South Salina Street Historic District


The South Salina Street Historic District is an architecturally and historically significant collection of residential, commercial and religious buildings.  Together they  chronicle the historical development of the former village of Danforth, reflecting the area's growth from a small, mid-nineteenth century settlement through its short history as an incorporated village (1874-1887) to the neighborhood's subsequent development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a fashionable, middle-class residential neighborhood within the corporate limits of the city of Syracuse. The three-block area encompassed by the district constitutes the historic core of the community, including the hub of commercial and religious activity and the area's most fashionable dwellings. Although annexed by the city of Syracuse in the late nineteenth century, Danforth has retained its village-like identity and patterns of development as evidenced by South Salina Street.

The Danforth settlement was name after General Asa Danforth, a veteran of the American Revolution who came to Syracuse in 1788.  General Danforth's daughter, Patty, married General Thaddeus M. Wood, a War of 1812 veteran who purchased a large land holding from the State of New York in 1824.  This included the area encompassed by the South Salina Street Historic District and extending beyond it on all sides.  Wood named his holdings after his wife's family name.  Because General Wood fell into arrears in paying for his land, ownership reverted to the State of New York. In 1843, William B. Kirk, then, became the true founding father and major developer of the early Danforth settlement, also known as the Kirk Tract.  Kirk gradually subdivided and sold off his land along South Salina Street, Kirk Street and McLennan Avenue; most of the Kirk Tract had been sold by his death in 1886.

The Village of Danforth was incorporated in 1874, primarily to prevent annexation by the city of Syracuse.  The village boundaries were defined by Castle Street (two blocks south), Renwich Avenue (four blocks east) and the Onondaga Creek (three blocks west), comprising roughly a seven-by-six block area with South Salina Street bisecting the core of the community. The incorporated village encompassed the entire Kirk Tract and an additional two-block area south of Borden Street, to Colvin Street.  South Salina Street was, at the time, the route of the Syracuse and Onondaga Railroad, a horse car line owned by Justus Newell which ran between Syracuse and Onondaga Hallow located about three miles to the south.

Although it was by no means independent of or isolated from the greater Syracuse area, the Danforth community remained a relatively distinct, self-contained enclave until the mid-twentieth century when modern development and demographic changes altered the neighborhood.  When Interstate 81 was constructed parallel to and east of S. Salina Street, thus relieving South Salina Street of its prominence as the major north-south thoroughfare through this section of Syracuse.


The Sumner Hunt Building
1555 S. Salina Street

Built by Sumner L Hunt (1816-1912) this building served the community as a general store for many years. An important example of the Second Empire style, distinguished by a polychrome, slate-covered mansard roof embellished with the initial "H" and the date "1878."

The South Salina Street - Kennedy Street Residential District Community Project
1605, 1607 and 1615 South Salina Street / 116 East Kennedy Street

The revitalization of the South Salina Street/Kennedy Street residential district represents the overcoming of a diverse set of design constraints.  These include historic preservation mandates, urban planning goals, rehabilitative vs. new infill construction, funding agency guidelines, affordability and handicapped accessibility.  The South Salina Street project was complicated by its designation as a National Register Historic District.  As such, all construction was required to comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.  This, combined with the design standards of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), the state regulatory agency overseeing all projects receiving Housing Trust Fund assistance, and the general goal of low income affordability, required creativity and compromise on the part of all concerned.

116 East Kennedy and 1615 South Salina Street

These well display the results of this rehabilitation effort.  The Kennedy Street building is an elegant, sprawling, brick Queen Anne constructed around 1880.  It features wrap-around verandahs, decorative brick window surrounds, ornate sheet metal friezes, multiple shingle types and natural woodwork throughout the interior, including an elegant two-story front stair hall.

1615 South Salina Street is a fine two-story Colonial Revival four-square and features decorative exterior trim, a full-width front porch and natural woodwork throughout its interior.

1607 South Salina

This building presented the most significant problems.  The 1867 structure, set back on its lot, had been obliterated by a large 1905 addition at the front, as well as by subsequent alterations and decades of neglect and vandalism.  In addition, its four three-bedroom units were poorly laid out, and would not easily meet current codes and design standards.  When it became apparent that two new two-family structures, utilizing the adjacent vacant corner lot at 1605 South Salina, could be designed allowed the decertification of the existing structure to allow for sympathetically designed new construction.  The result is two new structures at 1605 and 1607 South Salina Street.  Designed to match the adjacent Salina Street housing in scale and massing, these two two-family residences provide healthier, better-designed living units than were possible in the existing structure, re-establish proper definition of an important street corner, and set a new standard of residential infill construction within an historic neighborhood.

In 1998, the entire project won the Preservation Association of Central New York's highest honor, the Pat Earle Award.

The Anson Palmer house
1606 S. Salina Street

The brick dwelling incorporates features of the Queen Anne style in its picturesque, asymmetrical massing, multi-gabled roof, restrained corbelled brickwork and variety of window openings with decorative treatments.  Although relatively untraditional in its interpretation of the Queen Anne style vocabulary, it remains an important example of the period and style.

1615 S. Salina Street
(ca. 1910

This features a pedimented front cross gable, a broad verandah and windows with quarreled upper panes.

1617-19 S. Salina, 1924 (demolished).  Was a three-story apartment house.

1621-23 S. Salina, 1924 (demolished).  Was a two-story clapboard apartment house.

The Justus Newell House
1622 S. Salina

This Italianate house is of particular significance for its early use of concrete blocks as a building material.  Completed in 1872, it is a very early example of what would, by the early twentieth century, become a common building technique.

Gothic Cottage
1631 S. Salina Street

An architecturally significant example of a picturesque, Gothic Revival style cottage, reflecting the early Victorian era taste for the fanciful, picturesque architecture propounded by A. J. Downing and others in the mid-nineteenth century.

Erastus B. Phillips House
1632 S. Salina Street

The Phillips House is significant as a representative example of the Italianate style. Distinctive characteristics of the period and style embodied in the Phillips House include the cubic massing, low-pitched hipped roof and broadly projecting, bracketed eaves.  The deeply recessed doorway and plain stone lintels above window openings, however, recall Greek Revival.

1638 S. Salina Street

A handsome Queen Anne style structure featuring broad, horizontal massing, asymmetrical configuration, multi-gabled roof and encircling verandah.  The former dwelling also incorporates features of the Colonial Revival style in some of its restrained, classically inspired decorative elements.

Former Danforth Congregational Church (now New Jerusalem Church of God)
Asa Merrick, architect

This imposing Church reflects the prosperity of the community during the village era.  It is a significant example of late Victorian era religious architecture in the region.  Stylistically, it incorporates features of the Romanesque Revival and High Victorian Gothic styles with picturesque, asymmetrical massing, prominent bell tower and steeple, polychrome brick and stone exterior and broad, round-arched window openings.

1704 S. Salina Street

A two-story, foursquare, three bay symmetrical clapboard wood frame residence.

1730 S. Salina Street
(ca. 1890)

The picturesque frame residence is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of the Eastlake style and is distinguished by its wealth of intricate woodwork.

All Saint's Episcopal Church
1804 S. Salina Street
Tayor and Bonta, architects

The church reflects the street's continued importance as a center of community activity during the first decade of the last century.  The imposing stone edifice illustrates the continued well-being and vitality of the Danforth neighborhood.

1807 S. Salina Street
(ca. 1893)

Noted for fine woodwork in an otherwise model building.

Alvord House
1818 South Salina
Archimedes Russell, architect

Colonial Revival style mansion (although the influence of the Queen Anne style is still evident), built for Dr. George E. Gridley, a prominent local physician, who had his office in the northwest corner of the ground floor.  After living there for only eighteen months, Dr. Gridley sold the house to Anson Alvord.  It was later converted to apartments.

1830 S. Salina Street

Queen Anne Style residence.

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