New Local History Lecture Series

Join us in Library Hall for lectures with Robert Searing, curator of history at the Onondaga Historical Association this spring. This lecture series was made possible in part by a generous cultural programming grant secured by Senator John A. DeFrancisco. Each lecture in this three-part series will cover a different aspect of Syracuse history.


First up on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m., we’ve got a talk entitled Bottoms Up: A Short History of the Brewing Industry in Syracuse. Did you know that beer has been made in the Syracuse area since the 1790s? This lecture will review the history of beer making in our local area, its ties to various ethnic neighborhoods, struggles with the Temperance Movement and the Depression, and its revival in the late 20th century with both local brewpubs and national industrial giants.


Next we will learn all about Gustav Stickley and the Syracuse Arts and Crafts Legacy on Wednesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. This program will explore the great traditions that developed early in the 20th century that made Syracuse a center for the national Arts and Crafts Movement. The lecture will include the story of Gustav Stickley as well as the contributions of local architect Ward Wellington Ward, stained glass craftsman Henry Keck and the artists at Syracuse China.


Do you know the history of how our lake came to be the source of water for Syracuse? Our final lecture in this series, Springs, Lakes & Reservoirs: The History of Syracuse’s Water System, will take place on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. Syracuse’s water supply was not always drawn from the crystal-clear depths of Skaneateles Lake. Before that 1890s project, the community struggled with a variety of sources. During this talk, you’ll learn the story of Syracuse’s various attempts to develop a safe and dependable water system and how that was important to the health, safety and economy of a growing American city.


We hope you’ll join us for just one or all of these great lectures! All of these talks, like most of our programming, will take place upstairs in Library Hall. Please be advised that Library Hall is only accessible by stair; there is no elevator. Registration is not necessary for any of these lectures.

Upcoming Events:

Family Movie

Saturday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m.

Ralph and Vanellope discover a Wi-Fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure. Rated PG, run-time 1hr 51min, released November 2018. Free popcorn! No registration.

Family Book Club

Sunday, April 7 at 2:30 p.m.

For families with a child in 1st or 2nd grade, this program encourages family read-aloud time at home and then brings everyone together at the library to talk about the book and do an activity inspired by the story. Our book this month is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. No registration.