Nearly a century ago, ice skaters could be seen zipping around the frozen canal that cut right through the center of downtown Syracuse. When the canal was forced into obsolescence by more practical modes of transportation, it was filled and covered in the red brick that we see still see today and went from a waterway to a wide main street called Erie Boulevard. Clinton Square went from a hub of activity where boats could load their wares to a parking lot. For decades Syracuse's leadership discussed plans on how to properly revamp the center of Syracuse's historical district until it was formally committed to in 1999 when the decision was made to transform Clinton Square back into a place of opportunity.
The plan was for a reflecting pool with a fountain and ice skating in the winter, an homage to the Erie canal. As we locals know, that plan went into full swing and opened up the square for all sorts of festivals, markets, and a spot to relax and rejuvenate. On a hot day you can see kids running around in the fountain like it was a giant sprinkler. This transformation truly changed the square from a historic canal, to a long street and parking lot, to a beautiful place of community gathering and appreciation of the past. I'm so thankful for this project because of the many years of memories the square has provided for us and for our younger generations who may not remember what Clinton Square was like before they changed it into the beautiful monument to our past.
Thanks to the Historic Society of Syracuse for reminding us of this wonderful history of ours!