Located on the southern shore of Onondaga Lake in central New York State, Syracuse sits at the crossroads of the New York State Thruway and Interstate 81. By virtue of its location, Syracuse is a major hub of transportation and shipping by road, rail, sea, and air. The city is also a major regional education center, with Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, Cazenovia College, SUNY - Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Upstate Medical Center, SUNY Empire State College, and Onondaga Community College.

Major employers aside from the various schools and hospitals within the Syracuse Metropolitan Statistical Area include Carrier, Anheuser-Busch, Bristol-Myers, Wegmans, Lockheed Martin, UPS, and Verizon.

Much more entertainingly, Syracuse is home to the Great New York State Fair, Hellfest, a thriving local and regional arts community featuring a theater company, an opera, and a symphony orchestra. Downtown Syracuse is pretty much like downtown small city USA, with a couple of cool neighborhoods, shopping area, and bars to suit any mood. Downtown is also home to the excellent Dinosaur Bar-B-Que bar and restaurant, which alone justifies a stop in the city.

Within day trip distance is the Turning Stone casino, Onondaga Lake, the Finger Lakes region (try the wine), Seneca Falls, and Ithaca.

Syracuse, New York is located in Onondaga County at 43.07° north, 76.07° west. It has a population of about 150,000.

The land around present day Syracuse, New York was originally the home of the Haudensaunee, or the Onondaga Nation. They were members of the Iroquois Confederacy, which spanned most of Upstate New York.

French missionaries arrived in the area in the 1600's, and founded a missionary on the edge of the lake. They named this lake Onandaga after the natives. After the American Revolution, large tracts of land were set aside in the area around the lake to reward the veterans. Ephraim Webster, a veteran from New Hampshire, came to the area and set up a trading post on banks of Onandaga Creek. This spot became known as Webster's Landing.

While the arriving settlers soon converted the area all around the lake to farmland, the marshes around the lake were left alone. This was because of their high salt content, which made the land completely undesirable for farming. However, the salt would soon cause a huge boon for the area, as shops were set up to boil off the water and retrieve the salt for the preservation of food. The "salt yards" near Onondaga Lake were soon contributing 85 percent of the nation's salt production.

Before Syracuse got it's current name, it was called Bogardus Corners, after the owner of the local inn. When he sold the inn, the town was renamed Cossit's Corners after the new owner. Due to this constant rollover, and the town's desire to have a post office, the name "Syracuse" was settled on. The idea came from John Wilkinson, who suggested a similarity between the area and the city of Siracusa in Sicily.

The swampy land around the lake also made it an ideal location to build a section of the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825. The stretch through Syracuse went right through the developing downtown area, and soon the city and the canal were both physically and economically inseparable. Syracuse was clearly the dominant city in the area, and started to absorb smaller villages. In 1848, Syracuse merged with the village of Salina and incorporated into New York State as the City of Syracuse.

After the American Civil War, the salt industry began to decline, which brought an economic depression to the area. The industry in the area was soon reformed around light goods production that could be sent out to other markets on the canal. Prominent among these new industries was the Syracuse China Company (which became popular after the company patented the production of translucent white china in 1890), and the Baumer Candle Company (which makes candles for the Vatican). As the industry slowly emigrated to the outskirts of town, the downtown area was redeveloped for commerce. This development centered on Salina Street, where retail shops soon began to open.

In 1841, Syracuse hosted the first New York State Fair. It drew between 10000 and 15000 people its first year. The fair site moved around New York State until 1890, when the fair made the Empire Expo Center in Syracuse its permanent home. As with all agriculture in the area, it took a downturn in the last 20th century, but the fair has been revitalized by state funds, and is once again making a profit. It reached a attendance milestone by drawing over a million people during the 2001 season.

In 1870, Syracuse University was founded. It was set up as a private, co-educational university offering degrees in natural sciences and language. After some initial hard time, the college began to grow, and is now a world-class university with over 12000 undergraduate students and 5000 graduate students. SU is also home to the Carrier Dome, which is the largest domed stadium in the Northeast.

Syracuse's contributions:

Rational Bastard - Also, you might want to mention Danny Biasone, who was involved with the Syracuse Nationals NBA organization and invented the 24-second shot clock.


Resources:
http://www.syracuse.ny.us
http://www.syracuse.com
http://www.nysfair.com

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