Local History

BPL Local History Room

The BPL Local History Room 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 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
    • Local newspapers research:
      1846 – 1957 – available on microfilm in the local history room and on New York State Historic Newspapers.
                  Some dates don’t exist, especially during the Civil War Years.
      1958 – 1992 – As part of our 2nd newspaper grant – these have been sent to NYSHN to be digitized. The microfilm will be available in the local history room.
      1993- present – all microfilm reels are in the microfilm cabinet in the local history room or fultonhistory.com
  • 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) 
  • Town Clerks’ Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865 is available in the Local History Room at Baldwinsville Library.
  • Genealogies of Baldwinsville area families
  • Local History Programs on DVD
  • Maps and Atlases
  • Miss Leslie Voorhees collection of cemetery records and several databases of local cemeteries
  • 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 

Online Resources

Baldwinsville Yearbook Collection
This collection includes yearbooks from 1887-2009. They were published by the secondary school in Baldwinsville, NY and contain information about the school, its students, their education and activities. Several yearbooks contain additional inserted materials, including newspaper clippings, photocopies, and pamphlets which are also digitized and included.

Christopher Collection
The Christopher Collection includes images representing historical snapshots of the people and places around the towns of Van Buren and Lysander, and the Village of Baldwinsville, New York. Spanning the 19th Century through the 1970s, depicting images of village doctors who charged one dollar per house call, trolleys that moved people from B’ville to Syracuse to Fulton, horse-drawn tobacco wagons, peony and aster farms, the Baldwin Canal, historical buildings, boats, industries and mills on the Seneca River, and much more.

Gazette & Farmers’ Journal
The Gazette and Farmers’ Journal Fiftieth Anniversary Edition is a souvenir edition of the newspaper published between 1846-1896 by W.F. Morris Publishing Company. It has many articles about noted people, the government, civic organizations and more. The Gazette and Farmers’ Journal Centennial Edition combines the fiftieth anniversary edition with additional material from the next 50 years, 1896-1946.

New York Ordinance Works Collection
The New York Ordnance Works Collection consists of photographs, maps, and official documents related to eight thousand acre land near Baldwinsville that was used during World War II to make “Explosive D” used as armor piercing shells.

New York State Historic Newspapers – Baldwinsville Newspapers
A searchable collection of Baldwinsville area newspapers from the mid-1800s to 1953.  The database also has other newspapers from around NYS.

Other Online Local History Sources

Ancestry Library (by Ancestry.com) and Heritage Quest:  Online resources that provide a wealth of material for anyone researching their family history.  While AncestryLibrary must be used in the library, Heritage Quest can be used from home with an Onondaga County Public Library card and PIN.

Bville Walking Tour 2020 – A guided walking tour of the village of Baldwinsville. Download the brochure here, or print copies are available in the library.

Genealogical and Research Sources in CNY (2018): 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. 

Northern New York Library Network has made available digitized local Baldwinsville Newspapers.

Onondaga County Public Library system catalog: Locate and identify a number of local history titles, some of which may be borrowed.

Oswego-Oneida Historic District Walking Tour of Baldwinsville: Available online and 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.  

PAC-B, Inc.: The Baldwinsville area public access cable channel, they offer videos of the walking tours and local events. 

Walking Tour of Radisson: The Radisson housing developments were built on land that used to be the New York Ordnance Works. This brochure will direct you to points where you can see places where remnants of the NYOW can still be seen. Download the brochure here, or print copies are available in the library.


The Library makes the local Baker High School yearbooks – the Lyre – freely available through the New York Heritage website. This online collection includes all yearbooks except for the past 10 years. We will add newer issues as they reach that 10 year-old threshold.

The Library also owns physical copies of Baldwinsville’s Baker High School yearbooks, known as The Lyre. We have a complete collection of all school yearbooks from the late 1800s to the present in a locked fireproof cabinet, which you can use by request.

An incomplete collection is on the open shelves in the local history room for your convenience. We are interested in completing that “extra” set so that the Lyres in the fireproof cabinet will remain untouched for future generations. Please contact the library if you have older Lyres that you are willing to donate to us or to other Baldwinsville organizations.

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.
  • Food, drink and smoking are not allowed in the local history room.
  • 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.
  • Photocopies may be made of some of the 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.
  • 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 pens are not allowed as ink 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.