neighborhood was Syracuse's first residential local historic district.
Here is found the City's most beautiful and significant collection of 20th
century residential design. The homes represent some of the finest works by
Syracuse architects and builders, including Ward Wellington Ward, Dwight
James Baum, Paul Hueber, Bonta and Taylor, Archimedes Russell, and Harry
The architectural and landscaping
diversity of Sedgwick Farms are its hallmark. Along winding roadways,
cul-de-sacs, and city streets are wonderful examples of Italianate, Colonial
Revival, and Tudor Revival styles.
In 1977, when the area was first
established as the City's largest preservation district, it was necessary to
document the basis for this designation. The following information is
excerpted from the Report of the Landmark Preservation Board.
of the Preservation District
Sedgwick-James-Highland [sic] Preservation District contains approximately
285 residences, one church, Lincoln Junior High School and a number of
business establishments (several of which are residential conversions). The
district divides itself into three distinct but contiguous sections:
Upper James Street, the original Sedgwick Farms Land Tract and a contiguous
length of Highland Avenue with its side streets - Oak and DeWitt. The three
areas are unified by the continuity of their architectural styles and
neighborhood character. The residences in these areas are among the finest
in the City and approximately 95% of them were built in the first three
decades of the Twentieth Century imparting a distinctive architectural
flavor to the district of Tudor, Colonial Revival and Spanish Revival
James Streets, laid out in the 19th Century, parallel each other, forming a
southwest-northeast axis for the district. Extending north from the center
section of this axis is the Sedgwick Farms Tract.
Avenue area of the District extends from the western district boundary at
Graves Street along Highland Avenue to DeWitt Street where the district
boundary expands to encompass the original Sedgwick Farms Tract.
Highland Avenue parallels James Street running for a total length of three
blocks from the intersection with Highland Street (at the head of the old
Rose Hill cemetery) to DeWitt Street. Highland also intersects with Graves
and Oak Streets.
constitutes the oldest developed portion of the district and contains the
district's most striking 19th Century homes. Of particular note is the
grouping of four Italianate homes mid-block between Oak and Graves Street on
the north side of Highland Avenue The Lyman Stephens House at 213 Highland
Avenue was constructed c. 1856 and is one of the finest remaining pre-Civil
War mansions in Syracuse It is of the Italianate villa style in its form and
massing, but exhibits a Romanesque Revival influence in its arcaded corbel
table beneath the wide, bracketed eaves. The interior of the house
contains many intricate plasterwork details and is presently maintained in
was a prosperous salt manufacturer and Mayor of Syracuse in 1855, also built
the three houses immediately to the west of his residence in 1874. These
homes, which Stephens constructed for his daughters and their families, are
more characteristic of the Italian villa style popular in the last quarter
of the nineteenth century. The house at 209 Highland retains its original
entry porch, while its "twins" to the west have been modified through the
addition of larger porches at the turn of the century. Together these four
residences form a unique grouping which is not duplicated elsewhere in
homes along Highland Avenue date principally from the turn of the century
and represent Tudor, Colonial and Georgian Revival styles. The J. E. Masters
House at 217 Highland was constructed in 1867 and is a simple, but intact
Italian villa home (occupying a key corner location (intersection of
Highland and DeWitt Streets).
which intersects with Highland Avenue, contains several properties north and
south of that intersection which fall within the District boundary. This
portion of Oak Street retains its early twentieth century residential
character for the most part, although several residences have been converted
to other uses (principally business and professional offices).
note are 526 Oak Street which is an excellent example of the Georgian
Revival Style featuring Ionic pilasters and intricate dentilation beneath
the cornice and eaves of the front pediment and 528 Oak Street which is more
Neo-Classic in influence with an impressive two-story portico.
residences on this portion of Oak Street also reflect Georgian or
Neo-Classic elements popular for larger residences at the beginning of this
which forms a T intersection with Highland Avenue at its eastern junction
continues the pattern of large older residences constructed between 1900 and
1930. DeWitt also forms the western boundary of the original Sedgwick Farms
Tract. Lower DeWitt Street (near its intersection with Highland) contains
the larger and more pretentious homes built prior to 1920.
As the street
continues northward along the western edge of the proposed Preservation
District, the homes are smaller in size, but characterized by the larger
lots found in the Sedgwick Farms Tract. Georgian and Classic Revival style
homes are found on DeWitt Street as well as a number of residences showing a
Tudor influence. Among the most notable of these structures is the William
B. Gere residence at 112 DeWitt Street (northeast corner of DeWitt and James
Streets) which is a large Georgian style manor with hipped roof and dormers.
The house, which was constructed in 1912, marks the entrance to the
Preservation District as one travels east on James Street.
The Edward B.
Salmon residence at 308 DeWitt Street was designed by Syracuse architect
Ward W. Ward and constructed in 1915. Ward designed a number of residences
in the Sedgwick Farms area. He is considered by many to be one of the finest
local architects of the period. The Salmon residence is a particularly
distinctive example of Ward's design ability as reflected in its English
cottage style with a unique two-story, arcaded staircase window.
Farms Tract which makes up the bulk of the proposed Preservation District is
unique not only for the large number of fine early twentieth century
residences which characterize the tract, but also for its contribution to
residential land planning. The Sedgwick Farms Land Company, which developed
the tract, between 1900 and 1925 employed a unique curvilinear street
pattern which departed from the "traditional" block-grid system in use in
Syracuse from the early 19th century.
within the tract were also much larger than those employed elsewhere in the
city with most lots measuring approximately 75 ft. (frontage) x 200 ft.
(depth). (Typical city lots developed just outside of the tract at the same
time and employing the standard grid measured 44 ft. x 115 ft.). These
larger lots coupled with the more irregular street pattern provided a
feeling of spaciousness not found elsewhere in the City.
was designed as the principal entry to the Tract from James Street. The
grassy, tree-lined median on Sedgwick Drive provides a parkway effect which
not only provides visual excitement, but serves to direct traffic through
architectural character of Sedgwick Farms is again reflective of the style
and construction of residences popular during the early part of this
century. Many fine examples of Georgian, Neo-Classic, Spanish-Colonial and
Tudor styles are represented here. Dwight
James Baum and
Ward W. Ward, two
of the more prominent local architects, designed homes in the Tract.
fine individual residences such as the Tracy House at 105 Sedgwick Drive
(re-designed in the Georgian style by D J.Baum in 1918) and the George Felt
residence at 109 Wendell Terrace (designed in the Spanish Colonial style)
are found in Sedgwick Farms, it is in the total composition that the
architectural importance of the district is most evident. The pattern of
streets, the use of landscape design and view and the varied yet harmonious
architecture define the early twentieth century character of the district.
streets which compose the Sedgwick Farms Tract include Sedgwick Drive which
forms the main entrance to the tract and major north-south drive, Brattle
Road which begins at its intersection with DeWitt Street and runs to the
northeast, Rugby Road which parallels the northern boundary of the original
Sedgwick Farms Tract, Wendell Terrace and Farmer Street. Hampshire Road is
wholly contained within the original Sedgwick Farms Tract.
pre-dates the planning and construction of the remainder of the tract by the
Sedgwick Farms Land Company. It originally served as a private drive for the
few farm houses located adjacent to it. It retains much of its original
character and appearance, and is a pleasant contrast to other residential
streets in the Tract.
Street portion of the proposed Sedgwick-Highland-James Preservation District
contains properties fronting on James Street (both north and south of the
street) from DeWitt Street easterly to the intersection of James Street and
Teall Avenue. This section of James Street also contains a variety of
residences constructed principally between 1900 and l930 (several of which
have been converted to businesses). The homes here are an extension of the
nineteenth century mansions which once lined lower James Street until the
destruction of most of them after 1950.
Spanish Colonial, Tudor and Georgian Revival sty1es are well represented.
The former Benjamin Chase residence at 1111 James by D J. Baum is one of the
finer Spanish Colonial homes in the city. It serves as a transition point
between Sedgwick Farms and upper James Street, and demonstrates the
architectural unity of the two areas. Other residences along James Street
exemplify this continuity including the Edward Weinheimer
residence executed in an eclectic manner with Tudor influences in 1923 at
1419 James Street, and the smaller William Crocker Residence at 1301 James
Street (corner of James and Sedgwick) with its simple, picturesque cottage
style. Together, these and the other residences along this portion of James
Street continue the architectural theme set on Highland Avenue and in
of the Preservation District
Sedgwick-Highland-James Preservation District is significant to the Syracuse
community for several reasons. Firstly, the district is illustrative of the
residential development of the city for an eighty year period extending from
the late 1850's to the mid 1930's. Changes in architectural tastes, land
planning and life style of the residents during this period continue to be
reflected in the district. In addition, the proposed district was and
continues to be the home of many prominent business, civic and governmental
Sedgwick-Highland-James survives as one of the most important, intact
collections of fine residential architecture in the city. Many of Syracuse's
most distinguished examples of picturesque Cottage, Spanish Colonial
Revival, Tudor and Georgian Revival Style residences are represented here.
These homes additionally reflect many of the best works of Syracuse
architects and builders of the period. It would be impossible today to
duplicate the design sensitivity, craftsmanship and skill of the majority of
the structures within the district.
proposed district exemplifies an early and successful experiment in
environmental design which continues as a model today. The architectural
compatibility of the structures within the district is heightened by the
irregular street pattern, larger building lots and sensitive landscape
design. The proposed Sedgwick-Highland-James Preservation District reflects
the eclectic character of a fine late nineteenth and early twentieth century
neighborhood. The district's visual appeal and continuity of architectural
expression impart a unique identity to the Sedgwick-Highland-James area and
makes a significant contribution to the community as a whole.
institution within the neighborhood since its inception has been the
Sedgwick Farm Tennis Club. The Club, now located at 422 Dewitt Street, was
formed in the 1890s and was originally located in a small structure on the
site of the present 202 Sedgwick Drive. In 1909 a new clubhouse designed by
prominent local architect
James A. Randall was constructed on the present
site. The current "attractive modern colonial" building which replaced the
second clubhouse dates from the early 1950s and was designed by architect
Barbara Lewis. [This information was derived from a 6/22/52 Post-Standard
article at the Onondaga Historical Association.]
that the 1908 city atlas shows no structure at the 202 Sedgwick Drive
address yet there is a building at the 422 Dewitt Street location which
matches the size, shape, and placement of the clubhouse there on the 1924
atlas.] In the collections of the Onondaga Historical Association is a
promotional brochure prepared by the Sedgwick Farm Land Company and entitled
Sedgwick Farm . This brochure provides some interesting insights into the
development and design philosophies of the neighborhood's founders. In
addition to a brief history of the property and the Land Company, thumbnail
photographs of James Street and houses already constructed, and descriptions
of the health benefits of living away from manufacturing sites and
commercial transportation routes it includes the following statements.
places which may be good in themselves, but are surrounded by unattractive
outlooks, the environments of Sedgwick Farm are most desirable. Along both
James and Dewitt Streets many of the handsomest houses in the city have been
built, a few of which are shown in this book. These, together with the many
beautiful homes already on the property, assure a good neighborhood.
plans have taken into account everything which may tend to the ultimate
beauty, healthfulness and protection of Sedgwick Farm. The carefully placed
streets, dividing the property into attractive sections and lots, together
with a perfect sewer system for the entire section, have already guaranteed
Section A, or
all of the property south of Farmer Street has already been completely
improved. Every lot will have a cement sidewalk and a street paved with
macadam, with concrete curb and gutters in front of it, together with water
and sewer connections. These improvements are paid for by the Company so
that the purchaser will be exempt from the usual assessments made for such
sold is subject to certain restrictions calculated to be to the mutual
advantage of all owners of houses on this property.
references clearly demonstrate the developers' intention to create a
compatible, pleasing, healthful, designed community and the final paragraph
clearly states their understanding of the need for restrictions to the
"mutual advantage of all".
referenced may date from c. 1908-09 since many houses are shown, but the
"new" Club, which was built in 1909, is included as an artist's rendering
only. Additional historical information and descriptions of some of the
houses in the district have been taken (by permission of, and with thanks
to, the author) from Eva Marie Hardin's book Syracuse Landmarks.