The relationship between Syracuse and the Erie Canal is well-known, as it is in numerous communities across the state, from Albany, to Lockport, Rochester, Utica and Albany. But the unique story of Syracuse’s salt industry and its vital bond to the canal is much less appreciated. It is a distinctive story that should be highlighted during the current Bicentennial Celebration of the Canal.
In response to that, the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA) has opened a new exhibit on the mezzanine level in the Marriott Syracuse Downtown entitled Brine, Boats & Bureaucrats. The gallery space is accessible from the main lobby elevators.
These stories are explored in the exhibit which features dozens of historical images, a model of a canal freighter, and several original documents from the 19th and early 20th century. Also included are original portraits of James Geddes and Joshua Forman, two local individuals who were critical in helping launch the canal and understood the role that salt would play in its birth and development.
A feature of the exhibition is the highly-prized, 1871 painting of Clinton Square by Moonlight by Johann Culverhouse. It is considered one of the most romantic and famous paintings of the Erie Canal and has recently returned from a year-long exhibition in the New York State Capital.
The exhibit will be available to the public through December 31, 2017