
Kevin Morrow, speaking for SU, said the school needs the
lot to put up a new 349-space parking garage to replace parking on
University Place, the site of a new Life Sciences Complex.
He said SU bought the house from Theta Chi fraternity
last July, in a property swap that moved the group to 711 Comstock. Two
other old homes owned by other Greek societies in the western half of
the lot were torn down before.
The original news release on the new garage from SU
mentioned only "contractors have begun preparing the site for
Albert Brockway was a former SU professor of
architecture and a consultant to the state architect's office who began
designing homes and public buildings in his adopted hometown in the
1890s. He chaired Syracuse's first Planning Commission in 1918.
No, he was not the namesake of SU's Brockway Hall
dormitory; that was Perle Brown Brockway, a 1908 graduate of the
university's medical college. Both Brockways were from Utica.
The architect's commissions included a home for the Dunn
family next door to his at 401 Comstock.
Still standing are Sweet Memorial Building in Phoenix,
Rome Post Office (now the historical society), the state
fair Horticultural and Pure Foods Buildings; New York City's St. Luke's
Hospital; and Peck Hall (recently the charter school).
Also, the Central High School addition, Bank of Syracuse
(Hanover Square) as well as homes in Syracuse for the Nottinghams,
Dousts, Soules, Holdens, Schoenecks and Schopfer Court on James Street.
Albert Brockway died in 1933. The Comstock Avenue home
then was occupied by the Crocketts, Salmons and Eckels until it was sold
to Iota Alpha Pi sorority, which had No. 403 from 1946-1972. SU bought
the place for Whitman, a cottage for women. In 1986, it was purchased by
A helpful reader, Bruce Laidlaw, an attorney and SU
alumnus, called me about the Brockway house last week. He pointed out
this block, bounded by East Adams and Marshall streets and Ostrom
Avenue, once held other fraternities and sororities, including his own
house, Delta Upsilon.
DU, we recall, once was writer Stephen Crane's place,
when he was an SU student for a year. It's now a university office and
not involved in the present development, according to Kevin Morrow.
Bruce Laidlaw is sad to see the Brockway home gone. "It
was gorgeous," he says.
© 2005 The Post-Standard.