Virtual Walking Tour of Ilion During the Era of Progression & Improvement and Urban Renewal – June 17, 2018
The virtual walking tour route –
Leave the Municipal Building and walk down the old section of Morgan Street toward the Remington Arms Federal Credit Union in the pedestrian walkway. This is where the tour actually begins because that is where old Main Street was located. We will walk up the pedestrian walkway (old Main Street), making several stops along the way. Then we will briefly stop by the fire station driveway before going to the corner of Otsego and old Main Streets where Berkshire Bank is located. The tour will continue south along Otsego and then down First Street before heading back to the Municipal Building.
View of Main Street Looking West Prior to the Era of Progression and Improvement
There are several wooden buildings lining Main Street. In the left foreground at the corner of Main Street and Morgan Street is the Russell House, an Ilion Hotel in the late 1800s. On the south side of Main Street at the corner of Morgan is a livery stable Directly across the street from the Russell House along the Erie Canal on the north side of Main Street is Morgan’s Mill.
View of Main Street Looking Southeast During the Era of Progression and Improvement
The two brick buildings at the corner of Main Street and Morgan Street were occupied by the Tucker File & Cabinet Company, which eventually merged with its sales agent, Clarke & Baker, and using the latter as its name. The wooden structures in the background would be replaced with brick structures by the 1920s.
View From Main Street Looking West Before Urban Renewal
From Wagner Shoes on the south side of W. Main Street to the corner of West Street in the far background, the buildings were razed to allow for construction of the new Central Plaza.
View From Main Street Looking Southwest During Urban Renewal
Slated for demolition, a fire ravaged the National Auto Store building on Main Street before it was razed. The new Lennox Bros. Pharmacy/Warner’s Men’s Shop building is adjacent to it
View of J’s Children’s Clothing Looking South After Urban Renewal
The J’s Children’s Clothing store was built in the new Central Plaza during Urban Renewal. This is the rear entrance to the building, which faces the pedestrian walkway constructed on the old Main Street that went through this area prior to Urban Renewal.
View of W. Main Street Looking Southwest Prior to the Era of Progression and Improvement
The H.J. Fagan, a grocer, owned his business on Main Street between Union and Morgan. A wagon is traveling west on Main Street collecting garbage.
View From W. Main Street Looking Southwest During Urban Renewal
The Wagner Shoes, Home Service Grocery, Bonn’s Sport Shop, and National Auto buildings were razed to allow for the construction of the new Central Plaza.
View From Main Street Looking South During Urban Renewal
This building, Bonn’s Sport Shop, is being demolished to allow for the construction of the new Pedestrian Mall and the rerouting of Main Street.
View From Old Main Street Looking Southwest During Urban Renewal
The foundations for the new Warner’s Men’s Shop and Lennox Bros. Pharmacy have been laid on old Main Street in what would become Central Plaza.
View of Union St Looking South Before the Era of Progression and Improvement
This is a view of Union Street c.1885 before the building boom during Ilion’s Era of Progression and Improvement. Known for its several saloons, the long building on old Union Street was called the “Ten Commandments”. On the right corner of Union and Main Street was the Lewis Meat Market, which would later become William Marsland’s furniture store, Niagara Mohawk, Ilion Savings & Loan, and today Seco Physical Therapy. On the left corner the Paolo/Frateschi Building would be built shortly after this photo was taken. Later Grant’s and the Public Loans businesses would be in this location. Today, Dr. Stephen May, Woolner Family Eye Care, and All Valley Smiles are located in a building at this location.
View from Main Street Looking South at Union Street
This portion of Main Street from where this view is from is for pedestrian traffic only and Union Street no longer exists. It is now a parking lot. The Ilion Savings and Loan Association survived Urban Renewal, but a physical therapy facility is now located in this building.
View Looking South From W. Canal Street During the Era of Progression and Improvement
Do you remember the W.T. Grant Co. store and Public Loan Co. on Main Street in Ilion? Looking primarily south from W. Canal Street, this photo shows the building of the Paolo/Frateschi Block on Main Street back in 1885. The right side of the building with the arched window frame is on the corner of Main and Union Streets. Built during a time when Ilion went through an “era of progression and improvement”, the structure would eventually house many businesses over the years including but not limited to grocery, tailoring, sporting goods/music, and the Grant’s “five and dime” store beginning in the late 1920s. In the foreground of the photo you can see a packet boat on the old Erie Canal. Today, the building in this location is occupied by All Valley Smiles, Inc., Woolner Family Eye Care, and Dr. Stephen May, DDS. #ilionfpl #ilionny #ilionhistory#throwbackthursday #tbt
View of Main Street Looking Southeast During Urban Renewal
At the corner of Union Street and Main Street, the W.T. Grant Co. building, along with the others eastward to Otsego Street except the Oneida National Bank on the end, were razed during Urban Renewal to make way for the new Central Plaza.
View From Main Street Looking East During Urban Renewal
The view from the west looking east is showing the demolition of the W.T. Grant Co. building. The area became part of the new Central Plaza.
View From Main Street Looking Southwest Prior to the Era of Progression and Improvement
The Osgood Hotel building is in the foreground left with the A.P. Redway dry goods business located within the hostelry. To the west is Jepson’s Newsroom where books and stationery could be purchased.
View from Bridge Square Looking Northeast During the Era of Progression and Improvement
|The bridge in the foreground would be replaced with a lift bridge in 1897. The Central Hotel is just north of the bridge on the east side of Railroad Street. In the right center background was the Remington Agricultural Works/Typewriter building.|
View from the Fire Station on Central Avenue Looking Northeast Prior to Urban Renewal
The building in the foreground was the old Central Hotel. This building and the others next to it were demolished to allow for Central Avenue to connect with Otsego Street. A gas station would eventually be built in this location.
View of the Hotaling Building Looking North Prior to the Era of Progression and Improvement
The Hotaling Building included the grocery store on the right and Wilcox Fine Clothing on the left. The building was located on Main Street opposite Otsego Street.
View From Otsego Street Looking North Toward Main Street During the Era of Progression and Improvement
These buildings along Main Street, Wilcox Block on the left and the Hotaling Block on the right, were built using brick. The building in the center is part of a longer wooden structure that was once located on this site prior to construction of the new Wilcox and Hotaling business blocks. It was razed when the Union Block was built in 1896.
View From Otsego Street Looking North During Urban Renewal
Preparations for demolition were made to the buildings on Main Street north of Otsego Street in the Urban Renewal project area.
View from Main Street Looking Northwest During Renewal
The buildings on the north side of Main Street are being demolished to allow for the connection of Otsego Street with Central Avenue.
View From Otsego Street Looking Northwest During the Era of Progression and Improvement
Many of the brick buildings on the west side of Otsego Street were built in the 1880s and 1890s to make the village safer as a result of several fires in the Ilion in the late 1800s. However, two wooden structures remain between the D.G. Ross Dry Goods and P.A. Stubblebein’s Sporting Goods Store (brick building with awning). The wooden buildings would be replaced with brick structures in the early 1900s. The buildings on Main Street in the right background, the Wilcox, Union, and Hotaling Blocks were built during this era to replace the long wooden structure previously located there.
View From Otsego Street Looking Northwest Before Urban Renewal
These buildings, on the west side of Otsego Street from the corner of First Street on the south end going northward to Lennox Bros. Pharmacy, were razed and the area would become a parking lot for the new Central Plaza.
View from Remington Arms Looking West onto Otsego Street
These buildings on Otsego Street were razed to allow for the construction of a parking lot.
View From Otsego Street Looking Northwest During Urban Renewal
The buildings on the west side of Otsego St. were razed from the corner of First Street, left foreground, to Lennox Pharmacy, right background, to make way for the Central Plaza parking lot.
View From Otsego Street Looking Southwest During Urban Renewal
The pile of rubble on the west side of Otsego Street was the buildings razed to make way for the Central Plaza parking lot.
View from Otsego Street Looking West Down First Street c. 1925
Only the fire hydrant remains! This is a c. 1925 photo looking west at First Street in Ilion from Otsego Street and it shows many buildings that were torn down during Urban Renewal. As many of you are probably aware, the First Street in the photo is not the one of today. During Urban Renewal, First Street was reconstructed and is located slightly south of where the Hall’s pharmacy building is in the left of the picture. In the years before this photo was taken, Hall’s Pharmacy was the Ogden Downs Drug Store. It would later become Baker’s Pharmacy in the 1940s.The building at the right was Leo Fuller’s Variety Store, but later remembered by many as Freeman’s. In the far background the big building on the west end of First Street was the Odd Fellows’ Temple and would later be the site of Fay’s Mall. The lone remaining object still existing today from this photo is the fire hydrant on the right. The next time you go down Otsego Street heading north, that fire hydrant will be on your left just as you pass First Street.
View From Otsego Street Looking West onto First Street Before Urban Renewal
Prior to Urban Renewal, First Street was slightly northward from its current location. The buildings on both sides of the street from Otsego to Morgan Street were razed during Urban Renewal except the Post Office, right background, just east of the Odd Fellows Temple.
View From Otsego Street Looking West Down First Street During Urban Renewal
The buildings on the southern section of Otsego Street to the corner and along First Street were razed. This allowed First St. to be moved south and also make way for the Central Plaza parking lot.
View of the Old Maben Opera House on First Street
This 1970 photo shows the old Maben Opera House building on First Street, with the roof caved in due to heavy snow. It was slated for demolition as part of Urban Renewal, which transformed downtown Ilion. Back in the 1800s, the opera house was regarded as an ultra-modern structure and it was used by many for the old time road shows and for large gatherings. Dr. H.B. Maben built the opera house at a cost of $20,000 and seating capacity was about 1,000. It occupied the second and third stories. Some of the artists that performed there were Julia Ward Howe, Henry Ward Beecher, and Eva Tanqua. Later, the Ilion Sentinel, a local newspaper, had its headquarters in this building. The Odd Fellows Temple is in the far background and would also be razed to make way for Fay’s Mall.