Solvay in Onondaga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Great New York State Fair
The Great New York State Fair was first held in Syracuse in 1841, in and around the old courthouse on North Salina Street, near Division Street. The Fair was the creation of the New York State Agricultural Society, a group of private individuals who desired to encourage and promote the best in agriculture by bringing together the state's farmers for an annual exposition of their bounty. With the exception of the years 1942-1948, when the Fairgrounds were taken over by the Army, the Fair has been held every year since 1841.
For much of the 19th century, the Fair moved around the state, including stops in Albany, Utica, Auburn, Saratoga, Buffalo, Rochester, Elmira, and Watertown. In 1889, after a generous donation of 100 acres from the people of Syracuse, the Fair settled into its permanent location and the first Fair was held at the present Fairgrounds in 1890. Finally, in 1899, New York State assumed control of the Fair under the leadership of Governor Theodore Roosevelt. State control meant a significant increase in funding, which led directly to the construction of many of the Fairgrounds'main buildings, including the massive Manufacturers
Recognized as the first State Fair in America, New York's continues to be one of the most successful and largest in the country. It hosts around one million visitors annually with a wide array of agricultural demonstrations, the Wade Shows Midway, industrial and mercantile exhibitions, and the long running Chevy Court concert series, with paid admission concerts taking place at Onondaga County's new Lakeview Amphitheater.
[Top Left Photo Caption:]
Aerial Shot of State Fairgrounds
A bird's eye view of the State Fairgrounds, taken in the 1970's. The enormous complex of the Crucible Steel Works and Onondaga Lake are visible.
[Bottom Left Photo Caption:]
State Fair 1896
This photo illustrates nicely the early days of the Fair, after Syracuse became the permanent site in 1890. The smokestacks of the Solvay Works and the Sanderson Brothers Steel foundry can be seen in the background. As you can see, the scale of the Fair has grown significantly over the decades. The construction of the current
[Center Photo Caption:]
State Fair Program Cover (1899)
In 1899, New York State assumed full operational control of the Fair. Notice the items at center, representing the various agricultural and industrial products at the exposition.
[Bottom Right Photo Caption:]
Horticulture Building and Fountain
In the early 1930's, under the leadership of then Governor Franklin Roosevelt, the State of New York began another series of extensive renovations and capital construction as public works projects to put people back to work.
[Far Middle Right Photo Caption:]
State Fair Carriage Gate
This photograph from 1910 shows the original main entrance gate built shortly after the fair permanently settled in Syracuse in 1890. This gate was replaced in 1913 and again in the 50's. In 2016, a new main gate was erected, inspired by the gate in this photograph.
[Near Middle Right Photo Caption:]
Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building
(now called the Center of Progress Building)
Taken in 1911, a time when patrons of the Fair could park directly on the Fairgrounds. Many of the headlamps on these cars were no doubt manufactured in Syracuse at the Dietz Lantern Company on Wilkinson Street.
Erected by Onondaga Historical Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Events. A significant historical date for this entry is September 4, 1899.
Location. 43° 4.174′ N, 76° 12.987′ W. Marker is in Solvay, New York, in Onondaga County. Marker is on Bridge Street (New York State Route 297) 0.1 miles south of State Fair Boulevard, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Syracuse NY 13209, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Crucible Industries (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Solar Salt (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Erie Canal (approx. 0.4 miles away); School House No. 2 (approx. half a mile away); The Solvay Process Company (approx. 0.8 miles away); Jesuit Mission (approx. 1.9 miles away); James Geddes 1798 (approx. 1.9 miles away); George Geddes Farm (approx. 2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Solvay.
Also see . . . The Great New York State Fair. (Submitted on June 29, 2021, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 166 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 28, 2021, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.