For sale, 1904

Source: The Country Gentleman, Jan. 28, 1904

The Famous “Geddes Farm,”

Located at Fairmount, three miles west of Syracuse N.Y., is offered FOR SALE at a low price, and on terms to suit purchaser. Or, if not sold at once, will be rented to desirable party for a term of  years.

This noted farm consists of about 250 acres of land, nearly all of which is in the highest state of cultivation.  The buildings include large, handsome family mansion, dairy rooms, stables for 100 cows, horse barn, hay and grain barns, feed mill, tenant houses — all in good repair.  Also brook of clear water, mill pond, etc.  A model dairy and grain farm.

Fairmount Station, on the NYC&HRR, is about 1/4 mile distant, and two trolley lines, each about one mile distant, running to Syracuse.

This farm will be sold for much less than the value of the buildings, to close estate.  For particulars, apply to W. Judson Smith, Wieting Block, Syracuse N.Y.

[William Judson Smith was the son-in-law of Frances Terry Geddes, the widow of James Geddes Jr.   She and her daughter’s family moved to Los Angeles around 1905.]

Fairmount Fair: the band


It appears that the Athens, Georgia-based group Fairmount Fair has broken up (yes, they’re named after that Fairmount Fair), but you can still hear some of their demos on Myspace.

To some Fairmount Fair is a band based in Athens GA that makes experimental hip-hop songs and short films, often addressing issues of the pains of suburban sprawl and other such evils.

Fairmount Fair, in essence, has always broken down to one thing: finding that glimmer of beauty, not in something that everyone agrees is the norm, but in something that you find for yourself and that makes YOU happy.

Sanitary condition of Geddes Brook, 1917

Source: Report of the State Commissioner of Health, 1918

[The Semet-Solvay company was manufacturing explosives at Split Rock during this time.  Geddes Brook flows from south of Split Rock, through Fairmount, and meets Nine Mile Creek shortly above Onondaga Lake.]

The wastes from the plant consist of the sanitary sewage from the toilets and a large amount of trade wastes resulting from the manufacture of the explosives. The trade wastes consist largely of picric acid and picrates, and, according to the statements of the engineer for the company, the waste liquid from the plant sometimes contains as high as 1/10 of 1 per cent of this acid and its salts…

The quantity of the wastes is said to be about 1,000,000 gallons per day… The effluent from the tanks is so diluted by the trade wastes and the waters of the brook that the stream below the point of discharge shows no sign of sewage pollution other than a bright yellow color due to the picric acid and picrates in solution…

The 78 company houses located in the valley below the plant [Split Rock Gulf] are at present all provided with privies having removable metal containers; these containers are removed daily and the contents disposed of by dumping on the surface of the ground about 1 mile from the houses. It is said that the matter is plowed into the soil except when the ground is frozen…

While the discharge of the wastes from the Split Rock plant into Geddes brook may not at the present time constitute a direct menace to public health, such discharge does render the waters of the brook unfit for use. The water of the stream has a bright chrome yellow color but is otherwise perfectly clear and shows no sign of sewage pollution. According to the analyses of the water made by the Semet Solvay Co the water has a slight acid reaction and shows a low bacterial count with no indication of intestinal bacteria. The wastes discharged in the stream are poisonous, but the water of the brook has a very bitter taste, and there is little possibility of either cattle or human beings drinking any amount of it.

Lower Geddes Brook (in the Town of Geddes) has undergone a wetland restoration project in recent years.

The coldest day, 1855

Source: Monthly Weather Review, September 1897


In the Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society for the year 1859 there is published an elaborate report by the Hon. George Geddes of Fairmount on the history, geology, climate and agriculture of Onondaga County. In this Report at page 296, Mr. Geddes states, “Observations of the temperature have been taken at Fairmount at a point 520 feet above the sea for more than sixty years, and during that time a standard instrument in the shade protected from all reflection has never been observed to mark more than 94 in the hottest weather, and this but once in many years, and there have been but few days in the coldest weather that the mercury was not at sometime in the day above zero.

“February 5 and 6, 1855, were the coldest days ever known here. February 5, 6 am [was] 28 below zero… February 6, 6 am [was] 30 below zero. During this unprecedented weather, the sky was nearly cloudless, and as there was no wind, the severity of the weather was not so apparent.”

As Mr Geddes was a resident of Fairmount it seems plausible that he refers to some record of the temperature kept at that place by members of his own family, but so far as we can learn this temperature record for Fairmount is not referred to in any of the published tables of temperature for the State of New York. A record that began about year 1800 and was continuous until 1859 or later would of great value in climatological studies and if this still exists it should be not only preserved but made accessible for the use of students of climatology.

[The book referred to here was a continuous weather journal kept by Lucy Jerome Geddes beginning in 1797, with the daily recording taken over by her son George probably up until his death in the early 1880s.  The fate of this book is unknown.]

Andy’s Inn, 1956


Sources: Central New York Genealogy and History; Vincent Falcone; Syracuse Post-Standard, October 5, 1956

Andy’s Inn was a nightclub and restaurant located at the corner of Mackay Avenue and West Genesee Street (currently occupied by former HSBC drive-in), active from 1929 to at least 1959.  This club later became known as the Coda during the 1960s.

One of Fairmount’s pioneer businesses, now in its 27th year, is Andy’s Inn at 4500 W. Genesee St. It is renowned throughout Central New York as this area’s oldest successfully operated night club. Andy Dattellas, who owns and personally operates this popular night spot has a unique business background. From boyhood to the age of 36 he served as a professional barber. Many will remember the enthusiastic following he developed while working in prominent barbershops in downtown Syracuse. In 1920 Andy opened his own Town Hall Barber Shop in Solvay. Having achieved distinction in one field did not fulfill a throbbing adventurous spirit that was sweeping him on to even greater heights. In 1929 he opened Andy’s Inn as a restaurant. Later in 1935 he brought in a band with one performer on Saturday nights. Meeting with widespread acclaim he gradually developed Andy’s Inn to a full fledged night club known for its finer floor shows, equally famous for its exceptional food… It is the warm friendly atmosphere that makes Andy’s Inn the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary or birthday party. Staging two shows nightly and three on Saturday, Andy’s Inn features the exclusive sliding W stage that fairly brings the sparkling entertainment right down to your table. This attractive building with its twin gables has been a familiar landmark in Fairmount since the late 20’s. There is plenty of convenient parking space.