Sunday, June 13, 2010

Piercefield Historic House Tour

As part of a tour sponsored by the Onondaga Historical Association, I had the pleasure to visit several structures in the Piercefield neighborhood, near Syracuse, NY. Piercefield is an enclave of homes located in Solvay.  The area was first developed by Solvay Process founder Frederick Hazard and was part of his "gentleman's farm" known as Upland Farms.  Upland Farms consisted of a massive mansion designed by J. L. Silsbee and numerous outbuildings, stables, and other farm and entertainment structures designed by architects, Merrick & Randall.  The remarkable mansion is long gone, demolished after it was sold by the Hazard's in 1939.  All of the structures in the area seemed to have been designed with the mansion in mind as they all share an English Tudor and Arts & Crafts aesthetic.

In the early 1900's, Edward Pierce developed a portion of the Upland Farms estate for his own home and gardens.  The remainder of the property was subdivided by designs of F. L. Omsted & Sons and additional substantial homes were built for Hazard family members and Solvay Process managers.  

The Pierce Mansion, Henry Wilkinson, architect.
Pierce's mansion (above) and two of the Pierce Estate outbuildings are pictured below.  The mansion was designed by Henry Wilkenson, an architect and former draftsman of Craftsman Homes for Gustav Stickley.

The Pierce Barn, an out building from the Pierce Estate.
The Pierce Carriage House, an out building from the Pierce Estate.
The Upland Farms tennis courts and gymnasium.
Detail of the gymnasium porch.
Some of the Remnants of Hazard's Estate, Upland Farm, include the tennis courts and gymnasium, a gardener's cottage, stables and caretaker's cottages. All were designed to resemble an English farm.

The Upland Farm gardner's cottage.
The Upland Farm stables.
A groundskeeper's cottage at Upland Farms.


Anonymous said...

As children who lived in the new "infill" homes built in Piercefield after World War II, my friends and I played around, and sometimes in, all these wonderful old places -- there were secluded formal gardens, orchards, gazebos, the overgrown tennis court, deserted farm buildings and an abandoned greenhouse. It made for a magical childhood during the'50s.

Richard Neale said...

My family lived on Orchard Rd. when we were kids. The area surrounding these great homes and estate was our play land from dawn to dusk. We explored all and knew the places like the back of our hands. I can think of no better place to grow up ! Apples and pears, cherries and grapes were the snack of the day while playing whatever type of ballgame was in season,fresh from the trees and vines. If we ran out of things to do,we went to the waste land we called "The Crater". It was the undeveloped land behind the Westvale Plaza. There were large boulders of different stone and after the summer rains, 7 individual ponds would form and fill with poly wogs. We would adventure up there for hours and hours in play. The Orchard-Piercefield area was tops !

pmarc said...

remember to cow tunnel ?

Chris said...

They pointed out the location of the cow tunnels on the tour. I don't think I ever knew what the stables were when I was growing up. I delivered the Post Standard as a kid on Oakridge and Huntshill Rd. What a hike in the winter! My experiences as a kid in that neighborhood were much like Richard's but I am guessing that I grew up at least a generation or more after him.