A gust of wind, 1900

The corner of Milton Avenue and Onondaga Road was the scene of a nasty horse and buggy accident on the windy morning of September 12, 1900. A billboard for Knox Gelatine was knocked over by a strong gust of wind, frightening the horse of a Camillus resident who was headed in to Syracuse for a dentist appointment. His companion was thrown from the buggy and suffered a serious leg injury, which led to O’Sullivan v. Knox, a case that went to the state Supreme Court.

While not inherently interesting as a legal case, it offers a detailed snapshot of life in Fairmount “down by the tracks” at the dawn of the 20th century, during a time when farmers were co-existing with new suburban residents. Several local people give testimony, so there is good information about local families, advertising practices, land ownership and daily routines to be found here. It should be noted that the intersection of Milton and Onondaga had a considerably different configuration in relation to the railroad line to Auburn prior to 1915.

(Spoiler: Ms. O’Sullivan lost her case, and also her appeal.)


A sea scorpion, 435 million B.C.

pterygotus-1At left is Pterygotus, an ancient five-foot-long eurypterid predator that hunted trilobites and fish, one of the largest arthropods that ever lived. Fossilized specimens were found in exposed bedrock in a ditch alongside Beverly Drive in Fairmount Hills, probably during the laying out of the streets for the subdivision in the 1930s. (Similar fossils were found further west around Mansfield Drive.) B


[Source: Journal of Paleontology Vol. 35, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, 1961, p.64.]