The walking tour will be part of the yearly lecture series program. Franklin Square, often called by locals as West Park, is the official name of the park located in the center of the west side of the city bordered between West Cayuga and Seneca Streets and West Third and Fifth Streets. The tour will cover approximately four street blocks through the historic district. It will begin on the corner of West Fifth and Bridge Streets in front of the Beacon Hotel. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
Justin White, board trustee of the historical society and county historian, will be the guide of the tour. The history of the park along with the unique background and architectural style of the surrounding residential homes will be the focus of the tour. The variety of architectural styles and the background of some architects that designed structures will also be mentioned.
"Franklin Square Historic District is so unique as it is the oldest public park in the city of Oswego. The original concept was a public square in the middle of town in the character of New England-style villages. Early parks were typically surrounded with public buildings, churches and fine homes," said White. "Many of these structures still stand. Several of the buildings and homes have many fascinating histories about each one, including ones that have connections with the founding citizens."
The Heritage Foundation of Oswego County was proudly able to have the park and the surrounding neighborhood properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It was the first historic district designated in Oswego County. The tour is free and open to the public.
Prospective historical society members are also encouraged to attend to help the society continue to preserve the area’s rich local history. The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization founded in 1896 and dedicated to the preservation, promotion and interpretation of the historical resources of the county. The society owns and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St. in Oswego, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open for tours Thursday through Saturday from 1 – 5 pm and other times by appointment. For more information visit the website at www.rbhousemuseum.org or contact the museum during regular hours at 315-343-1342.