The Arsenal in Onondaga County
The Arsenal in
by Pamela Priest
Post-Card Collection, various Onondaga County history books, and
the early days, Onondaga was one of the most important military posts
in New York State. In 1808, an act was passed authorizing
the Governor of the State to deposit five hundred stand of arms at
for the defense of the frontier, and such quantities of ammunition and
military stores, as in his opinion would be necessary in case of an
The Governor was also authorized and empowered to provide, at the
of the State, a suitable place for the keeping of said arms and
stores, in good order, and fit for immediate service, and to appoint
of said places of deposit.
In 1809 Cornelius Longstreet deeded the land for the arsenal to the
State of New York. Cornelius Longstreet was the father of
Cornelius T. Longstreet, builder of Yates Castle.
Building Erected in 1810.
The building was
erected in 1810 on a hill half a mile east of Onondaga Valley. It
was an Onondaga limestone structure two and one-half stories high, and
soon after its completion was filled with stores and ammunition sent
there by the secretary of war. It was built by New York State and
used by the United States. Limestone for the construction was
obtained from the quarries on what was part of the House farm. On
its roof were two huge wooden cannons which indicated the purpose of
During the war of 1812 Nicholas Mickles was commissioned by the
government to cast shot and shells for the army and navy. These
munitions of war were stored at the old arsenal and later sent to
Sackett's Harbor and Oswego to be put into use. Jasper Hopper
was a United States Commissary agent for procuring and distributing
rations at the arsenal to the army on its marches to and from the
frontier during the War of 1812. Captain
Beebe owned and kept a tavern near the court house, and in the
war of 1812 kept the arsenal at the valley.
in 1815 after the war of 1812 ended, when the necessity for its
maintenance had passed, but the last time the arsenal was used by the
State was during the Civil War when Brig. Gen. John A. Green of the
National guard, stored a quantity of State arms there.
From Pioneer Times in the Onondaga Country,
by C. E. Smith,
C. W. Bardeen, Publisher, Syracuse, NY, 1904, pg. 12
Syracuse Herald, 8 February 1914, pg. 22
The Old Arsenal - Built 1812 - Onondaga Valley, N.Y.
(from Onondaga County Library Postcard Collection)
Submitted 2 February
Updated 13 March 2006