Historic Buildings & Areas
Downtown Syracuse has the greatest concentration of buildings with
historic, architectural, and aesthetic merit in Central New York. In
recent years, public and private sectors have worked together to
protect, preserve and renew the historic resources of downtown. There
are two lists of historic buildings and districts maintained for this
purpose: the National Register of Historic Places and the list of
buildings governed by the Local Landmark Preservation Ordinance.
National Register was created by the National Historic Preservation Act
of 1966. Buildings placed on the National Register are nationally
recognized for their architectural or historic significance. An
environmental review is required if any change is proposed to a
building in the register. National Register buildings also qualify for
tax benefits if the property owner undertakes a substantial
rehabilitation of the building.
In 1975, the zoning regulations
of the City of Syracuse were amended to include a preservation
ordinance. The ordinance allows for the designation of historic and
architecturally significant properties as protected sites or
collectively as preservation districts. Once designated, significant
changes to these structures must be approved by the Landmark
Preservation Board. There are three major National Register Historic
Districts within downtown Syracuse.
Hanover Square Historic District
Hanover Square Historic District includes buildings along the 100
blocks of East Genesee and East Water Streets, as well as the Grange
Building, State Tower Building, and City Hall Commons along South
Hanover Square was the site
of the village well and Syracuse's first commercial district. It was
the main recruiting area during the Civil War, and the site of a
spectacular bonfire made from recruiting booths at the War's end. In
1871 a huge crowd gathered here to witness the first recorded hot air
balloon ascension in the Syracuse area.
Recently designated a
Historic District on The National Register of Historic Places, the
Square contains a variety of 19th century buildings, some dating back
to 1834 when a fire leveled the original Square. The structures on the
north side of the Square were originally canal loft “double-enders.”
This allowed merchants to hoist goods up into their stores from barges
on the Erie Canal and then lower the goods by pulley and tackle into
wagons in Hanover Square. Extensive renovation of the Square was
completed in the Spring on 1981. Hanover Square now boasts a variety
of retail shops, restaurants, bars and real estate.
Montgomery Street - Columbus Circle Historic District
Montgomery Street - Columbus Circle Historical District consists of the
buildings along the Montgomery Street Corridor from Washington Street,
across from City Hall, to the architecture surrounding Columbus Circle.
Armory Square Historical District
Armory Square Historical District is the area bounded by South Clinton
Street, West Jefferson Street, West Fayette Street, and Onondaga
Creek. A former warehouse and industrial area, the neighborhood began
a renewal in the late 1970s, when “urban poineers“ began to locate in
old, unused warehouses and establish new businesses. Today, an
interesting mix of uses abound in Armory Square, including offices,
retail stores, restautants and night spots, and apartments and
condos. At the heart of the Armory Square Historic District is the
Museum of Science and Technology, located in the renovated New York
- For information on specific buildings, please click on “Historic Buildings & Landmarks“ on the left sidebar.
- To download a printable tour of these locations, please click on “Historic Walking Tour“ on the left sidebar.