reater GUtica November 2017 Vol III Issue 12
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The Erie Canal Utica to Rome
From Axeman To Great American Engineer
John B. Jervis
Walker & Cochran In Patriots Mound
Anthony Torchia Memorial Basketball Classic The Streets of the West
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Contents November 2017 THE COVER STORY
The Erie Canal
This monthâ€™s cover picture is looking west to the Genesee Street Bridge. If you look closely you will see a trolley crossing the bridge. The last building that you see on the left is the Devereux Building, that area is known today as Franklin Square. The Erie Canal travelled through Downtown Utica in that time before there was an Oriskany Boulevard.
Utica to Rome
200 Years Page 5
Up on the Hill 18
Walker & Cochran in the Patriots Mound
GU Coupon Pages 24 & 25 Featured Businesses
CNY Services Page 22 Clinton Collision Page 27 Allied Heating and Air Conditioning Page 28 New Hartford Eye Associates Page 38
Center Stage at the Stanley Page 29 From Axeman to Great American Engineer Page 30 John B. Jervis
Anthony Torchia Memorial Basketball Classic Page 39 The Streets of the West Page 42
Web: www.GUmagazine.com email: cs@GUmagazine.com Phone: 315-316-7277 Facebook: www.facebook.com/greaterutica November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE 3
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The Erie Canal
Utica to Rome
200 Years by Brad Velardi
Long before you or I were born, folks from around the country referred to New York as The Empire State. Throughout our lifetime, it has been considered a superpower and home to the most highly populated city in the United States. When we think of New York City today, we envision the Statue of Liberty, skyscrapers, the Yankees and Times Square. It is unfathomable that “The Big Apple” may have, at one time, lived in the shadow of cities like Philadelphia and Boston; but it’s true. Long before Frank Sinatra’s baritone tribute to the big city; decades before Ellis Island opened its immigrant inspection station, New York City was developing into one of the financial capitals of the world during the early to mid-19th century. The same can be said for the state as a whole at that time. Communities across New York State were growing at a rapid pace; among them were such towns and villages as Rome and Utica. These places were developing into areas of commercial significance throughout the 1800s and eventually earned city charters. Their growth was directly correlated with the construction of what many called, “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” From an engineering standpoint, it was deemed impossible at the time it was proposed and had its share of detractors. Thankfully, those notions were overlooked and the Erie Canal was built.
Looking east to the Genesee Street Bridge from the Canal (Oriskany Boulevard today). Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center.
November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
Without the relentless efforts and convictions of a particular group of men, ground would have never been broken on the project. Luckily, New York’s history books are filled with men who were visionaries, innovators and risk takers. Men who did not allow anyone or anything to stand in the way of what they felt would benefit our state and our country. Let us not forget, the men who performed the intense labor necessary to complete the canal’s construction. If the waters could speak, they would tell countless tales of voyages along this significant path from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River. They would tell the story of the Erie Canal.
As the nation had gained its independence following the Revolutionary War, it was looking westward in hopes of expansion. The exchange of goods between the west and the east was hindered by the presence of the Appalachian Mountains. The only break in the mountains from Alabama to Canada was where the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers met. To get beyond the mountains and trade with those in the west, a waterway running west from the Hudson River, through the Mohawk River valley and beyond, was needed. The question at hand was: How could it possibly be done? While no one had the exact answer at the time, there were several bright individuals who had been formulating ideas throughout the late 18th century.
Visionaries There is one account reported by a former Revolutionary soldier, Morgan Lewis, in which Lewis states that his camp was visited by one of our nation’s Founding Fathers; Gouverneur Morris. At the time of Morris’ visit, the American army was retreating down the Hudson from General John Burgoyne’s redcoats and Morris came to check-in on the men. The Mohawk River connected to the Hudson River just south of where the men had been located. According to Lewis, Gouverneur Morris had stated aloud his vision of a day “when the waters of the great western inland seas would, by the aid of man, break through barriers and mingle with those of the Hudson.” He would later state that the end-goal would be to connect the
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Hudson River to Lake Erie, making trade between lands on each side of the Appalachians possible. On the westward side of the mountains were vast amounts of farmland and opportunity for prosperity. Farmers from the east had heard of the promise land that awaited them, but traveling from one side of the mountains to the other was extremely costly, time consuming, and sometimes dangerous. While visiting the Mohawk River valley in 1788, a man by the name of Elkanah Watson had a vision similar to that of Gouverneur Morris. As an apprentice to a mercantile firm during the Revolutionary War, Watson had been carrying dispatches to Benjamin Franklin, who was in France at the time. Over time, he had traveled all throughout Europe, including England;
where he was enamored by the Bridgewater Canal. The Bridgewater Canal was constructed to improve efficiency in the transportation of coal from Worsley to Manchester. After seeing how successful the English canal was in terms of cost effectiveness, Watson felt as though a similar system should be implemented between the Great Lakes and the Hudson River. After making a follow-up trip to survey the Mohawk River Valley, Watson and his good friend, U.S. Senator Philip Schuyler partnered together to try and make the waterway a reality. Schuyler reported Watson’s findings to his New York legislators and had them printed in Albany newspapers. Eventually, the state of New York would incorporate two private canal companies to build a waterway from the Hudson to Lake Champlain and improve travel on the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario. They were the Northern Inland Lock Navigation Company and the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. Due to a lack of funds, the project was ultimately left unfinished and both companies went under. By the time the project was halted, all that was built was a one-mile canal that navigated ships around Little Falls on the Mohawk River. On a positive note, some improvements in travel costs between the east and west were made; creating demand for further advancements. When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1803, the need for an improved travel route became even more essential to the country’s growth. In 1807, yet another visionary played his part in the eventual construction of the Erie Canal. Jesse Hawley, a Geneva, New York flour merchant found himself in debtor’s prison after losing a business that seemed poised to make him a wealthy man. As the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company steadily made Hawley improvements to river travel, Hawley continued investing money in his business. When the Western company seized operations in 1804, transportation costs skyrocketed, making it impossible for Hawley to transport his product to cities in the east. Those events led to
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him being sentenced to 20 months in debtor’s prison. In 1807, Hawley wrote a series of 14 essays under the alias, “Hercules”, and submitted them to a publication called the Genesee Messenger. After studying maps of New York State for months, Hawley essentially crafted the original blueprint of the future Erie Canal. While the originality of his ideas had come into question by some, it has been proven that the essays themselves were directly influential in the eventual construction. Hawley’s writings drew support from Joseph Ellicott of the Holland Land Company, and DeWitt Clinton, who was the Mayor of New York City. Clinton in particular was drawn to the idea and inspired to take action.
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Erie Canal Committee With great pressure on the New York State Legislature to build a canal, in 1808 they finally made the decision to authorize and provide funding for a survey. New York State Senator, Jonas Platt and his good friend Thomas Eddy (former treasurer of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company) were looking to get the wheels moving on the canal project. Platt was interested in forming a canal route either to Lake Ontario or Lake Erie. In January 1809 two New York State Legislators, Joshua Forman and William Kirkpatrick, were sent to the nation’s capital to visit President Thomas Jefferson. The purpose of the visit was to convince Jefferson that the idea of a cross-state canal would be greatly beneficial to the country and they were hoping to secure
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the necessary funding. At the time, Jefferson was holding out hope for the Potomac Canal, which was a significantly smaller waterway proposed by George Washington. According to an account from Joshua Forman, Jefferson said to the two men: “Here is a canal of a few miles, projected by General Washington, which, if completed, would render this a fine commercial city, which has languished for many years because the small sum of 200,000 dollars necessary to complete it, cannot be obtained from the general government, the state government, or from individuals - and you talk of making a canal of 350 miles through the wilderness - it is little short of madness to think of it at this day.” Washington’s canal would eventually become a failure,
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despite President Jeffersonâ€™s support. On March 13th, 1810, Jonas Platt presented to the State Legislature, his idea for a bipartisan Canal Commission (later known as the Erie Canal Commission). He realized that the project would need significant political and financial backing so he recruited some of the most powerful and respected members of both the Federalist and Democratic-Republic parties. Of the Federalists on the committee were: Gouverneur Morris (named President of the Commission), Stephen Van Rensselaer, William North and Thomas Eddy. Of the Democratic-Republicans chosen were: Peter Buell Porter, Simeon DeWitt and DeWitt Clinton. Now that the commission was formed, preparations for their expedition had begun. In June 1810, the committee was westbound to find the best possible route for the new canal. Van Rensselaer and Morris traveled by carriage and boat, which meant they would not partake in the wilderness portion of the expedition. The rest of the group, however, traveled for 53 days straight as the trip was more than 700 miles from Albany to Lake Erie and back again. It is written in the book â€œMemoir of De Witt Clintonâ€? that on this trip, members of the committee were carrying a copy of Jesse Hawleyâ€™s essays. They had witnessed firsthand the dangers of traveling the waters of the Mohawk and saw deteriorated locks manufactured by the Western Inland Company. On this trip, it became clear to most of the commissioners that, in order to ensure the safety of travelers, the new waterway must be completely man-made. When the committee members returned to Albany, they began using information from their findings to set up a written plan for the canal. There was great debate as to whether the canal would run to Lake Erie or Lake Ontario, but eventually, all of the members agreed on the former. After 6 long months of drafting their plan, the committee submitted their report to the New York Legislature in March of 1811, and it was met with great support. Within the report, the committee explained that public financing and state control of the canal would be essential to its survival. On April 8th, 1811, the state legislature passed the first law related to the construction of the canal. On June 19th, 1812, the commission was permitted to purchase the rights, interests and estate of the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company. Each member of the Erie Canal Commission was designated specific responsibilities that included: finding engineers, land cessations for the canal path and formulat-
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November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
ing a plan for national assistance and borrowing money. DeWitt Clinton and Gouverneur Morris were sent to Washington to meet President James Madison, hoping to secure funding from the Federal Government. Despite Clintonâ€™s prominent political stature, their attempts were unsuccessful.
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All But Dead: The War of 1812 The federal governmentâ€™s lack of support had thrown a wrench in the machine driving the canal project. As American and British relations were deteriorating, on June 18th, 1812, Madison signed the American declaration of war into law and the War of 1812 broke out. Members of the committee began focusing their energy on matters related to the war; DeWitt Clinton ran as the Federalist anti-war nominee in the presidential election of 1812, and Stephen Van Rensselaer became the head of the New York State Militia. In addition to that, in 1814, the state legislature repealed an act they had passed two years prior that allowed the commission to create a fund that would finance the canal. Although canal construction was likely not the strongest concern of the American people at that point, the project was all but dead. On December 24th, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed and then ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 17th, 1815. The war was over; and although it had taken a toll on the country in many ways, the two men who were the creators of the Erie Canal Commission never gave up hope. Later that year, Thomas Eddy invited Jonas Top: DeWitt Clinton Bottom: James Platt to breakfast and Madison explained to his old partner a new strategy to resurrect the canal project. Eddy proposed to Platt that instead of going directly to the legislature with their pitch as they had in the past, they would get the support of the public. Platt found the idea to be brilliant and Eddy once again recruited DeWitt Clinton to help organize a meeting with multiple speakers.
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Resurrection On December 3rd, 1815, a meeting was held in New York City to discuss the benefits of a canal and the support of the large crowd was overwhelming. An appointed committee drafted a memorial addressed to the legislature and similar meetings were held in different parts of city and 25 other cities within the state. The committee was able to accumulate over 100,000 signatures in support of the canal as a result of those meetings. There had been a fair share of politicians who opposed the idea, feeling as though rising state taxes would bankrupt merchants and rightfully believed the project was highly unrealistic. America was not nearly as densely populated or economically advanced as the eastern countries that enjoyed the success of a canal system. America was not what we know it as today, but in comparison, a blank canvas that had never seen a canal that exceeded 50 miles, let alone 363. Detractors referred to the project as “Clinton’s Folly” and “Clinton’s Ditch” in “honor” of its most outspoken and committed supporter. On April 17th, 1816, a new bill was passed by the state legislature that provided funding for the project with the new members of the commission being Joseph Ellicott, Myron Holley, Samuel Young, Clinton and Van Rensselaer. The Holland Land Company donated 100,000 acres toward the construction of the canal. The group of 5 met with the legislature on May 17th, 1816 to spell out the exact plans for the route of the canal. They then addressed how the project would be funded and carefully selected the engineers who would carry out the design. The engineers selected were: Benjamin Wright, James Geddes, Charles Broadhead and amateur engineer Canvass White. Wright and Geddes had not been formally educated in engineering whatsoever and neither were they professional surveyors. White’s dedication to the project could never be questioned. He traveled to England at his own expense to study the intricacies of their canal system so that the Americans could duplicate their success. He departed in 1817 and examined 2,000 miles of the canal network on foot and did not return until the following year. Considering the lack of experience of these three men, it is nothing short of extraordinary that they were able to complete this project. On February 15th, 1817, the commission’s final report was presented and stated the estimated cost of the canal, equipped with 83 locks and 18 aqueducts, would be $4.9 million. On April 19th, 1817, the state legislature gave birth to the Canal Fund, which authorized $7 million for construction, guaranteeing the finances necessary to construct the Erie Canal.
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July 4th, 1817 – Utica to Rome Just a few days prior to the groundbreaking ceremony for the Erie Canal, DeWitt Clinton was sworn in as Governor of New York. He had decided that the construction would begin with the 94-mile middle section of the canal from Utica west to the Seneca River, due to its flat terrain and soft ground. It was an
November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
Denton and Waterbury from the Clinton Street Bridge over the Erie Canal circa 1900. Courtesy of the Whitesboro Historical Society
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Erie Canal at Oriskany NY the workers were taught successfully as the job progressed. In historical celebration, as the long-awaited Erie Canal would break 1821, Charles Glidden Haines, secretary to DeWitt Clinton, wrote ground in Rome, NY at sunrise on the morning of July 4th, 1817. in a New York newspaper, “For accuracy, dispatch, and science, we Dignitaries and area residents gathered together at the village can now present corps of engineers equal to any in the world.” and made their way to the canal line. Samuel Young represented By the summer of 1818, contracts for the entire canal had the Canal Commission and the three chief engineers were all in been claimed aside from a few places for aqueducts. Many of the attendance with Judge Joshua Hathaway of Rome and Judge John workers on-site were local farmers who had to tend to their own Richardson. Also on hand at the event was Jesse Hawley, the auland and were not available to work as much as needed. To find a thor of the original canal blueprint. larger work force, recruiters traveled to New York City and hired A United States Arsenal cannon fired as the sun peaked Irish immigrants upon their arrival in America. As the project its head on the horizon and Judge Hathaway and Samuel Young commenced, the workers along the line began to sing together: addressed the crowd. Young closed out his address with the following statement: “Let us proceed to the work, animated by the We are digging the ditch through the mire; prospect of its speedy accomplishment, and cheered with the anticThrough the mud and the slime and the mire, by heck! ipated benedictions of a grateful posterity.” John Richardson was the first to take up a contract on the canal, and therefore, was the first man to break ground with a plow at the ceremony. As the cannon fired again, Erie Canal construction had officially begun. Benjamin Wright was the chief engineer of the middle section; 1,000 men (not including around 50 contractors) from all over were put to work by October and 58 miles were under construction by January 1818. The channel would eventually be cut 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep with a towpath on the downhill side made of removed soil. The canal essentially became the first engineering school in the history of the United States, as there had been no formal training available in America at the time of construction. Thanks to the tremendous leadership put in place,
November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
And the mud is our principle hire; Up our pants, in our shirts, down neck, by heck! We are digging the ditch through the gravel, So the people and the freight can travel. We are cutting a ditch through the gravel, Though the gravel across the state, by heck! We are cutting a ditch through the gravel, So the people and the freight can travel, Can travel across the state, by heck!
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On October 21st, 1819, a crowd gathered at the same meeting spot in Rome where the groundbreaking ceremony took place. It was the opening of the first section of the Erie Canal; Rome to Utica. The sun had risen; the sluice gates opened and the water flowed into the waterway. One of the aforementioned canal “visionaries”, Elkanah Watson, was in attendance and described the atmosphere in the eloquent language of the time period: “It was impossible for stupidity itself not to have been electrified on this joyous occasion, and to stretch their opaque minds from Erie to the ocean.” On that day, witnesses saw the first boat to ever float upon the waters of the Erie Canal. The boat was 61 feet long by 7 ½ feet wide and named the Chief Engineer of Rome, in honor of Benjamin Wright. The Chief was pulled by two horses from Rome to Utica that day and brought back on the following. Upon the Chief were DeWitt Clinton and 30 others; among them were each of the engineers and commissioners that made the endeavor possible. As the boat cruised along its path some 40 other passengers joined as a military band aboard played beautiful music. Crowds cheered all along the canal and a 21-gun salute commenced in Whitesboro as the boat passed. The passengers arrived in Utica and stayed at Bagg’s Hotel for the night before heading back to Rome in the morning. It could not have been a more perfect day.
October 26th, 1825 – “The Wedding of the Waters” By 1824, the segment of the canal ranging from Utica to the Hudson River was completed with the remainder of the construction concluding the following year. On October 26th, 1825, the “Grand Celebration” took place with more cannon blasts and cheering spectators. A group of boats led by DeWitt Clinton’s “Seneca Chief ” made their way on a 10-day voyage from Buffalo to New York City. When they arrived, he poured water from Lake Erie into the New York Harbor and when he returned, poured a keg of water from the Atlantic into Lake Erie. This would mark what has become known as, “The Wedding of the Waters.”
The Pride of a Yankee Almost immediately, canal detractors were proven incorrect in their assertion that the cost of the project bankrupt the state. Freight rates from Buffalo to New York City were $100 per ton by road compared to $10 per ton by canal. According to the New York State Canal Corporation, 3,640 bushels of wheat were transported down the canal from Buffalo in 1829. By 1837, number of bushels raised to 500,000, by 1841, it was 1 million. By 1846, the tolls paid along the canal had covered the entire cost of construction, which wound up being a little more than $7 million.
Above: “The Wedding of the Waters” No longer would New York City play the role of “little brother” to Philadelphia and Boston; by 1840, New York was moving more tonnages than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans put together. The Canal Corporation also states that 80% of the state’s population lived within 25 miles of the canal; proving its impact on the state as a whole. In 1835, the enlargement of the canal began; ending in 1862. In 1905, work on the Barge Canal began; ending in 1918. While its traffic declined significantly in the latter part of the 20th century due to railroads, highways and air travel, the canal has been reborn in recent years. The New York Canal System, as it is known as today, attracts lovers of history and recreation. Erie Canal tours have become a major tourist attraction and its story was recently featured on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Along Zimmern’s journey through the canal, he made a lengthy stop in Utica; highlighting some of our finest food establishments. The Erie Canal is another example of what is truly special about America. Whether it is taking on the most powerful country in the world to gain our independence, or building a man-made 363-mile waterway, we are constantly defying the odds. Our entire culture is built upon by doing “the impossible” and constantly pushing our limitations until we achieve our goal. Like anything else in life, everyone wants to attach themselves to something that makes them proud. As I learn more about American accomplishments such as the Erie Canal: I am one proud Yankee.
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l l i H e h t on
Walker & Cochran in by Joseph P. Bottini the Patriots Mound Oneida County Historian
Two Revolutionary War heroes are buried in the same plot - referred to as “Patriots Mound” - in Forest Hill Cemetery. Colonel Benjamin Walker and Dr. John Cochran each served under General George Washington. Both patriots have a direct connection to the notable Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Steuben. The story of how von Steuben became a hero in America’s war for independence is a “twist-of-fate” tale. It led to a close relationship between he and our patriots highlighted today. At age 17, von Steuben became a solider in the Prussian army climbing his way up to become an aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great. A member of the King’s class on “the art of war” he became a member of the most advanced army in the world at the time. That culture, place and time period of the 1770s was not kind to those with an independent persona. Being accused of such, von Steuben found himself discharged and finding it difficult to acquire a position in a European army. Steuben traveled to Paris, France in search of work in foreign armies. While in Paris he made the acquaintance of Benjamin Franklin who, on the part of the colonists, was seeking experienced military officers for the war with the English. The “Baron” von Steuben accepted Franklin’s offer of passage to America, (it is said he unofficially acquired the title of Baron while enroot across the Atlantic Ocean). With a word of recommendation from Franklin to George Washington, Steuben secured a position in
19 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
the colonial army. Captain, and then Colonel Benjamin Walker, was a solider in the American Revolutionary War and later served as a U.S. Representative from New York. Born in England in 1753, he immigrated to New York City. Walker was a lieutenant in the 1st New York Regiment in 1775 and captain in the 4th New York Regiment in 1776. He served as an aide-de-camp to von Steuben in 1778 and reputed to admirer the military acumen of the Baron. Although Walker held the General in high esteem and it is said exploited his attraction for him, it is believed that he did not reciprocate in any romantic fashion. Walker was adopted by von Steuben, as was William North, a future United States Senator, another of Steuben’s aides. During that time of less-than-accepting posture of close male friendships, adoption provided a “legitimate” method of facilitating an arrangement. In 1782, Walker became an aide on the staff of General Washington - cementing his place in patriotic history of the young United States. In 1788, he became co-administrator with Alexander Hamilton of von Steuben’s busi-
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Grave site of Benjamin Walker at Forest Hill Cemetery, photo by Joseph Bottini.
ness affairs. Walker served as a captain and as naval officer of customs at the port of New York in 1789. He was sent to Old Fort Schuyler (Utica) in 1797, serving also as an agent of the landed estate of the Earl of Bath. He was elected to Congress as a Federalist serving from 1801 – 1803 - declining to run for reelection. Benjamin Walker died in Utica, New York in 1818 and
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interred in the Old Village Burying Ground on Water Street (Potter Cemetery). In 1875, his remains were exhumed and reentered with his wife, Mary in the “Patriots Mound” in lot 38 at Forest Hill Cemetery. John Cochran was born in Sadsbury, Pennsylvania. He served as a physician under Lieutenant-Colonel John Bradstreet during the French & Indian War. Cochran was one of the founders and president of New Jersey Medical Society in 1769. In 1777, Cochran was made Physician & Surgeon
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Potter Cemetery on Water Street (in Green), Liberty Street is in the bottom right of the graphic.
General of the middle Department of the medical department of the Continental Army. He served as Physician and Surgeon General of the Continental Army and Director General of the Hospitals of the United States from 1781 – 1783. Following in the lackluster service of previous Surgeons General, some historians hail Cochran as the “best of the Revolutionary period chief physicians.” A fervent patriot and ardent supporter of separation from the “mother country” Cochran initially volunteered for duty without pay in the hospital department of the Continental Army. He served to the end of the war under happy auspices to the satisfaction of Congress. His tenure was not all smooth going as he faced a scarcity of medical supplies and the resignation of many medical officers due to their pay being in arrears. Managing these and other problems successfully brought Cochran a positive and much envied reputation and becoming Washington’s personal physician. He was known for possessing industry, sound judgment and ample tact. On two separate occasions he, at the request of Gener-
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al Washington, successfully treated an ailing Marquis de Lafayette. This accomplishment added to his prestigious reputation as a top-notch physician and endeared him to General Washington. Dr. Cochran was released from the army and with his wife Gertrude settled in Utica. He died in 1807 and is buried in the “Patriots Mound” in lot 38 at Forest Hill Cemetery. Superintendent Gerard Waterman, who knows most
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Grave site of John Cochran at Forest Hill Cemetery, photo by Joseph Bottini.
every detail of this vast, beautiful place of final repose, was not sure why the Walkers and the Cochrans were buried in this mound. It is believed to be called the “Patriot’s Mound” because it is an earthen mound (as opposed to the ground-level grave sites) and it does hold the remains of two of America’s most distinguished patriots of the Revolutionary War. Editor’s Note: This article is about two patriots interred at Forest Hill Cemetery from a long list of over two dozen MaxsPrintShop.com 800-874-4004 distinguished Uticans sharing this final resting place. More will 9438 River Road, Marcy be published in future editions of G-U magazine. We thank Gerard Waterman, Superintendent, and Kari Slentz, Office Manager (super sleuth) for their assistance.
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Oneida County History Center November 2017 Events **Programs are free and open to the general public**
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Commemorate Veteran's Day with noted storyteller Paul Boehlert. Boehlert will tell stories of men and women who served our nation with a special emphasis on soldiers, sailors, and airmen from Oneida Country and the Mohawk Valley.
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Dealer Imprint Celebrate Welsh heritage in Oneida County with the St. Goes Here David’s Society of Utica. Learn about the history of Welsh
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Oneida County History Center 315-735-3642
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November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
GANIZ ATI O N
There are certain issues in society that are very difficult to address; sometimes, it is so much easier to ignore a problem than to face it head-on and find a solution. Sometimes, we choose to be dismissive of the issue because it is something that does not affect us directly and we do not understand it or find it relatable. Among all the societal dilemmas our nation has faced in recent years, few have been more prevalent than opioid addiction. The sad truth is, almost everyone knows somebody who struggles with these substances, and in some cases, have lost loved ones. It is a sad and frustrating situation that can only be controlled by continuous efforts from an entire community. CNY Services, an organization headquartered in Syracuse, has responded with an initiative to fight back against opioid addiction in the local area. By working hand-in-hand with fellow organizations and the citizens of the community, CNY Services plans to curb the abuse of these substances in a way we have never seen. The organizationâ€™s roots date back to 1990 when its very first office was located within the Charlestown Mall building on Bleecker Street in Utica. At the time of its inception, CNY Services was a small program that assisted the Forensic Evaluation Unit in the Utica and Rome city courts. Their main objective was to improve the forensic mental health service in Oneida County. Over time, CNY Services evolved tremendously; expanding their services by offering housing for individuals with mental health issues. From there, they began providing clinical services for those same people as well as those struggling with substance abuse in the Syracuse and Utica areas. For the past 10 years, their Milestones office in Utica has offered assistance with recovery for adults and adolescents that are living in our community. In order to accommodate a broader service network, they moved their main office to Syracuse and now serve individuals in Oneida, Tompkins, Cayuga, Onondaga and Madison counties. CNY Services, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, will launch in December a revolutionary new program in the city of Utica. The Landmark Clinic will administer an opioid treatment program for those struggling with addiction. In this medication assisted treatment program, patients will have the options of Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol, all of which have shown success in treating opioid addiction. The clinic is permitted to treat up to 250 people at one time and aims to provide an array of person-centered, holistic services to support people in finding a successful path to long-term recovery. The state of the art facility will also provide one-on-one and group counseling within the confines of a therapeutic enviDanâ€™s 88 year-old mother-inronment. law Barb packing school kits To put this issue in perspective, it is important to know that there are certain stigmas attached to opioid to be sent to Afghanistan addiction that are inaccurate. Perhaps the most common misconception is that these dependencies only affect individuals of a certain income level; this is not true. Opioid addiction affects people from all socioeconomic levels and cultural backgrounds; in fact, one study has shown that nearly 500,000 citizens in New York State use prescription pain killers for non-medical purposes. Included in that number are people from various segments of the population. There is no question this is a serious matter, but we as a community must understand that there is hope. With organizations such as CNY Services and others dedicated to the same cause, there are outlets for people in need to receive the proper treatment. It is important that everyone educate themselves as much as possible on the topic to put us in a better position to win the fight. We must show these individuals with addiction that the community is here to support them, and point them in the direction of help. We are all guilty of turning the other cheek on this issue at some point or another. Letâ€™s take every opportunity we can to help make a change; even if it is something as small as referring someone to the proper facility. To learn more about CNY Services and the Opioid Treatment Program, log on to CNYservices.org or call them at (315) 478-2453.
22 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
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SI N E S S
If you are one of the lucky people in this world, you get to one day look back on life and savor all that you have experienced. But then again; maybe luck is only a small part of the equation and it was hard work and sacrifice that put you in a position to reflect so happily. Joe Lomanto, longtime owner of Clinton Collision considers himself one of the “lucky ones”, although his accomplishments in several facets of life are no coincidence. At 87 years-old, Joe has been around the block; as a matter of fact, he has been all over the east coast in his tow truck. Yes, it has been quite the journey and it all started in 1930 in Marcy, NY. That was the year Joe was born and the town he lived in as a small child. When he was just 5 years-old, Joe’s family moved to the Town of Kirkland, where they owned a farm. Joe put in many hours in those fields and was even forced to leave Westmoreland High School after his freshman year to manage the farm during the daytime. At night, he worked in a garage with one of his older brothers, Jim, until September of 1951, when Joe’s life was changed forever. At age 21, he was drafted into the United States Army and sent off to fight in the Korean War. After valiantly serving the Army on three different front lines in less than a year, Joe was wounded twice before being discharged early in the spring of 1953. After his heroic tour in Korea, Joe returned home to Kirkland and began working with his brother again. He had not saved a whole lot of money during his time in the military, as he sent most of what he earned back home to his parents. Joe took what little money he had accumulated by the mid-1960s and, along with his other brother Fred, purchased Clinton Auto Body on McBride Avenue in Clinton. The two young men started with, what Joe refers to as, “a few dollars and a beat up old tow truck” equipped with a hand crank, a chain, no fenders and an old tail light. There was only one way they were going to make the business successful, and that was with hard work. In the early days, Joe would start his work day at 7:30 in the morning and head home in the evening time, but the day was never truly over. Throughout the night, Joe would have to leave his home up to three times to respond to calls from customers. On top of the hours he worked at his business, Joe spent 38 years with the Clinton Fire Department until it became too much to handle. Each year, things got bigger and better for the business as the Lomanto reputation became one of honesty, fairness and dependability. In 1979, Fred left and opened his own shop, leaving Joe in complete charge of the business under a new name: Clinton Collision. Over the years, Joe continued to do some amazing things through Clinton Collision as he has developed a client base that stretches across 8 states. For over a decade, they have been contracted to tow all large vehicles in need of service on the New York State Thruway from exits 30 to 33. Back in 1995, Griffiss Air Base even called Joe to use two of his trucks to pull a 156-ton DC-11 plane out of the snow! They knew he was the only one crazy enough to pull it off. There has been incredible equipment upgrades over the years as Clinton Collision owns a group of state of the art wreckers which includes one of the only rotators in central NY(crane-like machines built to lift an entire vehicle). But perhaps the most important change took place 4 years ago. In 2013, Joe’s daughters, Laura & Holly, took over to help manage the business. Laura has been hanging around her dad at the shop since she was a little girl and hopes to keep the name he created alive. She has absorbed a lot of her dad’s knowledge, but one of the most important things he taught her was to keep a good staff. The drivers and the guys in the body shop have been with the company for many years and are as much a part of Clinton Collision’s success as anything. In Joe’s eyes, things could not have turned out any better. He has two daughters and no sons, which has led people to ask him the same question over and over: “Don’t you wish you had a boy to take over the business?” He always tells them the same thing, “I wouldn’t trade my girls for anything in the world!” In the most flattering sense, the Lomanto family is a proud one. Joe is proud to have served his country bravely and his community honestly. He takes pride in the fact that his reputation has been unscathed over such a long period of time in business and that his crew is considered one of the finest in the area. Most of all, he is proud of his daughter, Laura, who has used what she learned from Joe on countless rides in the passenger seat of his truck. As time moves forward, the collection of certificates, trophies, mementos and newspaper clippings on the walls of Clinton Collision continue to grow. Each of them serve as a reminder of everything the family has been able to achieve. For more information on Clinton Collision call (315) 853-5665 or visit the shop at 10 McBride Ave. in Clinton.
November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
SI N E S S
As citizens of Central New York, we never really know what to expect when we wake up and pull the curtains back to see the dayâ€™s weather. We are lucky to have some of the most beautiful foliage in the country and we experience conditions from all 4 seasons, but the drastic highs and lows can be difficult to handle. This is especially true during the winter months, and sometimes, the only place we feel safe from the elements, is inside our home. There is nothing better on a cold day in the Mohawk Valley than turning on that furnace and finding a comfortable place to relax. The same can be said about cranking the AC on those hot summer days. When it comes to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), their installation not only provides benefits of comfort, but improve quality of life in several ways. Joe Washington and Joe Ficci, owners of Allied Heating and Air Conditioning in Utica, are fairly new to business ownership, but are very familiar with their field. Combined, they have over 30 years of experience, but the day had finally come when they decided to branch off and form their own company. While understanding the significance of HVAC services in terms of health and safety, Joe and Joe have made it through their first year in business by sticking to the basic principles. Both Joes state that Allied has been able to survive on trustworthiness and reliability when dealing with all customers. By guaranteeing each job 100% and offering 24/7 emergency services, they truly put that statement to the test. Based on reviews they have received from past customers, Allied is known for taking the extra steps needed to ensure they leave everyone in good hands. When the job is completed, their relationship with the customer does not end; they regularly make follow up calls to ensure everything is running smoothly and they are always available for consultation. Their thorough service recently landed them one of the largest commercial accounts in the area, which is an impressive feat considering the short amount of time Allied has existed. By taking advantage of HVAC services such as those performed by Allied, homeowners could enjoy a healthier, more financially secure life. Most of us understand how allergies can affect our lives on a day to day basis and some of the more common allergic reactions are brought upon by dust, pollen and animal dander. Those who take the necessary measures to improve the ventilation system in their home will help alleviate some of those allergy symptoms. It is Alliedâ€™s goal to improve the air you breathe by performing their duct cleaning services and installing proper filtration. Cleaning and filtering your system is also imperative in keeping you and your family safe from fire hazards. Of course, health improvement is the most significant impact brought upon by HVAC maintenance and installation, but financial benefits follow closely behind. Some of the largest expenses homeowners face on a monthly basis are energy costs, which can be lowered significantly when improving the efficiency of their HVAC system. When using an older system, the amount of fuel being burned is far less effectively utilized than that of one that is brand new. In many cases, within a handful of years, the amount of money saved in energy bills winds up covering the cost of a new system. In recent years, National Grid has even given homeowners rebates for installing high efficiency systems in their homes. For such a new company, Allied has performed a diverse number of jobs over the past year including: duct cleaning, installation of furnaces/air conditioning, boilers and tankless water heaters and gas insert fire places. Some of the most common reviews made by Allied customers are that they are efficient, on time and affordable. They are not only versatile in their services, but stress the fact that they will get it done right the first time. For more info on Allied Heating and Air Conditioning, log on to AlliedHeatingAndAirConditioning.com or call 315-269-9725.
28 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
CENTER STAGE AT THE
With Jerry Kraus Bob Dellecese, a member of the Stanley Theater Board of Directors, is a very active supporter of the theater and the arts. At the Independence Day parade in Utica, Bob posed for this photo with me. Bob is a veteran of World War 2, and he still fits in his uniform from 70 years ago! Thank you Bob Dellecese for your service and your dedication to The Stanley Theater. At the recent ‘Roast and Toast’ of Tim Reed at The Stanley, I had the pleasure of presenting Tim with a beautiful framed photo of The Stanley Theater, as a keepsake for his big night. Tim served as the President of The Boilermaker Road Race for the past 10 years. S.O.S. (Support Our Stanley) BASKET RAFFLE AND SILENT AUCTION Saturday, Nov. 4th from 1:00pm - 5:00pm at the Stanley Theater, Utica. Make plans to be at The Stanley Theater for the 2nd Annual ‘Support Our Stanley’ fund raiser, featuring a basket raffle, silent auction, live music and more! This event is being organized by The Stanley Theater Volunteers and will feature a wide variety of raffle basket items and themes like chocolate, kitchen, pets, crafts, sports, Christmas and much more, plus food and drinks will be on sale, as well as beer tasting from Saranac and wine tasting by Villa Verona Winery. We will also be featuring a wine-pull. Live music for the event will be provided by the band Vinyl Vibe. Admission for this event is $5.00 if purchased in advance or $7.00 if purchased at the door. KENNY G IS COMING TO THE STANLEY ON SUN, NOV. 5th! Grammy Award Winning saxophonist Kenny G will be performing live at The Stanley Theater on Sunday, November 5th at 7:30pm, sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and AOW Associates. This is a benefit concert event for The Stanley and Valley Health Services (VHS). The concert is part of Kenny G’s ‘Miracles, Holidays & Hits’ tour,and it is the tenth in a series of co-promoted concerts by The Stanley and Valley Health Services. Tickets are on sale now and range from $35.00 - $45.00 - $65.00. Additional service charges may apply. To purchase tickets come to The Stanley Theater Box Office Monday through Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm, give us a call at (315) 724-4000 or go to www.TheStanley.org. Inquire also about a special pre-concert dinner being offered at the Radisson Hotel
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The Croton Aqueduct
From Axeman To Great American Engineer
John B. Jervis by Dominick Velardi
When a person or place from our area is recognized and respected on the big stage, it creates a sense of pride in us. When I say “big stage” I mean, recognition on the national or international level. There have been many instances where people or events related to our area have managed to achieve this level of stardom. I think we can all agree; a person does not have to be the center point of a hit movie, song or special event to reach this level of fame. The awesome thing about writing and reading of these proud topics, is the vision or inspiration it gives us for the future. One such person that has reached and earned a high level of recognition from our area is John B. Jervis. He was able to achieve a standard of excellence on three fronts; canals, railways and water supply systems. John Bloomfield Jervis, was born in Huntington, NY (37 miles east of Brooklyn) on December 14, 1795. John was the oldest of seven children born to carpenter Timothy Jervis and his wife Phebe Bloomfield – Jervis. The Jervis family
30 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
moved to Rome, NY (then known as Fort Stanwix) in 1798. Growing up, John attended local schools and worked on the family farm and his father’s sawmill until he was 22 years-old. In each of the endeavors that John B. John B. Jervis Jervis was a participant, his contributions were worthy of a story in themselves; however, due to the number of pages in our publication, we cannot recognize them all.
Erie Canal At 22 years old, John was hired to work as an axeman on the Erie Canal. On the project, it was the responsibility of an axeman to clear a path of trees and brush four feet wide. At his new employment, Jervis worked under the command of Chief Engineer Benjamin Wright (declared the Father of American Civil Engineering by the American Society of Civil
Engineers in 1969), who also migrated to Fort Stanwix with his family from outside the area in 1789. Due to Jervis’ strong work ethic and ability to learn, by 1818, he was given an opportunity to work as a rod man. It is a rod man’s duty to assist the surveyor. Among other responsibilities, he may be asked to carry equipment or clear any brush or trees from the surveying area. It was in this position that John Jervis began to Benjamin Wright study surveying and engineering; much of which was self-taught. His continued ability to elevate his skills led John to the position of resident engineer; which included a seventeen mile stretch of the canal project from Madison to Onondaga county.
The first steam locomotive to operate in America: the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and the Stourbridge Lion When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, Benjamin Wright was given the job as chief engineer of the Delaware and Hudson Canal project and offered Jervis the position of assistant engineer. The main purpose of this canal was to transport coal from Pennsylvania to the Hudson River with the destination of New York City. Two years later, when Wright resigned, Jervis was named the new chief engineer of the project. At a time when Right: Horatio Allen
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there were no railroads in America, Jervis recommended that the concept should be incorporated in the Delaware and Hudson Canal project for which he won approval. In 1828, a former co-worker by the name of Horatio Allen (Schenectady, NY) was sent to England to research railroads. Through Allen, Jervis sent his design plans for a locomotive that could be used for the Delaware and Hudson. Allen sent notice to Jervis that four locomotives in all were ordered, one would be made by Robert Stephenson and Company and the other three by Foster, Rastrick and Company. The name “Stourbridge Loin” was chosen for two reasons: the locomotive was manufactured in Stourbridge, England and there was a lion painted on its nose. When the Stourbridge Loin arrived in America it needed to be assembled. On August 8, 1829, the Stourbridge Loin, which was
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The Stourbridge Lion
designed by a man from Rome (Jervis), was assembled and test driven by a man from Schenectady (Allen). This steam locomotive was the first ever in American history. The Delaware and Hudson project was one of the nation’s first one million-dollar ventures.
Mohawk and Hudson Railroad
In 1831, John B. Jervis was chosen as the Chief engineer for the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad to replace Peter Fleming who had recently resigned. This railroad was to travel from Schenectady at the Erie Canal to Albany at the Hudson. When the railroad opened in September 1831, it was the first in New York State and one of the first in the country. It was in this position that Jervis designed a new Locomotive type called the 4-2-0 (wheel arrangement). The configuration of this locomotive consisted of 4 wheels leading on two axle swiveling trucks, two larger driving wheels on one axle and no trailing wheels. This wheel arrangement was later known as the Jervis type and would be used in the United
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States between the 1830s and the 1850s. Jervis used this wheel configuration on a new locomotive he designed that was called the Experiment. This railroad would eventually become the Albany and Schenectady Railroad before being merged with the New York Central Railroad in 1853.
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Above top and above right: The High Bridge is the Croton Aqueduct at the Harlem River.
The Chenango Canal
In 1833, Jervis would take on the position of chief engineer of New Yorkâ€™s Chenango Canal Project. Again, Jervis played a huge role in designing this 97-mile canal that travelled from Utica, through Clinton, Hamilton, Sherburne, Norwich
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and other towns until it reached Binghamton. The Chenango would connect the Erie Canal with the Susquehanna River and was completed by 1837 and operated until 1878.
The Croton Aqueduct In 1836, John Jervis was chosen as the chief engineer of a water distribution system for New York City. The Croton Aqueduct System that took from 1837 until 1842 to complete, was New York City’s main source of drinking water and remained in service until 1955. This system would be a gravity forced water distribution system and one of the first of its kind. The system would take water from the Croton River and bring it 41 miles to reservoirs in Manhattan. This project would include the designing and building of a dam, aqueducts, tunnels, piping, and reservoirs. To carry the water over the Harlem River, the 1,450 foot long High Bridge (also known as Aqueduct Bridge and the oldest bridge in NYC) was designed by John Jervis and James Renwick and completed in 1848. It is interesting to note that James Renwick went on to design the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Another structure that was designed by Jervis and his team from 1837 to 1842 was the Croton Dam (now known as the Old Croton Dam). The Croton Dam was the first large
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Murray Hill - Croton Reservoir
masonry-constructed dam in the United States. The design of the dam was used in the United States for many years following its construction. The Croton Reservoir (also known as Murray Hill) along with the aqueduct system made its debut on July 4th, 1842 (temporary pipes were used until the bridge was completed in 1848). The reservoir came at a cost of approximately $500,000 and was also designed by John Jervis and James Renwick. This reservoir remained in service until 1900, and at that time, it was razed; portions of it are still visible as part of the foundation of the New York Public Library in New York City (Main Branch). In 1846, Boston wanted to accomplish a similar system as the Croton Aqueduct by bringing water into the city from the Cochituate River. The city decided to hire John Jervis as a consulting engineer for the Boston water system; a position he would serve from 1846 to 1848. John B. Jervis’ resume would continue to grow into 1850 and the early 1860s when he assumed a position as chief engineer of the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad. Jervis also obtained the position of chief engineer for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad and company, a firm he would also serve as president from 1851 to 1854. In 1864, Jervis retired to his estate in Rome, NY. Even in his retirement, he would go on to help form the Rome Merchants Iron Mill in 1869 (later known as the Rome Iron Mill before becoming The Rome Brass and Copper Company). On his passing, Jervis donated his collection of writings and books along with
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a part of his estate to have a library erected in Rome. Today, his home, which at one time belonged to his Uncle John W. Bloomfield, is part of the John B. Jervis Library. In case all the mentioned accomplishments were insufficient, Jervis was also the author of a number of books as well. He was 89 years-old when he died in Rome, NY on January 12, 1885.
The 1401 John B. Jervis
Other Interesting Facts The Delaware and Hudson Railroad built an experiment locomotive in 1927 and named it the 1401 John B. Jervis. The American Society of Civil Engineers (Metropolitan Section) has an award called the John B. Jervis Award. The Delaware and Hudson Canal crossed a portion of a town called Deer Park, this land was also located on the upper part of the Delaware River. The portion of land was legally separated from Deer Park and later renamed Port Jervis sometime in the mid nineteenth century in honor of John B. Jervis. As I said in the beginning of this article, when we hear
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GOLD1403_8001281.indd of someone from our area being recognized and respected on the big stage, it creates a sense of pride in us. I am sure that I did not mention all of John B. Jervis’ accomplishments, but during his time, Mr. Jervis’ contributions to our commerce, water systems, transportation and the sharing of his knowledge through his books and writings are immeasurable. In many of the documents I have come across, Jervis is referred to as the “The Great American Engineer John B. Jervis”. Much of what he learned was selftaught and his motivation to continue learning is one to admire. Anyone that has an appreciation for achievement, cannot help but to appreciate someone like John B. Jervis.
10/5/17 1:44 AM
November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
SI N E S S
For one to excel at their craft, they must be willing to go the extra mile. They never settle for “just enough” to get by, but rather, make a constant effort to enhance their abilities and those of others. When it comes to a given profession, one must invest themselves not only in their own success, but also the overall growth of the profession itself. The Greater Utica area is filled with individuals who perform beyond the call of duty; professionals who devote their lives to their field of choice. Among those dedicated individuals in the local area, is the team of doctors at New Hartford Eye Associates. The practice was founded by Dr. Michael Waterman O.D. and Dr. Steven Ohlbaum O.D., two Optometrists whose original “vision” has grown into something larger than expected. With a fully licensed staff, including two other O.D’s, the practice has come a long way from its starting point in 1999. Dr. Waterman received his diploma from the American Board of Optometry in 1989, and earned his doctorate from The State University of New York College of Optometry in 2013. Dr. Waterman then practiced with Jack Lafferty, O. D. until he retired, assuming responsibility for Dr. Lafferty’s patients, as well as his own. Dr. Ohlbaum earned his doctoral degree from The Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1991 after earning his bachelor’s degree from Oswego State College. Dr. Ohlbaum then joined his father, Paul Ohlbaum, O. D. Outside of their private practice, they each have served such organizations as: The Optometric Association, New York State Optometric Association and they are both Past Presidents of the Mohawk Valley Optometric Society. In 1999, the two decided to become partners and formed Ohlbaum and Waterman Eye Associates in the Village of New Hartford. After building upon their already strong reputation, the doctors were looking to enhance their level of service. In hopes of growing the practice, they moved to their current location at 8374 Seneca Turnpike, they then brought two new doctors on board and changed the name to New Hartford Eye Associates. The bigger, more modernized building they currently occupy allows the practice to serve more patients than ever, while providing a wider selection of eyewear, prescription and non-prescription, contact lenses, and accessories. The two newest additions to New Hartford Eye Associates are a married couple, Dr. Katie Bono O.D. and Dr. Sam Bono O.D. Both doctors received their doctorates from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 2004 and have a long list of impressive internships. Being a mother herself, Dr. Katie has a strong passion and desire for helping children through pediatric eye exams and considers it one of the great joys of her job. Dr. Sam enjoys helping patients with ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes and dry eye. Joining the team of doctors is Practice Manager Denys Meade, CMMP and several licensed opticians, optometric technicians and patient service members. One of the practice’s strongest qualities is that each of its doctors has their therapeutic license; which means they all diagnose and treat many eye-related issues. They strive for a professional, but comforting environment where patients are not treated as numbers, but as family. They place a real emphasis on service, with education being equally significant. The doctors keep themselves educated by understanding changes in treatment and technology, while educating their patients on how to take better care of their eye health. In the near future, New Hartford Eye Associates will be sponsoring an “Eye Room” at the Children’s Museum in Utica, where children will be able to learn some of the essentials of personal eye care through educational models and publications. What the doctors are most proud of is the fact that they have a private practice that is not governed by a large corporation. There is nothing standing in their way when trying to provide the best possible care for their patients. For more info on New Hartford Eye Associates, visit NewHartfordEye.com, call them at 315-797-9091 or visit their office at 8374 Seneca Turnpike in New Hartford.
38 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
The l sic a i r o las m Me tball Ci At the risk d of sounding e r a k l pessis e V a mistic, it is safe to say; with d B B
ra B y
life comes tragedy. When our love for something or someone is so strong that we place it above ourselves, we cannot imagine bearing their loss. I often ask myself what I would do in such a circumstance but there is only so far your mind will go before blocking out the thought. Optimistically speaking, it is often true that tragedy itself breeds strength and shows us we are not bound by limitations we have set for ourselves. While it up to us personally to continue the fight, sometimes, we need other people to show us we have something worth fighting for. It is typically the most selfless individuals who are able to persevere; they understand there are other people who depend on them and know they have to pick up the pieces. When we see one of those special individuals who go through such personal tragedy, we’re left to wonder how they can possibly go on. It begs the question, “Where do they find the will to move forward?” They serve as a form of inspiration to us, they show us that it is possible to overcome the unimaginable and teach us to appreciate everything we are blessed to have in our lives. Perhaps it is true that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. There are few people you will meet in your life that are as familiar with personal tragedy as Utica natives, Tom and Joanne Torchia. As a longtime local business owner and athletic coach, Tom has been a recognizable face in the area for many years. It has been 17 years since the loss of his son, Anthony, but instead of allowing the pain to get the best of him, Tom continues to affect the people of his community in a positive way. Just months after Anthony’s passing, Mohawk
Picture courtesy of the MVCC Hawks Website
Valley Community College held the very first Anthony Torchia Memorial Basketball Classic tournament, keeping the name of a fine young man alive. “Like any father would say about their son; Anthony was a good kid.” Says Tom. “You could probably line up 100 people and they would all say the same thing.” As a kid growing up in the Greater Utica area, Anthony had friends from all different backgrounds. He was easy going and well-liked by everyone from his peers to older kids and adults alike. Similar to his dad, Anthony had a love and passion for sports; in particular, he loved the game of basketball. As an electrical engineering major at MVCC, things were going well for Anthony and the Torchia family. It was that year, in 2000, that an automobile accident took his life at the age of 19, leaving Tom and his wife, Joanne, shocked and devastated. While they had been dealing with the worst emotional pain one can feel, Tom and Joanne knew they had to look at the big picture. “You have to find whatever it takes to get you up the next day. For some people, its God. For some, it is their partner and their kids; that was my motivation, family.” Says Tom. At the time of Anthony’s passing, Tom and Joanne had two 1-year-old twins, Taylor and Thomas, who needed their parents. Tom and Joanne felt as though they had no choice but to be strong for their kids and provide them with the upbringing they deserved. Without the support of friends and family, it would not have been possible. Just a few months after Anthony passed, Tom was approached by coaches Bobby Allison and Phil Gaffney, who had come up with an idea that would not only benefit incoming students but ensure that Anthony was never forgotten. Knowing that Anthony and Tom shared a mutual
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love for basketball, Allison and Gaffney suggested that MVCC hold an annual tournament that would benefit a scholarship fund in Anthony’s name. Moved by the sentiment, Tom gratefully approved of the idea and the school agreed to organize the event. It was friendships like the one Tom shared with Bobby Allison (Taylor’s godfather) that helped ease the Above: Anthony Torchia pain a bit. He was also blown away at the level of loyalty the school had shown to one of its students. Best of all, Anthony’s named would be directly linked to a scholarship awarded to an incoming freshman entering his desired field; electrical engineering. For the 17th consecutive year, the Anthony Torchia Memorial Basketball Classic will be held at the main gym at MVCC from November 3rd through the 5th. Competing in the men’s bracket will be: MVCC, North Country Community College, Rockland Community College and New York International Academy. Competing in the women’s bracket will be: MVCC, North Country Community College, Schoolcraft College and Monroe Community College. All proceeds from the concessions to the entry fee go directly to the scholarship fund. To qualify, students are required to write an essay stating why they are worthy of the award and the winner is presented with the scholarship at a banquet at the end of the school year. As the current assistant coach of the MVCC Women’s Basketball team, Tom gets a front row seat to watch his daughter, Taylor, compete on the team. “It’s her first year competing in her brother’s tourna-
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ment, which makes it a little more special for me.” Says Tom. Hawks have 3 times finished the season as the #2 ranked team Coaching has been one of the outlets that has kept in the entire country among all junior colleges. Each of the Tom’s mind occupied over the years. Whether it’s been the time past three years, they have been finished ranked #3 under Tom he has spent volunteering with neighborhood kids or coaching and head coach Jason Carpenter. With a healthy mixture of at the high school, AAU and college levels, it has helped him talented Freshmen and Sophomores, this may be the year they fulfill his love for teaching kids. finally capture the national championship. What better way “I always tell kids; your team is a microcosm of life.” Says Tom. to start that journey than a 1st place trophy from the Torchia “We don’t always expect them to like each other off the court, Classic? but you don’t always like the people you work with either.” He It would be nice if life were like a fairy tale and all was continued. “The thing is, we try to build a team network and happy in the end, but unfortunately, true tragedy does not understanding that if you don’t get help from your teammates, leave a bruise that heals; it leaves a scar. it doesn’t matter how good are, this thing won’t work. Hard “I don’t think you ever get over it, you just get better work and teamwork that’s what gets it done.” at fooling people.” Says Tom. “Sooner or later, none of the The young ladies on the MVCC team hold a special place in distractions are there for at least an hour, and the loss is left Tom’s heart. He apprecithere to resonate with you.” He ates the fact that the job continued. “When that time hits, has put him in situations if it’s at 3AM; you can’t coach, to meet people he othyou can’t do any of those things. erwise may have never That’s when you have to find come across. At the besomething that says, ‘I have to go ginning of his coaching to bed, wake up, take a shower career, he developed a and start the next day.’” particularly special bond Although Tom and Joanne with one of his players. cannot avoid the reality of their “I have one girl I situation, they find peace and coached who is like my happiness in watching Taylor and daughter. She is from Thomas. They can rest knowing my first year of coachthat the lives of young people ing we consider each have been changed for the better other family; father and by an award bearing their son’s daughter. Because of name. There are kids who will basketball, two people have a little easier path going to from completely differcollege in Anthony’s name. That’s ent backgrounds came the type of person he was always The Torchia family from L to R: Joann, Taylor, Tom and Thomas together, met and are trying to help. Even though he is now family.” “I keep with his parents only in spirit, one in touch with a lot of my ex-players, on the phone, Facebook, thing is for sure; as long as that special tournament is held in texting, visits, anything no matter where they are, I’m always a the heart of autumn, the name of Anthony Torchia lives on. call away. Like we say, ‘MVCC Hawks family forever!’” Contributions to the Anthony Torchia Memorial Scholarship In the years he has spent as assistant coach at MVCC, fund can be sent to Torchia P.O. Box 387 Utica, NY 13503. the team has been incredibly successful with little recognition from the public. Over the 9 years he has been on staff, the Lady
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Picture of Lincoln Laundry - Lincoln Ave. Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
The Streets of the West
by Dominick Velardi
the twist in the story but I really wanted to talk about some of our area’s earliest roads and the explanation behind their names; which I found to be both educational and fun. This article is going to be about street names in the western part of Utica but I will throw a couple teasers out there for the East and South. Speaking of East, Utica once had an East Street and the road is still in use today. East Street today is now known as Tilden Avenue and once upon
Even with the most creative imagination, our local ancestors would not have been able to envision the modern roads and transportation we all enjoy today. Our first local settlers made their voyage through the thick wilderness, or if they were lucky, found a trail or path to travel by. The early settlers didn’t have the GPS systems we take for granted, and unfortunately, no satellites were tracking their horses every move. Once these ancestors found the picture perfect place to build their cabin, they were burdened with the hard labor of clearing the way of the uninhabited land. It wasn’t long before these pioneers realized they needed some sort of a passageway, even if these primitive roads’ only purpose was to offer a route to their neighbor’s home. By today’s standards, it is hard to comprehend that these pioneers’ travels may have took days, weeks or months, when we can jump into our car and travel down any road and get to a local store in minutes. Let us not forget the fact they had to find a shallow part in a stream or river (a ford) when crossing to the other side because there were no bridges. House of the Good Shepherd -Picture Courtesy of the Utica Public Library As more settlers arrived in the area, additional time a time the House of the Good Shepherd was located on the was dedicated to building and improving roads. By this northwest corner of East and Bleecker Streets. Okay, one time, you may think this writing is about the evolution of more for the East side and that’s it; before it adopted the our roadways from past to present but it is not. Sorry for
43 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - November 2017
name Saint Anthony Street, the road was named Buffalo Street. Maybe, now it makes more sense that the next street going east is Niagara. Here is one for the southern part of Utica; On part of the southern boundary of Utica was Slayton Road, later renamed Pleasant Street. Pleasant Street used to run past Genesee Street; meaning, the Pleasant Street name didnâ€™t change to Burrstone as it does now and the road ended at Chenango Avenue (we will get to that road a little later in the
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story). One other thing about Pleasant street; it was the southern boarder of Utica, and New Hartford was to the other side. Now on to West Utica. Running north to south from Whitesboro Street to Mandeville Streets is Cornelia Street, where the Cooper property once lied. The name of this street derives from Cornelia Graham wife of E. A. Graham and Daughter of Judge Cooper (owner of the property). Cooper Street took the last name of the family, and at one time, ran west from Cornelia then was divided by the Chenango Canal (approximately where the Route 12 North - South runs today) and then continued on the other side to Varick Street. Spring Street, which today runs east to west (parallel to Cooper Street) from Fay Street to Varick Street, is so named because of a spring that supplied the local neighborA name you can Trust.
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Corner of Cooper and Cornelia Streets; this corner does not exist anymore and would be about where the Kennedy Garage is on Cornelia St. Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center.
hood with fresh water. The street names Mandeville and Aiken Streets were taken from the names of Rev. Dr. Henry Mandeville and Rev. Dr. Samuel C Aikens. Mandeville was the second pastor of Dutch Reformed Church and Aikens was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Former local bank President and land enthusiast, Henry Huntington of Rome, is the namesake of a few streets Also interesting, is the number of our schools that took on the names of streets. Perhaps, you have heard of Mandeville School that is on Mandeville Street? The building still stands today.
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of his own on his former property. Henry Street, which runs west from Hart Street to Francis Street, was named after the Roman. He also named Huntington Street, which runs north to south from Court St. to the corners of Columbia and Varick Streets. In the same area as the Huntington property, was
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Being a resident of Rome, Huntington also named one of his streets Rome Street (blue circle). Today, the street with two turns is a one way and known as Carton Avenue. On this map you may notice other streets that either no longer exist or have changed over the years. You may also notice points of interest that have moved or are no longer in existence.
Highlighted in light blue is the Chenango Canal (approximately where today’s north south arterial runs). Running parallel to the canal is Chenango Avenue which is known as Lincoln Avenue today. Today, Noyes Street continues on the other side of the arterial. Back in the day of this map (c. 1870s), Hickory Street continued on the other side of the Canal . Maybe now it makes sense that Noyes is in the middle of Maple, Walnut and all the other streets named after trees.
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The Trinity Lutheran Church on Hamilton St.; both of these buildings still stand today.
Tracy Street is named after Charles and William Tracy (brothers and sons to Rachel Huntington–Tracy who was sister to Henry Huntington). Noyes Street was named after Curtis Noyes. The Tracy brothers and Noyes were all distinguished attorneys. Varick Street is named after Abraham
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Varick, who had purchased multiple properties in Utica with A. B. Johnson. On the Varick and Johnson property, Utica stagecoach pioneer Jason Parker also has a couple streets named after him. Jason Street, which runs north to south between Whitesboro and Erie Streets, also intersects about half way up with Parker Street. Traveling further west, there is Ann Street running east to west from Churchill Avenue to Nye Street; it is named after the wife of Abraham Varick.
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There was a time when I would not have given a second thought about the name of a street. I have been by Spring Street many times without realizing it was named after the fresh water it offered the neighborhood. Who would have thought there was an intersection of two roads that complete the name of a local man (Jason Parker) that made his mark in American history? These streets are not the only ones we have in the city that offer a story to be told; there are many more in the western part of our city as well as our county! I will leave you with one more street that was renamed in the west. Garden Street was given its name because it was the location of an agricultural garden that sat on its borderline; today we know this street as Sunset Avenue. Please let us know if you enjoyed this segment on streets names; you can email us at email@example.com. If you liked it, we have many more we would love to share with you.
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Please Mention this Ad November 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE 47
Published on Oct 31, 2017
The 200th Anniversary of the Ernie Canal from Utica to Rome. Rome's John B. Jervis, Canal, Aqueducts and Railroads. Patriots Walker and Coch...