Horatio Seymour School

Update: This school is being torn down- click here to read about it

This beautiful school currently sits vacant in North Utica, NY. It needs to be saved for its beauty and the significance of its name.

Horatio Seymour, known as "The Sage of Deerfield", moved to Deerfield when he was 10 years old. In 1832, we moved to Albany (New York's Capital) to serve as Governor Marcy's military secretary. While in Albany, he met and married Mary Bleecker who had her own connections to this area. This marriage brought Horatio more land in Deerfield as well as political connections which would soon come to help him out. He moved back to Deerfield with his wife after only six years in Albany. In 1842, he became the mayor of Utica. In 1845, he was elected the Speaker of the Assembly for NY and went on to become the state's governor in 1852 as well as for a second term in 1862. Finally, the Democratic Party nominated Seymour as the Democratic Presidential Candidate in the Election of 1868 against Ulysses S. Grant. He lost the the election, though, by about 300,000 votes.

In 1876, he was elected the first president of the Oneida County Historical Society. The society had been formed after the Centennial Celebration of our country emphasized the importance of our history. In 1899, several years after his death, a bonze bust of Seymour was presented to the Historical Society which they kept at their building until the 1960 when they had to move due to urban renewal claiming their site for demolition. The bust was then on display at Seymour school until 1997 at which time it was moved to the present site of the Historical Society.

Thus, Horatio Seymour was a very important political leader from our area. The fact that this school was named in his honor makes it even more special. This school needs to be saved. The structure, other than some vandalism, is in pretty good shape. There are endless possibilities for the development of such a building. I hope to help spread the word with this page for it seems that everyone else ignores it.

The School

Here's what I know about the school building itself. The original part of the structure, consisting of 10 classrooms and a cafeteria, was built in 1923. I also know that was at least one addition, though I'm fairly sure there were two. The one I'm sure of is off the the left in the top picture. It is clearly from the 50's or 60's and contains more classrooms and likely a gymnasium. The other addition I'm not positive of is at the other end of the structure. It is older and looks basically the same as the original. However, the places that the two meet show that it was not likely to have been built at the same time. See the picture below.

I've circled the area that I believe is the seem to the original and the first addition if my theory is correct. You can almost see a seem in the bricks. It is also apparent at the top of the wall where the molding ends as if it was wrapping around the wall which has since been enclosed. The roof line is also at a different level. This picture is taken of the back of the building.

 

This picture shows the school from the other end in the front. If the original school only had 10 classrooms and a cafeteria, it seems that my theory of this being the first addition would have to be correct. This is a long building and certainly would have to have more than 10 classrooms from this end down the where we know the other addition was added. Besides, look at the top photo and try to imagine that this end and the known addition aren't there. The building would be perfectly symmetrical on the front side which would make more sense for a historical structure.

 

The above picture is of the rear of the building. The large part that protrudes out that has the arched windows I believe is the cafeteria which was part of the original structure. There was no mention of a gym or auditorium when it was built in 1923 so I feel this is the deciding factor. The gym, I believe is in the known addition, which would be further off to the right in this picture.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know when this school closed. I believe it was within the last 10-15 years. It was part of the Utica City School district which built a new middle school in 1992. When it did open, though, people began getting sick and it was found that the ventilation system wasn't adequate. So, the brand new school had to be shut down for at least a year while it was worked on. I believe that those students were then sent to this newly vacant school for the year or two it took to fix their new school. Since then, though, it's fallen victim to vandals and is truly a sad site. The neighborhood it's in isn't even a bad area. I really hope to learn more about this school in the near future. I will update this page when I do.

If you know ANYTHING about Horatio Seymour School in Utica, NY please write and let me know: mgazak@adelphia.net. It would be greatly appreciated.

Copyright 2002

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