Collection Facts

Extent: 
600 items
Dates of Original: 
c. 1880 - 1980
Collection Owner:
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

The Village of Baldwinsville is located in Onondaga County, New York. The village is named after Dr. Jonas Baldwin, who built a dam across the Seneca River, creating a private canal that kept the water highways prospering and generating energy for the area. Baldwinsville became a flourishing agricultural center during its early settlement and also had small factories around the area. In the early 1900s, Baldwinsville was connected to two larger cities, Oswego and Syracuse, by the Erie Lackawanna Railway. Baldwinsville continues to be a thriving agricultural region today and, along with the Town of Lysander, one of the fastest growing population centers in Onondaga County.

Anthony J. Christopher Sr., a Baldwinsville, New York, native, was a well­-known historian for the Town of Van Buren and responsible for pulling together the historical photographs and ephemera that make up the collection. He was a member of the board of directors of the Onondaga Historical Association, a trustee of the Baldwinsville Library and author of “Sketches of Yesterday,” a column appearing weekly in The Baldwinsville Messenger. Christopher was also a founding member and past president of the Beauchamp Historical Club and took an active role in its projects. Anthony and his wife, the former Carrie Eleanor Tucker, maintained a museum in a barn behind their home, collecting and preserving memorabilia of the Baldwinsville area. The Christophers were awarded a special citation by the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce for “devotion and dedication to the cultivation, enhancement and preservation of Baldwinsville’s heritage.” Christopher died in 1975.

Scope of Collection

The Christopher Collection includes images representing a historical snapshot of the people and places around the towns of Van Buren and Lysander, and the Village of Baldwinsville, New York. Spanning the 19th Century through the 1970s, the images depict the village doctors who charged one dollar per house call; trolleys that moved people from B’ville to Syracuse to Fulton; horse­drawn tobacco wagons; peony and aster farms; the Baldwin Canal; historical buildings, boats, industries and mills on the Seneca River, and much more.