The Fight that Started a City: Syracuse History

Syracuse, NY

The City of Syracuse was the result of a rivalry between the villages Salina, which was also known as Salt Point at the time, and Syracuse. At the southeast corner of Washington and Warren streets stood a two-story frame boarding house, known as Sigel’s Boarding House, later to become Cook’s Coffee House. On January 1st, 1844, Mr. Siegel had planned a dance in celebration of the New Year. Mrs. Siegel was preparing the tables for the supper when a gang of Salt Pointers appeared and made questionable remarks to Mrs. Siegel that so angered Mr. Siegel that he fired a load of buckshot into the jaw of the man who gave the insult. The deputy sheriff, who was unable to stop the ensuing “riot” between the Salt Pointers and Syracusans after the shooting, called upon the militia. The company, sixty-five strong, marched with loaded muskets to the place, and arrested the whole gang and Mr. Siegel. This was the turning point in the opinion of the two villages about the expediency of becoming a city, and wiping out the old feuds that had existed for more than a generation.