Artwork Wednesday: Onondaga Lake’s “Iron Pier”

Art comes in a number of different forms, and today’s featured piece (above) is an advertisement for Onondaga Lake’s Iron Pier at the turn of the 20th Century. Interested in seeing it in person? It’s on permanent display in OHA’s Heart of New York exhibit in downtown Syracuse.

The Art: This poster depicts The Iron Pier, c1890, which was a series of amusement resorts developed along the lake’s northwest shore during the late 19th century. Most of the city’s lakefront was still covered by salt manufacturing. But in 1890, the street railway company built the 500-foot long “Iron Pier” on the south shore, at the end of one of its lines. It was a place to catch steamboats “across the lake” but the Iron Pier also featured dining, bowling alleys, a carousel, billiards and concerts. When suburban rail lines were extended to the other resorts, the Iron Pier lost most of its customers and closed in 1906.

-3cc86ab2a39d782e Then-and-now photos of the Iron Pier resort on the southern shore of Onondaga Lake

Iron Pier at the turn of the 20th century and today.

The Artist (via Meibohmfinearts: “Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY (American, c1871-c1922), were commercial lithographers, engravers, printers, publishers, general book printers, wood engravers, electrotypers, blank book manufacturers, catalog & pamphlet printers, job & commercial printers, and bookbinders. Charles Gies co-founded the company circa 1871 with another Buffalo lithographer by the name of George H. Dunston under the name Gies & Co. and the company continued in business until around 1922. The company was very prolific and produced thousands of labels, trade cards, postcards, calendars, wood engravings, premiums, posters, art lithographs, religious prints, catalogues, pamphlets, general books and were also blank book manufacturers, just to name a few. They also printed several items for the Pan American Exposition which was held in Buffalo, NY, in 1901.”

How it got to OHA – This poster came to us from Helen Heid Platner in October 17th, 1995 – almost 20 years ago to the day. Helen was once an owner of Heid’s, one of the oldest businesses in Liverpool. Her grandfather opened the first Heid’s, a meat market, in 1886. The original business grew and expanded over the years and the first hot dog stand opened in 1917. The business has continued to grow and prosper. Helen, who was born and raised in Liverpool, attended Syracuse University and grew up working at Heid’s.