Onondaga County Local Sports Collection

Cover Image:
Syracuse Nationals Game at the War Memorial
Syracuse Nationals Game at the War Memorial - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:

Historical Context

Sports have been popular in Onondaga County for generations, long before it was officially established as a county.  In the 1950s, with advancements in technology, sports became further ingrained into daily life for those who could afford a television.  Three sports that were popular in Syracuse at the time were basketball, baseball, and boxing.  The Syracuse Nationals were a NBA basketball team, which played in Syracuse from 1946-1963.  During the 1950s including the 1955 NBA Championship, they had several great NBA players such as Dolph Schayes, Bill Gabor, and Earl Lloyd.  The Chiefs (now the Syracuse Mets) were another major team in the area.  The baseball team was incorporated into the international league in 1934.  But in December 1955 their time in Syracuse briefly ended when the Chiefs returned.  Boxing was another popular sport during this time.  Syracusans young and old enjoyed the sport and the city was home to boxers Joey DeJohn and Carmen Basilio.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains films from NBC news station affiliate WSYR, which changed its call letters to WSTM in 1980.  The films date from the 1950s.  The collection was given to the Onondaga Historical Association in the 1980s.  What you are about to view is a small selection of a larger collection.

This selection covers various sports competitions and activities from the 1950s.  Teams and clubs are of varying levels, from national and university groups to local children's groups.  Some of the sports filmed were basketball, rowing, baseball, and skiing.  In addition to wanting to make these films accessible, some of these films were chosen because their physical states were deteriorating.  The films were originally recorded on 16mm cellulose acetate, or safety film, that breaks down over time.