This Month in History: Syracuse’s First Hot Air Balloon Flights

Professor Coe Prepares to Leave Clinton Square in Hot Air BalloonIn July of 1847, John Wise made the first balloon ascension in Syracuse from an enclosure on the west side of Salina Street between Fayette and Jefferson streets. An excerpt from his journal read, “Onondaga Lake looked like a tiny fish pond, and the salt sheds around the northwestern part of the town had the appearance of so many market houses strung in parallel rows at different places.” Another balloon trip took place in 1871, when Professor C.C. Coe of Rome took off from Clinton Square and landed in Oneida. Hot air balloons can still be found in Onondaga County today. This year marked the 37th annual Balloonfest at Jamesville Beach. The event draws thousands of people over the course of the weekend who come to see dozens of brightly colored hot air balloons.