The ground floor offices of the Sutton Real Estate Company feature a panel exhibit in their reception area that details the history of this Franklin Square landmark, formerly the factory of the O.M. Edwards Company. The building, built in the early 20th century, once manufactured railroad passenger car windows, metal office furniture, padlocks, bus windows and phone booths. The exhibit also explores the fascinating story of Oliver Murray Edwards, both Syracuse industrialist and poet.
(Private facility, call the Sutton Company for more information)
More about Franklin Square:
Factories once called this neighborhood home as a result of the salt industry, which was centered on Onondaga Lake. After the decline of the salt industry, Franklin Square became home to automobile manufacturing, most notably the H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company. Franklin produced cars in this area from 1902 to 1934.
Franklin Square Facts:
Beginning in the 1920s through his death in 1953, Joseph G. Kren manufactured baseball bats at his plant located at 717 N. Clinton Street. Major league players such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig plus many other minor, semi-pro, college and sandlot players used his bats.
Famous local architect, Charles Umbrecht who helped design the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C., designed a two-story, 50 square foot grain-drying factory at 100 W. Division Street in 1899.
On North Franklin Street near Spencer Street, once stood a five-section telescoping silo that held 5,000,000 cubic feet of gas for the CNY Power Corporation. The structure was built like a telescope so it could fold down as the gas was depleted.
The Monarch Typewriter Factory occupied what is now the site of Mission Landing. They claimed that their machines required such a light touch that users did not suffer from 3 o’clock fatigue.
In 1882, The Syracuse Electric Light and Power Co. (located one block over towards Rte. 81 on what was called Fulton Street) provided the first steam – generated electricity to run 21 arc lamps in buildings along North Clinton Street. Water from the Oswego Canal was used to power these generators.
Easy Washer Plant 4 was located at the corner of Solar and Spencer Streets along Oswego Blvd. They bragged that they sold their washers in all 50 states and 61 foreign countries. As a sideline, they also manufactured rocket motors for the Navy in the 1950s.
The Merrell Soule Company, the original owner of this building, was most famous for its ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ mincemeat that consisted of 27 ingredients. They also produced powdered milk and lemonade mixes. Merrell Soule originally canned vegetables using a process that took 60 minutes. This was a vast improvement over the normal 5 to 7 hour process used by homemakers in the 1800s.
For much of the 20th century, the O.M. Edwards Company was located in the area where the Lofts at Franklin Square are presently. They manufactured many metal products, the most unusual of which were phone booths.
The building now known as the Foundry was originally the site of the C.C. Bradley Company. They manufactured the famous Bradley Forging Hammer. This piece of steam-powered equipment was used in the construction of the Panama Canal and the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Just north of the Lofts at Franklin Square stood the largest coal trestles in the city (over 400 feet long). Several railroad cars at a time could go up the covered incline to dispense their coal into huge bins located at ground level. Horse drawn wagons could then load up and deliver coal to many of the homes and businesses in the area.
The large iron wheel hub located at the south end of Plum Street was originally part of a two-story waterwheel that was used to power the pumps that sent brine to the numerous salt manufacturing facilities in that area.
The Clinton Knitting Company, now the home of Dermody, Burke and Brown, billed itself as the ‘Largest Manufacturer of Ribbed Underwear in the World!’ This particular location specialized in the production of “ladies fleece underwear”.