Local History


The library has a Local History Room that contains a variety of resources about the people and communities of Baldwinsville, Lysander and Van Buren, New York.  Materials are housed in the local history room, which was dedicated to the memory of Donald R. Wilbur, on September 18th of 1996.  Ruth Connell, the Baldwinsville Public Library’s first librarian began the local history collection with the help of the Beauchamp Historical Club.  The collection has grown through the donation of new historic materials, and press releases and photos of community events. 
The Collection includes: 
  • Baldwinsville Newspapers on Microfilm
  • Books, booklets, pamphlets, etc.
  • Directories
  • Environmental Impact Reports
  • An extensive collection of materials on the 1st New York Artillery Regiment, Battery B which served during the Civil War (much of which is available on the computer near the microfilm cabinet) 
  • Geneaologies of Baldwinsville area families
  • Local History Programs on DVD
  • Maps and Atlases
  • Miss Leslie Voorhees collection of cemetary records and several databases of local cemetaries
  • New York Ordnance Works – an extensive amount of materials including declassified maps and photos 
  • New York State Census of Lysander and Van Buren (1855, 1865, 1875 and 1892)
  • The Christopher Collection of Photographs 

Ancestry Plus and Heritage Quest are two computerized resources that provide a wealth of material for anyone researching their family history.  While Ancestry Plus must be used in the library Heritage Quest can be used from home with an Onondaga County Public Library card and PIN.

A search of the Onondaga County Public Library system catalog will identify a number of local history titles, some of which may be borrowed.

There is a Walking Tour of Baldwinsville New York, New York which is available online. Copies are also available in the library.

A section of Oswego and Oneida Street was designated an historic district on the National Registry of Historic Places on July 29, 1982.  National Register Houses in Baldwinsville Walking Tour is available on-line and in the library.

The library and PAC-B, Inc., the Baldwinsville area public access cable channel, have created videos of the walking tours. The Ancestry Plus and Heritage Quest are two computerized resources that provide a wealth of material for anyone researching their family history.  While Ancestry Plus must be used in the library Heritage Quest can be used from home with an Onondaga County Public Librarvideos are available for loan from the library. They can also be purchased for $20, plus shipping and handling, by contacting the library.  There is also a video available about Morris Machine Works, a former Baldwinsville manufacturing company.

Genealogical and Research Sources in CNY 2018 is a handout prepared by the library. It describes the resources and contact information available at other agencies within Baldwinsville and Syracuse, New York. Please note that charges mentioned in the document are subject to change.

OCPL’s Local History and Geneaology materials

Local History Room

Given memory of
Donald R. Wilbur
Teacher, Historian and Mentor
September 18, 1996

Initiated by Ruth Connell, the Baldwinsville Public Library’s first librarian, with the assistance of the Beauchamp Club members, the local history collection focuses on Baldwinsville, Lysander and Van Buren. The collection is continually being enhanced so that information about the past, as well as current events, may be preserved for future generations.

The collection includes:

Baldwinsville newspapers on microfilm
Miss Voorhees Cemetery Records
Newspaper clipping files
Environment impact reports (e.g landfill, 690 bypass)
NYS Census of Lysander and Van Buren (1855, 1865, 1875, 1892)
Federal Census of Clay, Lysander and Van Buren (1840, 1850)
Books, booklets, papers, etc.

The library is interested in the donation of ANY LYRES.  We currently have a complete collection of all school yearbooks from the late 1800s to the present in a locked fireproof cabinet.

 An incomplete collection is on the open shelves in the local history room. We are interested in completing that set so that the Lyres in the fireproof cabinet will remain untouched for future generations.

We also maintain a database of the Lyre collections at the Shacksboro Schoolhouse Museum, the Town of Lysander, and the Central Library. Any extras will be shared with them.

Please help us save our history. 

Local History Rules

Help us preserve the collection for your use and for future generations by following these basic rules:

Sign in at the reference desk.

For purposes of security and climate controls all materials must be used in the local history room and the door must remain closed.

Handle fragile materials with special care.

Remove a book from the shelf by grasping it in the middle of the spine. Pulling from the top does permanent damage to book spines.

Use a bookmark to mark your place. Bending page corners weakens paper and using pencils or other objects stresses the spine. Never lay an open book face down.

Writing or marking in books is prohibited. It damages the book and is a discourtesy to other readers. Ink is not allowed as it is especially destructive. Pencils and separate paper must be used to take notes.

A book is not a desk. Elbows, notebooks and other books belong on the reading table, not on the book. Please place purses, briefcases & other bags under the table.

Coats and jackets are not allowed in the local history room, there is a coat rack near the parking lot entrance to the library.

Paperclips leave rust stains and can tear pages.

Clean hands are basic. Dirt and oils from hand cause permanent stains on paper and attract more dirt.

Bring damaged books to the attention of library staff so they can be mended.

Photocopies may be made of some materials. Requests for photocopies may be made at the reference desk. In some cases it may not be possible to provide the copies immediately, you may pick the copies up at a later time or arrange to have them mailed to you.

Food, drink and smoking is not allowed in the local history room.


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