Friday, 31 August 2018 17:08

OCHS to Host Walking Tour of Kingsford Historic District

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Pictured is the Kingsford Professional Building, originally built as a stable in the late 19th century for the Kingsford family. Pictured is the Kingsford Professional Building, originally built as a stable in the late 19th century for the Kingsford family. Submitted photo

The Oswego County Historical Society will host a history walking tour of the Kingsford Historic District in Oswego on Sunday, September 16 at 1:30 p.m.

The walking tour will be part of the yearly lecture series program. The Kingsford Historic District is the neighborhood that borders the Franklin Square Historic District in Oswego. It begins south of West Bridge Street and continues to West Mohawk Street and then bordered between West Second and West Fifth Streets, The tour will cover approximately four street blocks through the historic district. It will begin at 177 West Fourth in front of the Kingsford Professional Building. The event is free and open to the public. Comfortable shoes are recommended.

Justin White, board trustee of the historical society and Oswego County Historian, will be the guide of the tour. The history background of this section of the city will be the focus of the tour. The unique architectural style of the residential homes and some of architects that designed the structures will also be mentioned.

"In Oswego the Kingsford Historic District is a unique survival of historic properties that developed in the commercial and industrial prosperity of the second half of the 19th century,” said White. “In 1848 Oswego was a rapidly growing community and officially became a city. That same year an ambitious immigrant from England named Thomas Kingsford came to Oswego with his new discovery and perfection of making a pure starch from corn,” said White. “He revolutionized the way of making starch as a household commodity for laundry and cooking use.” Kingsford and his son Thomson established the Oswego Starch Factory that year and it became the largest corn starch factory in the world and the largest city employer in the 19th century.

“The district is named after the Kingsford family that lived in this neighborhood. They built and owned several properties still proudly standing today,” said White. “The Kingsford legacy is synonymous with Oswego history. There is a park, a school, a local residential development named in their honor. There is also the local monument of the Kingsford Bell Tower that is the only surviving remnant of the factory. It was an appropriate choice,” added White. “This district is unique in a sense, as most historic districts are named after a park that a neighborhood surrounds or a municipal name.”

The Heritage Foundation of Oswego County was proudly able to have the neighborhood properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. It is the most recent one of the seven historic districts designated in Oswego County

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 individually 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 or contact the museum during regular hours at 315-343-1342.

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