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I am compiling this evolving timeline from online and published sources to better understand the flow of history in Syracuse, and how my German ancestors fit into it. I have also included county, state, national, international, German, and German-American events and their dates that interested me. I make no guarantees about the facts or dates included, as I did not research them in primary sources myself. My timeline is merely meant to be a study guide and a jumping-off point for further research.
[1348 - Great Plague/the "Black Death" sweeps Europe]
[1608 - Germans are among the settlers at Jamestown, Virginia]
[1616 - The native Indian population of the Northeastern American coast (Massachusetts, Maine, etc.) begins to suffer a significant reduction by pandemics of smallpox, spotted fever and measles contracted from European traders and fishermen]
[1618-1648 - Thirty Years' War ravages the German lands and people; the Palatinate loses 70 percent of its population]
[1620 - The "Mayflower" brings the English Pilgrims to found Plymouth colony in what is today Massachusetts]
[1626 - Peter Minuit, a Rhinelander, and director of a Dutch colony, buys the island of Manhattan from the native American Indians and establishes the settlement known as New Amsterdam (later, New York, New York). This Dutch colony includes some Germans among its settlers.
1654 - First white man into the area, Father Simon LeMoyne, arrives from French Canada as an ambassador of peace to the Onondagas. Visits the Indian village near present-day Brewerton.
1655 - Two Jesuit priests, Father J. M. Chaumonont and Father Dablon, engaged in a mission to the Onondagas (at present-day Indian Hill on Town Road about two miles southwest of Oran in the Town of Pompey); they offer the first mass in New York State and celebrate, with a simple observance, the first Christmas in what would later be Onondaga County.
1656 - Establishment by the Jesuits of a chapel and mission house (Sainte Marie de Gannentaha) overlooking the lake [Onondaga Lake, near the present site of Liverpool]. The mission house was intended to be an embassy and was meant to be a point of departure for most of the eight Jesuits who came with Frs. Chaumonot and Dablon to this site. They would depart for the main Iroquois villages in Central and Western New York State (mostly in the Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca Nations) in late autumn and would return to Ste. Marie in the spring. Members of the mission who stayed behind at the mission house (approximately 30 in all) went about the business of creating a village in the wilderness.
March, 1658 - Mission Sainte Marie de Gannentaha is abandoned by the Jesuits in the face of imminent attack by the Mohawks. Research indicates the French were helped in their escape by the Onondagas, who had pledged to the French safe passage throughout their territory.
1673 - French explorer LaSalle visits the Onondaga village near present-day Brewerton.
1675 - "King Philip's War," a bloody conflict between the native American Indians and the colonists of southern New England, breaks out.
1676 - King Philip's War in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island ends with the defeat of Metacom (King Philip), the Indian leader; some captured Indians are executed on the Boston Common; some are shipped as slaves to the West Indies. Meanwhile Bacon's Rebellion breaks out in Virginia, where Jamestown is burned.
1678 - "New Paltz," the first self-contained all-German settlement of colonists on North American soil is founded, on territory purchased from the Indians by Huguenot families emigrated from the Palatine (the "Paltz Patent").
1683 - The "Mayflower" of German immigration: having crossed the Atlantic from London on the schooner "Concord," thirteen German families from Krefeld in the Rhine Valley arrive in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and establish a home on the city's northern outskirts, later known as Germantown.
1685 - The big exodus begins from the Palatinate, including the more recently-settled Huguenot refugees from France and Mennonite refugees from Switzerland (pushed out by the French against the western border and the new government of the House of Neuberg openly favoring Catholicism). Emigrants--families, friends, and neighbors--begin fleeing to North America and other destinations. Until 1720 the modern State of New York would be the preferred destination of Palatine emigrants.
1688 - War in the Palatinate ("Pfälzischer Erbfolgekrieg") begins (ends in 1697); French troops destroy villages and the castle of Heidelberg.
1690 - Jacob Leisler, born in Frankfurt, is elected the first people's governor of New York and calls for the first congress of American colonies.
1696 - The French attempt a return to the Onondaga territory when Canada's governor, Count de Frontenac, builds a fort there, but the Indians drive the white men back to Canada.
October 1708-March 1709 - A devastatingly cold and harsh winter (the worst in 100 years) hits the Palatinate/Pfalz (area of today's southwest Germany), killing humans, crops, vineyards, and fruit trees.
1709 - Following two wars (1689-1709) and an unbelievably hard winter in the Palatinate, one-fourth of the population (about 7,000 Palatines) emigrate (1709-1710), many to London, Ireland, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, or Virginia; many pay for their passage by indentured servitude. The Palatines headed to New York establish Neuberg (today, Newburgh) on the Hudson River, and then spread north into the Mohawk Valley. They arrive as indentured servants of the British government, which paid for half their transportation and settlement costs., 
1711-1712 - About 3,000 German immigrants, settled by the British Admiralty to collect tar and pitch in the Hudson River Valley buffer-zone between the British settlements and the Indians, are cheated and starved by Indian agent Robert Livingston, and revolt.
1734 - John Peter Zenger, owner of the New York Weekly Journal, establishes freedom of the press in America when he protests British rule.
1745 - An estimated 45,000 Germans now live in Pennsylvania. Moravian missionaries Bishop Spangenberg and David Zeisberger visit the Onondaga Indians (about one mile south of present-day Syracuse on NY State Route 11); they return in 1750, 1752, 1753, 1754, and 1766.
1749 - The death toll of German emigrants heading for just one city, Philadelphia, totaled 2,000 during this year, reflecting both the mortal dangers of crossing the ocean during this period, and the determination of Germans to immigrate.
1751 - An English agent, Sir William Johnson, in order to prevent the French from establishing a claim there, buys Onondaga Lake and its surrounding land to a width of two miles from the Indians. In the same year, Benjamin Franklin expressed a common fear of "Germanization" by asking, "Why should the Palatine Boors be suffered to swarm into our Settlements, and by herding together establish their Language and Manners to the Exclusion of ours? Why should Pennsylvania founded by Englishmen suffer to become a colony of foreigners, who shortly will be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them?" (Of course, all immigrants to the colonies arrived on soley aboard British ships during this period.)
10 September 1753 - Sir William Johnson, British head of Indian affairs in the North, hears grievances of Mohawk chief King Hendrick at Onondaga, NY: "We are so hemmed in by you...if we find a bear in a tree, there will immediately appear an owner of the land to claim the property and hinder us from killing it, by which we live."
1759 - The victory of the English under General Wolfe near Quebec ends the fighting between France and England and Canada becomes English.
1765 - In Britain, Edmund Burke expressed the fear that Pennsylvania might become entirely German "in language, manners and even in political inclinations."
1772 - The Baltic port city of Gdansk in Poland is seized by Prussia.
July 1776 - First printed copy of the official Declaration of Independence appears in Heinrich Miller's Philadelphia newspaper, Pennsylvanischer Staatsbote--published in German. Congress establishes a German-American regiment of four companies.
1778 - Baron von Steuben writes the first U.S. Army training manual and helps organize the U.S. Army.
April 1779 - The Battle of Onondaga Valley and the Sullivan-Clinton campaign to destroy the Onondaga camp. (The Continental Army seeks to destroy the Onondaga tribe, who had aligned with the British forces.) The Van Schaick expedition against the Onondagas landed near present-day Brewerton on 20 April.
1782 - At the end of the Revolutionary War, title to the land around Onondaga Lake reverted from the English to the Indians and was subsequently purchased by New York State. A military tract of 1 million acres, including the present counties of Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Cortland, and parts of Oswego, Wayne, Schuyler and Tompkins counties, was established and divided into towns and homesteads, parcels to be awarded to Revolutionary War veterans.
9 February 1783 - Northern border of Onondaga County was the scene of the last hostile movement of the American troops in the Revolution. Colonel Willett and 470 men and 120 sleighs rallied at Brewerton to launch an ineffective assault on the British holding Fort Ontario.
1786 - 1787 - Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts. First white settler and Indian trader, Ephraim Webster (a Revolutionary War veteran), settles in Onondaga county. What would later become the city of Syracuse (located near the mouth of Onondaga Creek) was called Webster's Camp and Webster's Landing.
1788 - Onondaga Indian Reservation established (about one mile south of present-day Syracuse). First white settlers begin arriving to take up land grants awarded to former soldiers of the Revolution.
1790 - First census taken in the U.S. shows a population of 3,929,625. Most populous state is Virginia (820,000; New York state has 340,120 residents); most populous city is Philadelphia (42,000; New York City has 33,000 residents). There are 75 post offices in the United States. Naturalization Act of March 26, 1790 states that only "free white" persons may become citizens; also states that children automatically become U.S. citizens by the naturalization of their parent. A wife now becomes naturalized upon citizenship conferred to her husband; no separate filings are required (until 1922). "The end of mass-immigration and the expansion to the west furthered between 1790 and 1820 a linguistic fusion of the different German dialects spoken in Pennsylvania. The result was a strikingly homogenous dialect, which in its linguistic substance was most similar to the dialect of the Palatinate (H. Kelz).",
1791 - John Young (1752-1834), Revolutionary War soldier, is first settler in present-day Town of DeWitt, which at first is known as Youngsville.
1792 - The new American government draws up a plan to import indentured German labor to help construct the new capital city of Washington, D.C. First German settler in what would later become Onondaga County, Johannes A. Schaeffer, establishes inn and trading post in Manlius Village. Danforth Sawmill established on creek about one-half mile north of present-day Jamesville in the Town of DeWitt.
1793 - The Army of the French Revolution conquers the German area west of the Rhine; the Palatine/Pfalz falls under French dominion. The Baltic port city of Gdansk becomes part of Prussia, and is now known as Danzig. Patrick McGee is the first settler in the Town of Clay (Onondaga County). Jonathan Palmer, Revolutionary War soldier, is first white settler and builds his home in the present-day Town of Lysander near Jacksonville.
12 February 1793 - Fugitive Slave Act passed by U.S. Congress.
1794 - Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. First white child, "Baron Steuben" Schaeffer, born in Manlius. John Danforth (brother of Asa) commences the manufacture of salt at "Salt Point" (later known as Salina, near present-day NY State Routes 57 and 370 in Liverpool). Salt springs along the borders of Onondaga Lake would make Syracuse the first place in the United States where salt for commercial purposes was obtained other than from sea water. John Danforth had learned the technique of making salt from salt springs from the Indians, who had learned it from Father LeMoyne.
5 February 1794 - "Petition for the Establishment of Onondaga County, signed by Asa Danforth (John Danforth's brother) and 134 others of the County of Herkimer."
5 March 1794 - Onondaga County formed from Herkimer and Tioga Counties, the twenty-first of New York State's present sixty-two counties.
1795 - Naturalization Act passed by Congress in Philadelphia (29 Jan.) mandates five-year residency for citizenship.
1796 - What would become the city of Syracuse was then known as Bogardus Corners. The central part of what would be Syracuse was still a dense cedar forest.
1797 - Village of Liverpool (formerly known as "Little Ireland") is officially renamed and laid out by New York's surveyor general. Most of the inhabitants of its ten log cabins are Irish immigrants. Second German settler in the county, Conradt Busch, arrives with his family in Pompey. (Link to his genealogy.)
1798 - By the Treaty of Luneville, the German Palatinate west of the Rhine legally becomes a part of France (until 1814), which institutes "modern" civil administrative practices in the area, including standardized vital records. In the midst of undeclared war against France, U.S. Congress passes legislation (aimed primarily at the French and the Irish): the Naturalization Act, requiring aliens to live in the United States for fourteen years (instead of five) before being naturalized, and the Alien Act, granting the President the legal right to expel any foreigner he considered "dangerous." President John Adams never invoked this law. 
1799 - "Rebellion" breaks out in southeastern Pennsylvania in the form of an armed uprising of German (Pennsylvania Dutch) farmers angry over the federal tax on land and the high-handed ways of federal tax collectors. Its leader, John Fries, and two others are sentenced to hang in federal court for treason. 
1800 - President John Adams pardons John Fries and his two cohorts for having led a "riot," not an insurrection.  National census shows population at 5.3 million, more than 30-percent increase in a decade. Virginia remains most populous state (807,557) with Pennsylvania (602,365) and New York (589,051) gaining. Onondaga County has around 885 residents, 309 of them living in Pompey Township.
1801 - Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address contains his famous reference to the United States as "the world's best hope" and his praise of "wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, [and] shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits."  His election marks the first real change of party control of government.
1802 - Congressional law changes requirements for naturalization of aliens to five years of residency in the U.S. (instead of fourteen years). Seneca Turnpike completed through the community of Onondaga Hill, which included among its dozen buildings the first Onondaga County Courthouse (built 1802). Johannes Baar, a German settler in Pompey, seeks permission from the governor to establish an academy there. John Leach, first settler in Cicero, arrives; will keep a tavern in a log house at Cicero Corners.
1803 - Louisiana Purchase virtually doubles the size of the United States. What would later be the city of Syracuse consisted of "eight frame houses, a few log cabins, a post office, and a court. Most of the 60 inhabitants were involved in salt production." 
1804 - John Geddes surveys the site of future Syracuse. Summer - First Germans arrive to boil salt on the shores of Onondaga Lake (Salina/Salt Point, in what would later become Syracuse): Johann Jacob Mang, Christian Uzenbenz, and Henrich Philipp Bentz.
1805 - First schoolhouse (Little Red Schoolhouse, in the town of Salina) erected.
1806 - Onondaga County Medical Association organized with a membership of 22 doctors.
13 October 1806 - First German child, Sophie Usenbents, born within what would later become the Syracuse city limits.
1807 - Baldwinsville founded.
1809 - What would become the city of Syracuse was then named Milan.
1810 - Third census of the United States shows a population of 7,239,881, a jump of 36.4 percent. 153 blacks residing in Onondaga County, 41 being slaves living with white owners. German immigrants and German-Americans from Schoharie County begin to settle in Clay, which, in ten years, would become known as "the Dutch Settlement."
1812 - War of 1812 (War declared by Congress in June). What would become the city of Syracuse was then known as South Salina.
October 1813 - Napoleon loses the bloody and decisive battle of Leipzig.
1814 - After crossing the Rhine River, Prussian General Bluecher regains the Palatinate from France. British forces burn Washington, D.C. on 24 August, but the War of 1812 ends in December. What would someday be called Syracuse was then known as Cossit's Corners. First newspaper published there. The Halfway Tavern (four miles north of present-day Baldwinsville on NYS Route 48) becomes the stopping place for Oudiaga, Indian runner, first mail carrier between Syracuse and Oswego. (Later, up until 1834, it also becomes a stagecoach stop).
26 May 1814 - First Germans in Onondaga County to become naturalized American citizens: Christian Uzenbenz/Usenbents and Heinrich P. Bentz.
April, 1815 - Eruption of the volcano Tambora on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa ejects twice the volume of material into the atmosphere as Krakatoa would in 1883, lowering the average world's temperature by almost 1 degree Celsius, and causing dramatic climate changes that would produce poor grain harvests that summer and during the following year. 
10 August 1815 - Ga-ne-o-di-yo (Handsome Lake), who founded Gai'wiio or the Longhouse religion among the Seneca indians, dies on the reservation at Onondaga at the age of 75. He began his movement in 1800 after having a vision in which four angels commanded him to preach against alcoholic beverages and urge a return to the faith and values of the Seneca fathers and family life.
1816 - Following the conference in Vienna, the Palatine/Pfalz officially becomes part of the kingdom of Bavaria, but retains the civil administration procedures instituted there by the French (civil marriage ceremonies preceding ecclesiastical ones, etc.). 1816 was also known as "the year without summer," in parts of Canada, New England, and Western Europe due to significant weather-related disruptions caused by the 1815 eruption of the volcano Tambora. Killing summer frosts, hailstorms, and a radically shortened growing season resulted in widespread crop failures and food shortages ("the last great subsistence crisis of the Western world"). The German wheat crop failed entirely; the price of flour doubled and there were reports of famine, riots, and mass migrations.  The stethoscope is invented.
1817 - The price of rye in Germany/Europe is three to four times normal; bakers go of business; the poor eat grass and roots; over 20,000 Germans emigrate to America, while others choose Russia and Brazil. James Monroe becomes fifth President of the United States. What would one day be the city of Syracuse was that year named Corinth.
4 July 1817 - Governor De Witt Clinton breaks ground in Rome, New York today on the Erie Canal ("Clinton's Ditch") planned to connect the Great Lakes with New York harbor and the Atlantic (350 miles). The first segment of the canal to be constructed will run between Rome and Corinth (Syracuse).
1818 - Paul Revere dies.
1819 - U.S. Immigration Act requires improvements in conditions of vessels bringing immigrants to the U.S.; requires ship captains to provide customs officials with a list of immigrants describing age, sex, occupation, where they came from, and where they were going. Passengers ill with contagious diseases had to be quarantined. (The individual states carried out the provisions of this law.)
The "panic" (financial recession) of 1819 puts the brakes on the economic boom that followed the end of the War of 1812. Triggered by the revival of European agriculture after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and the contraction of credit by the Second Bank of the United States (paying off its Louisiana Purchase loans), the bottom dropped out of the markets for land, cotton, and other U.S. crops, resulting in foreclosures and bank failures. Bad times would last until around 1822. 
22 October 1819 - First boat to travel the Erie Canal makes its way from Rome to Utica.
2 November 1819 - County agricultural fair held on Onondaga Hill.
1820 - Congress enacts the Missouri Compromise. According to the fourth census, U.S. population is 9,638,453, excluding Indians. New York is the largest city (124,000). There are five new states and the population has increased by about 30 percent since the 1810 census. Seventy-two percent of employed Americans work in agriculture. Liverpool's first church (Methodist Episcopal, 11 members) is organized.
"The country at that time  from Rome to Salina (predecessor of Syracuse) was wild. The canal pierced the wilderness at Rome only to emerge therefrom at this place. The land almost the entire distance was low, marshy, and cold. The forests, most of the distance evergreen, were deep and dank; and the advancing settlers had eschewed the region as unfit for cultivation. But the clearing for the canal let in a stretch of daylight, which enabled people to see more distinctly. The marshes were to a considerable extent drained by the canal; and to its banks, instead of the shades of the gloomy forest, [would come] the sight...of a well-settled country, smiling under the hand of well-rewarded industry.
21 April 1820 - First Erie Canal boat (the "Montezuma," towed by galloping horses) arrives in the town that would later be known as Syracuse.
1822 - Joshua Foreman sponsors a bill in the New York legislature to lower Onondaga Lake two feet, thus draining the water from what is today downtown Syracuse and eliminating much of the swamp there. First church (Presbyterian, on the northwest corner of Washington Park) built in Syracuse.
1824 - Syracuse receives its rightful name. Baptists erected their first church there at W. Genesee and Franklin Streets. First schoolhouse built in Town of Cicero (District No. 1), about one-half mile south of present-day Brewerton.
1825 - John Quincy Adams becomes the sixth President of the U.S. The Erie Canal is completed "from Albany to Buffalo." Lafayette, the 67-year-old French Revolutionary War hero, visits Onondaga County on his year-long tour of America.
13 April 1825 - Syracuse incorporated as a village in the town of Salina, has a population of about 500.
1826 - Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on the Fourth of July, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. St. Paul's Episcopal Church constructed in Syracuse. Syracuse village acquires a steam fire-pump with hoses and appoints a captain (Thomas B. Heermans) of a volunteer fire brigade company of 35 men.
1827 - The "friction match" is invented by English chemist John Walker. Slavery is officially abolished in New York State; 10,000 slaves are freed. Onondaga County Poor Farm established [photo; info].
1828 - The Oswego Canal opens from Syracuse, offering direct access to Lake Ontario and international shipping. Liverpool becomes a trading point, with many of its residents entering the boating and boat repair business.
1829 - Andrew Jackson becomes the seventh President of the United States. County courthouse moved from Onondaga Hill to Ash & North Salina Streets, a midpoint between Salina and Syracuse (which were nearly equal in population; population of the village of Syracuse had swelled to 2,500 thanks to the canals). First Catholic church in the area erected on North Salina Street by Irish and German Catholics.
1830 - U.S. census population that year is 12,866,020, including 150,000 immigrants arrived since 1820. Latter Day Saints (Mormon) Church is organized. First hospital facility within the present boundaries of Syracuse is built beside the canal in Geddes (today Erie Blvd. West & W. Genesee St.): Dr. Cyrus Thompson's Botanic Infirmary. Comprised of 50 houses, Liverpool incorporates.
12 October 1831 - First state railroad convention held in The Syracuse House (hotel).
1832 - An electromagnetic telegraph is created in Germany by Baron Schilling von Canstedt. Louisa May Alcott is born.
23 January 1832 - A second volunteer fire-brigade company is organized in Syracuse.
May 1832 - A milestone in German history, the Hambacher Fest is held in the Palatinate. It is the "first voluntary mass demonstration in German history." The main demands of the meeting (disguised as a non-political county fair) were liberty, civil rights and national unity. Afterwards many participants and sympathizers emigrated.
23 June 1832 - Syracuse divided into four wards.
June - July, 1832 - Cholera epidemic results in about 100 deaths in Syracuse and Salina.
1833 - The first coeducational college, Oberlin, is founded in the U.S. Yosemite Valley is discovered in California. Georg Kolb, a journalist from Speyer, Germany, writes: "An emigration from [the Palatinate] to America already took place earlier but most of the time it was a phenomenon of individuals of the mostly poor who did not know how to support themselves. But now there is a change. Well-to-do, wealthy, and even rich people left their fatherland in masses. They did not have to dissipate any worries over food, they did not flee because of a pursuit by their inner judge; the bitter pain which was expressed in view of the loss of their dear fatherland could not stop them, they faced the terrible cholera right away, but -- they rushed towards the land of Freedom that should take the place which the former Palatinate could hold no longer."
9 November 1833 - "Immanuel's Church of the Town of Clay" is incorporated; their church building, completed the previous year, was the first established by Germans in Onondaga County.
1834 - Richest man in the U.S. is John Jacob Astor, German immigrant, who had established the American Fur Company. The German-language newspaper, the New Yorker Staatszeitung, (still in existence today) begins publication; Gustav Adolph Newmann is its first editor. Village of Syracuse's population about 3,800. Most of Syracuse's business district is leveled by a fire along the Erie Canal. Cholera again strikes the village in July.
Here is a travelogue written by Miss Caroline Hall of Milton, Vermont, describing her trip from Schenectady to Ohio via the Erie Canal to visit relatives in June of 1834:
On Tuesday evening at 8 o'clock went on board a canal boat, which we called home. We passed through many flourishing and handsome villages, some of them very romantic, the Village of Little Falls, for instance. It is entirely surrounded by mountains, and contains three or four houses of public worship. Here the canal is cut through a solid rock upon one side for a mile and a half and the Mohawk River on the other. The canal is fifty or sixty feet higher than the river, and a wall is built upon the bank that height. It is a great curiosity. We were deprived of the privilege of seeing Utica, having passed it in the night. The country for sixty miles beyond Utica is unpleasant; being very low and marshy, and filled with swamps. Every six, eight or ten miles a little village has sprung up within a few years.
1835 - Fire in New York City's financial district consumes 674 buildings and plunges the nation into a depression. Total length of all railroads in the U.S. is 100 miles, divided among seven railroad companies. Mark Twain is born and the revolver is invented. Abolitionists (including Gerrit Smith and William Lloyd Garrison) meet in Syracuse to form an antislavery society.
7 December 1835 - First German railroad opens, running 3.7 miles from Nuremberg to Fürth. Soon to follow: factories, banks, the industrialization of the formerly agrarian German society.
1837 - Martin Van Buren becomes the eighth U.S. President. Financial panic of 1837 hits the U.S., followed by economic hard times. The economy remains depressed until around 1843. Michigan gains statehood.
December 1837 - Open revolt breaks out in Canada (particularly Ontario) against English rule. Individual Americans would organize to send troops (including men from Onondaga County) to assist the Canadian independence movement ("The Patriot War").
1838 - The "Yellow Brook," which flowed through what today is central Syracuse, is finally completely filled in. E.W. Leavenworth is president of the village of Syracuse.
8 January 1838 - The Auburn and Syracuse Railroad line opens with horse-drawn cars on wooden rails.
8 December 1838 - General S. von Schultz of Syracuse, leader of American fighters captured while trying to assist the Canadian independence movement, is hanged in Kingston, Ontario (see "The Patriot War").
1839 - The public green area later (1841) to be called Fayette Park attains the boundaries it is known by today. Black and white Syracusans induce and aid Harriet Powell, a slave of visiting Mississippi planter J. Davenport and his wife, to flee to Kingston, Canada along the Underground Railroad. Liverpool's German immigrant residents establish a Lutheran church. The first Jewish settlers in Syracuse (arrived before 1838) and Jewish peddlers arriving in 1839 form the first Jewish minyan in Syracuse, the Keneseth Sholom (the Society of Concord).
4 June 1839 - Arrival of the first steam locomotive (The "Syracuse") on the Auburn and Syracuse line and the opening of a new terminal later that year on Washington Street between Warren and South Salina Streets. The steam locomotives would run on iron rails along the downtown streets at the speed of 12 miles an hour.
3 or 4 July 1839 - Opening of the Utica & Syracuse railroad line. Competition is now keen among the railroads, canal packet boats, and stagecoach lines for the favor of the traveling public.
"Syracuse in 1839...was still a village. Humpback bridges riding high above the canal stood out sharply at crossings over Clinton, Salina, and Warren Streets. The hub of the town was the junction of East Genesee and Salina Streets, the spot which for years was referred to as "Bogardes Corners." Clinton Square, north of the canal, was the farmers' market. It is said that even from across the canal one could hear the pigs squealing and the sheep bleating. On the south side, facing the canal, was Water Street, which had a row of stores that catered to the carriage trade.
1840 - U.S. census population is 17,069,453, including 600,000 immigrants since 1830; New York is the most populous state (2.4 million, up 500,000). Of approx. 4,000  people in the Syracuse area, one-quarter were Germans, many of whom lived in the deeply wooded area of Townsend Street known as the "Hasenthal" ("Rabbit Valley"). St. Peter's German Evangelical Church organized in Syracuse. M. W. Hanchett of Syracuse invents an early version of the adjustable dentist's chair.
"A city it now is , in extent, and the magnitude and durability of its buildings, albeit it may not boast of a mayor and common council to oppress the people by insupportable assessments, and partake of turtle and champagne for the benefit of the poor. But as I glanced upwards and around, upon splendid hotels, and rows of massive buildings in all directions, and the lofty spires of churches and well-built streets, thronged with people full of life and activity--the canal basins crowded with boats lading and unlading at the large and lofty stone warehouses upon the wharves--the change [since 1820] seemed like of enchantment."
December 1840 - Syracuse purchases the Rose Hill tract at $300 per acre for a new cemetery, abandons the old one on Franklin Street.
1841 - William Henry Harrison becomes the ninth and oldest man to serve as U.S. President, and dies on 4 April, 31 days into the term of the office (first President to die in office). Upon Harrison's death, John Tyler, Jr. becomes the new, tenth, President, the first Vice-President to assume the Presidency in this way. First lager-beer brewery opens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Syracuse there are 75 places where liquor is sold; gambling and horseracing also are permitted. Jermain Wesley Loguen (born in Tennessee, he was a black slave known as Jarm Logue prior to his escape), arrives in Syracuse to pastor the AME Zion Church, founded the same year ("So successful was Loguen in his efforts to transport runaway slaves that Syracuse became known as "the Canada of the United States.")
9 August 1841 - More than 200 people die when the steamboat Erie, en route from Buffalo, New York to Chicago, catches fire and sinks. Most of the casualties are immigrants from Germany and Switzerland. 
20 August 1841 - The Great Gunpowder Explosion: tremendous warehouse explosion in Syracuse kills 30 people.
29-30 September 1841 - 10,00-15,000 spectators visit the first annual New York State Fair (headquartered then at the Syracuse House, located at the southeast corner of East Genesee and South Salina Streets; today it is the longest-running State Fair in the country).
1842 - Brewers in Pilsen, in the Austrian province of Bohemia, discover the lagering process. The Prussian brothers Frederick and Maximilian Schaefer set up the first commercial lager brewery in New York City. In the coming years, "beer gardens" and "winter gardens" (enclosed beer gardens) become popular with Germans and Americans across the U.S. The first German Catholic church between Buffalo and Albany, New York is established: St. Joseph's in Utica. The laying of the first wooden pipes to supply the village of Syracuse with water begins. Townsend Block built on West Water Street.
24 February 1842 - Keneseth Sholom (the Society of Concord), first Jewish congregation in Syracuse, is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. Early trustees and officers included Max Thalheimer, Samuel Bernheimer, Joseph Wiseman, Joseph Schloss, Hessel Rosenbach, Samuel Manheimer, and E. Rothschild. Services were held in the Townsend Block on Water Street. The congregation purchases a tract of land on Lodi Street for a cemetery (Rose Hill Cemetery; it is today still in existence but no longer in use). Rudolph 
1843 - First telegraph message sent ("What hath God wrought!"). The U.S. economy has finally revived following the Panic of 1837.
22 February 1843 - Germans organize the first military company in Syracuse, the Lafayette Garde Grenadiere.
6 or 10 August 1843 - Society of the German Evangelical St. Peter's Church, City of Syracuse, incorporated with about 38 families. Meetings first held in small frame church, corner of Butternut St. and Prospect Ave.
1844 - Population of the village of Syracuse is about 10,000, an increase thanks in part to the railroads. Beth Israel (European Jewish congregation) established in Syracuse. Building of the Empire House Block is begun. Salem's Church and St. Mary's of the Assumption Catholic Church (later to become Assumption Church) are organized in Syracuse. Father Adelbert Inama, the priest of St. Mary's, wrote around this time: "it is...edifying to read with what a pious spirit the President of the United States, in his message, first gives honor to God for all good, and the governors of the separate states all set a common week-day, Dec. 14, as Thanksgiving Day for the blessings of the past year."
1845 - James K. Polk becomes the 11th President of the U.S. United States annexes Texas. "Market Hall" erected in Syracuse; the building would later become its city hall. First Mass said in the new St. Mary's of the Assumption Catholic Church in Syracuse by Father Adelbert Inama, a native of the Tyrol.
10 April 1845 - Onondaga County Orphan Asylum incorporated for the care of orphaned and destitute children.
1846 - Planet Neptune discovered. Mexican-American War begins. Crop failures in Germany, followed by foreclosures, encourage more Germans to emigrate to America. The Globe Hotel block in Syracuse is built. The first regular theater in the city (the "National") opens in the Baptist church. Keneseth Sholom (the Society of Concord), first Jewish congregation in Syracuse, purchases and remodels a house at Mulberry and Madison Streets for its synagogue.
18 July 1846 - First "plank road" in the U.S. opens for business (transporting salt) between Salina (today the northern part of Syracuse) and Brewerton, NY; is the "main street" through Podunk (soon to be renamed Centerville; later known as North Syracuse). Accommodated (for a toll) cattle, horses and wagons and, in later years, Sunday bicycle races.
31 December 1846 - Cook Coffee House Riot--rivalry between Salina hooligans and Syracuse roughnecks breaks out at Sigel's (later Cook's) Coffee House (S. Warren & Washington Streets); militia called out. Salina and Syracuse leaders finally agree to join under a single city charter.
4 March 1847 - German Evangelist Zion's Church incorporated in Syracuse.
5 May 1847 - The State of New York creates a Board of Commissioners of Immigration, to protect the interests of those just arrived, including settling up hospital facilities for the ill and guarding against swindling, robbery, defrauding and overcharging of immigrants "just off the boat" in New York City.
Summer 1847 - A Mr. Wise makes hot-air balloon ascensions and descensions in Syracuse.
14 December 1847 - Syracuse incorporated as a city, absorbing its old rival, Salina, and the town of Lodi; total population of the city now nearly 20,000. Soon after its Market Hall building is renamed its City Hall. Syracuse's city seal features four illustrative elements: the Erie Canal, the saltblocks, the railroads, and the factories.
1848 - Mexican-American War ends. Wisconsin gains statehood. There are approximately 15,000 Germans in Syracuse (more than one-third of the population). A popular hangout for the Germans is Cook's Coffee House. Francis Baumer, a native of Bavaria (and one of the founders of a candle wax company), becomes schoolmaster at Assumption School (German Catholic) in Syracuse.
March, 1848-1849 - The democratic "revolution" (heir to the American and French Revolutions) to unite and free the German lands from tyranical rulers fails. Between 4,000-10,000 political exiles (radicals, freethinkers, intellectuals, academics, students, liberals, journalists, inventors, doctors, lawyers, artisans, and peasants from Baden, Wuerttemberg, Prussia, and all along the Rhine) flee to the U.S., making a lasting and significant impact on the existing German-American culture and America as a whole. The progress and failure of the revolution and its figures are followed closely in the German-American press; revolutionary clubs spring up and funds are raised by the U.S. German communities and sent to support the revolution and, in its aftermath, its victims.  Included among the refugees is Carl Schurz, who would become a Civil War general, U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1877-1881), a senator from Missouri, and Ambassador to Spain.
April 1848 - Syracuse public school system established; Hiram Putnam first president of the Board of Education.
October 1848 - Samsel's German Brass Band starts providing music for Syracuse area events.
1849 - Zachary Taylor becomes the 12th President of the U.S. Edgar Allan Poe dies. The modern safety pin is invented by American inventor Walter Hunt. Prospectors ("Forty-Niners") from all over the nation and the world rush to California in search of gold. In Europe, prospective German emigrants are enticed by shipping line agents describing the U.S. as the "Golden Land of Opportunity." The ocean voyage from Europe to the U.S. is a trip lasting more than two months. One traveler, Jakob Huber, wrote: "In 1849 I emigrated.... During the long voyage we, the emigrants, were treated terribly. For instance, the promise to receive cooked meals was not adhered to. I had to cook my own meals, and I did not receive enough water to do this properly. The provisions were on board ship, but we had to employ weapons against the brutal sailors to obtain our food. We were actually suffering from hunger."* Syracuse streets are illuminated by gas lights. First German church in Liverpool (Evangelischen Gemeinschaft) incorporated.
April 1849 - To encourage and protect German emigrants, construction begins on a large Emigrant House in Bremerhaven near Bremen (sometimes known as "Little New York"); finished a year later, it could sleep 1,500 to 2,000 persons, the kitchen would accommodate about 3,500, and its hospital could house 35 patients. Also included was a chapel with Catholic and Protestant facilities.
9 April 1849 - Library of the Court of Appeals formed by act of Legislature; 4,500 volumes housed in the Syracuse courthouse by 1860.
[September?] 1849 - James Street Hill, a mile from Clinton Square in Syracuse, serves as the site of the State Fair. A popular attraction is a hand-powered, rope-pulled forerunner of the Ferris wheel developed by Samuel Hurst and James Mullholland.
December 1849 - The Franklin Institute, a literary association, was incorporated in Syracuse, with a reading room and "a fine library" of about 3,000 volumes in the Wietling Block, S. Salina St. It sponsored an annual course of lectures during the winter.
1850 - President Taylor dies 9 July; Vice-President Millard Fillmore succeeds him, becomes 13th U.S. President. U.S. census population is 23,191,876, up about one-third since 1840; New York is most populous state (just over 3 million). For the first time the U.S. census lists all household members. California attains statehood. Steamships have generally replaced sailing vessels for trans-Atlantic travel, reducing the passage time for immigrants from six weeks to two (and the passage can cost as low as $10 per person).
U.S. Congress passes [January] and President Fillmore signs into law [September] the Compromise of 1850, including a strong new Fugitive Slave Law. Three thousand or more fugitives cross into Canada within three months of the law's enactment, including one-third of the 600 blacks living in and around Syracuse.  When the Reverend Jermain Loguen of Syracuse is urged to flee to Canada (see 1841 above), he refuses to leave his home in Syracuse and proclaims his defiance from pulpits throughout Central New York. "The question is with you," he tells Syracusans at a rally that spawns a local anti-slavery Vigilance Committee. "If you will give us up, say so, and we will shake the dust from our feet and leave you. But we believe better things. Whatever may be your decision, my ground is taken....I will not live a slave, and if force is employed to reenslave me, I shall make preparations to meet the crisis as becomes a man." The mayor of Syracuse declares the town an "open city" for fugitive slaves. 
The "Know-Nothings" (anti-foreign nativists in the U.S.) begin bloody clashes with foreigners, including Germans, for the next decade. Syracuse's population is about 15,000; 5,000-6,000 are Germans  (Bruce puts Syracuse population at 22,271 ). Syracuse boasts of over 100 churches of all architectural types. First lodge of the German Order of the Harugari ("Syracuse Loge no. 30") is established to preserve and support the German language. Onondaga Pottery starts business [alt. date: July 1871 Onondaga Pottery Company formed], later to become Syracuse China. County penitentiary at Pond and Lilac Streets in Syracuse built [see photo postcard]. First Presbyterian Church dedicated at Salina & Fayette Streets (would be demolished in 1905).
1851 - Foreign immigrants to the Port of New York are advised that the passage from New York City to Albany costs 25-50 cents; travel via the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo costs $1.50 and takes seven to ten days (passengers to provide their own food). What will become the Will & Baumer candlemaking "empire" is founded [alternate date 1855].
February 1851 - Daniel Webster speaks to Syracuse businessmen and other citizens (many of them abolitionists) from a balcony at the corner of Montgomery and E. Genesee Streets, calling abolitionism "treason." Webster promises that the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 "will be executed in all the great cities," even "here in Syracuse, in the midst of the next Anti-Slavery Convention." He warns that those who oppose the law "are traitors! traitors! traitors!" 
May 1851 - The American Anti-Slavery Society (including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Samuel J. May), driven out of its usual meeting place in New York City, convenes in Syracuse. More anti-slavery conventions would follow and the city would gain notoriety as an abolition stronghold and station on the "Underground Railroad." ("We must trample this infamous law [the 1850 Fugitive Slave law] underfoot, be the consequences what they may," Unitarian minister Samuel J. May tells his Syracuse congregation. "It is not for you to choose whether you will or not obey such a law as this. You are as much under obligation not to obey it, as you are not to lie, steal, or commit murder." )
11 July 1851 - The State of New York passes a law prohibiting the landing of immigrants having less than $20 in their possession.
1 October 1851 - The rescue of the "fugitive slave" "Jerry" (William Henry, who worked as a cooper in Morrell's barrel-making shop) from the custody of the U.S. Marshal by a large crowd of abolitionists and other indignant Syracuse citizens (and his successful escape to Canada with their help) would become a national event and is still commemorated today as what was arguably Syracuse's "finest hour." See the German viewpoint of this event.
1852 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin is published. Bad harvests in Germany cause food prices to soar. 115,000 Germans emigrate to the United States this year. Syracuse is an attractive destination due to its advantageous location on the Erie Canal and its big salt works offering many jobs, especially for carpenters and barrelmakers. Former stagecoach driver and self-made man, Jason C. Woodruff, is elected mayor of the city of Syracuse. The Saengerbund is established in Syracuse. National Woman's Rights Convention is held in Syracuse. First willow basket woven and sold in Liverpool--in the coming years Liverpool would become famous for its Germans producing these handcrafted items.
31 May 1852 - The famous Hungarian revolutionary, Ludwig Kossuth, visits Syracuse.
8 June 1852 - Ninety-six families (458 men, women, and children including 21 nursing infants) leave the village of Viernheim in Hesse for America, driven out by poverty, war, and famine. At least one family ended up in Syracuse. Possibly others?
Excerpt from a letter written back to Germany in late 1852 by Philipp Sax II, who emigrated from Viernheim to Syracuse with his wife and seven children: “My heart aches sometime when I notice that my wife Anna is quietly crying, pining for the home land, friends, and relatives. Home sickness tortures one’s soul but I think time will be a great healer…[Syracuse is a] very important commercial center and its geographical location is very propitious. The great Erie Canal, that permits large canal boats to navigate between the immense Erie Lake and New York, runs right through the city….[there are also] inexhaustible salt springs around Onondaga Lake….Everyone can find a job here….You can see that although we are in a strange land, we are among Germans, our own people. This helps to ease the burden of the heart of Anna and myself.” [From Reibt Euch los vom Tyrannen-lande (Tear Yourselves Loose from the Land of Tyranny), by Hans Knapp, with translation by Emil Wunder; 1975.*]
13 July 1852 - International Order of Good Templars founded, first lodge of the order meets in the four-story hall at the northwest corner of North Salina and West Genesee Streets.
4 September 1852 - First German-language newspaper, the "Onondaga Demokrat," begins publication in Syracuse.
December 1852 - First "German Christmas" celebrated in Syracuse.
1853 - Crop failures and famines in Germany. Franklin Pierce becomes the 14th President of the United States. Financial depression; economy suffers. The Syracuse Home Association incorporated, an association of ladies systematically visiting the poor and furnishing a home for indigent and friendless females. The small railroad lines running through Syracuse join to become the New York Central Railroad, connecting Albany with Buffalo. D. McCarthy elected mayor and the four wards of the city are subdivided into eight wards. Unitarian Church of the Messiah erected, Burnet & State Streets (demolished late 1960's). Miller's Brass Band organized in Syracuse.
August 1853 - Syracuse hosts the state militia encampment at 40-acre Camp Onondaga.
1854 - Crop failures and famines in Germany; 258,000 German immigrants arrived in America this year. First high school classes held in the Syracuse area. Legislature passes law to straighten Onondaga Creek, a great improvement to the southern part of Syracuse. Cornerstone laid for the New York State Asylum for Idiots in Syracuse. Sixteen Syracuse Germans organize the Sociale Turn-Verein.
1855 - Another year of bad harvests in Germany causes food shortages and rising prices. Anton Will, a carpenter from Germany, his wife, Rosina, and their four sons establish the first enduring candle-making business in Syracuse (later Will and Baumer) at Union Avenue and McBride Street. Benedict Haberle establishes his lager brewery.
16 April 1855 - First German stage performance given in Syracuse, by the Turners.
1 August 1855 - Castle Garden at the southern tip of Manhattan opens as the first official port of entry for immigrants; 95 percent of all immigrants are from Ireland, England, or Germany.
12 September [or 11 October] 1855 - Syracuse Deutscher Liederkranz organized by Christian Eckermann, Karl and Ernst Steingrebe, Karl Wittneben and Johann Ziegler, to perpetuate the beloved songs of the Fatherland and promote good fellowship and "cheerfulness." Their first club building was located at 287 North Salina Street. It is the oldest existing singing society in Syracuse.
October 1855 - The Syracuse Journal reports that about 140 fugitive slaves had passed through the city since January on the "underground railroad." The Reverend Jermain Loguen of the AME Zion Church, a fugitive slave himself and the underground railroad's public face in Syracuse, advertised his underground railroad work and his address on East Genesee Street in local newspapers and identified himself on his business card as an "Underground Railroad Agent." He and his wife Caroline personally aided about 200 fugitive slaves each year, while he lectured in central and western New York and established a reception center in Canada. 
1856 - The Congregation New Beth Israel of Syracuse builds a synagogue on Grape (now Townsend) Street. Syracuse is a hotbed of abolitionism. The Rev. Jermain Loguen's home is officially designated by the local Vigilance Committee as the main receiving depot for fugitive blacks on the underground railroad in Syracuse. The city council votes "that if the Central Rail Road, which ran through the middle of town, ever carried a recaptured fugitive slave back toward slavery, its rails should be physically taken up from the streets. Public fund-raisers for the underground were even held in the council's chambers. For one of them a local band composed a song titled 'The Underground Railroad Quickstep,' and dedicated it to Loguen." Syracuse was called "the Canada of the United States" for its anti-slavery position and actions. 
5 January 1856 - The Weiting Block in Syracuse burns, followed by other fires that cause a storm of popular indignation at lawlessness, crime, and a weak local police force.
25 August 1856 - The Casino (German Theater) opens in Syracuse.
November 1856 - Fire sweeps away $200,000 in property in the First Ward on the block north of Salina Street between Wolf and Exchange Streets.
28 December 1856 - St. John's church burns down following the morning worship service. The new replacement building is dedicated a year later.
1857 - James Buchanan becomes 15th U.S. President. Overspeculation in railroad securities and real estate, and falling grain prices caused by a big increase in Russian exports of wheat following the Crimean War, lead to widespread bank failures that set off a panic (financial recession) across the nation. The Dred Scott decision issued by the Supreme Court rules that the Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional. Germans found the city of Anaheim in Southern California and begin cultivating oranges there. Gayetty's Medicated Paper is the first factory-made toilet paper sold in the U.S. First free public library organized in Syracuse. The Syracuse Baseball Club and the Concordia (German singing society) are also organized. Syracuse Deutscher Liederkranz (singing society) introduces the custom of having Christmas trees at public Christmas festivals with their concert at the old Turnhalle.
1858 - Cyrus W. Field's New York, Newfoundland & London Telegraph Co. lays the first trans-Atlantic cable. A portion of Syracuse is annexed to DeWitt. The State Fair is held along Onondaga Creek a mile south of Syracuse's business center; approx. 20,000 daily attendance.
1 July 1858 - First issue of the "Syracuse Central Demokrat" (German newspaper) is published.
1859 - Approximately 2,000 daguerrotype studios have opened across the U.S.
10 November 1859 - First large festival celebrated by the Germans of Syracuse in honor of Schiller's 100th birthday.
1860 - America's population has grown to 31,443,321; New York is most populous state (3.9 million). Over 58 percent of Americans work on farms. U.S. Department of Education survey finds over half the nation's 321 high schools are located in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. In the previous decade the revolving cylinder press has replaced the flatbed press, resulting in an era of bigger newspapers and more and faster editions.
August 1860 - First line of horse-drawn cars of the Central City Railway Company make their first run between central Syracuse and the First Ward ("North Side").
Fall, 1860 - St. Peter's German Evangelical Church building burned; new church building begun.
November, 1860 - Benjamin and Cynthia Baum move to 1 Ryst Street in Syracuse from Chittenango with their children, including 4-year-old Lyman Frank Baum, future author of "The Wizard of Oz."
1861 - First Federal income taxes established (3%).
9 February 1861 - President-Elect Abraham Lincoln stops in Syracuse, saying to crowds of citizens and military companies at the railroad terminal, "I hope to return to Syracuse at another time to meet some of you and to know your town."
4 March 1861 - Abraham Lincoln inaugurated in Washington, D.C. as the 16th President of the U.S.
12 April 1861 - Crisis at Fort Sumter, SC--first shots fired; Civil War begins. During the Civil War 516,000 German-Americans (over 23% of the total number of soldiers) would fight for the Union; 500 officers in the U.S. Army were German-born.
14 April 1861 - Fort Sumter falls and news reaches Washington, D.C.
15 April 1861 - Captain Johnny Butler of Syracuse volunteers his Zouaves for three months' service, the first group from Central New York to respond to Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops. The unit leaves from the Syracuse train station on 21 April. Jenney's Artillery Battery also leaves in the middle of April.
2 May 1861 - The 12th Regiment [12th New York Volunteer Infantry], the first recruited entirely from Onondaga County, leaves for Elmira, Washington, D.C., and battlefields in Virginia. The Turner Regiment [20th Regiment, New York State Volunteer Infantry] also goes to war that spring.
August 1861 - The 1st Light Artillery Regiment [1st Regiment, Light Artillery, New York State Volunteers, Battery B (Petit's Battery)] is raised at Baldwinsville, composed mostly of Onondaga men, and sent off to fight in Virginia.
24 October 1861 - First telegram crosses the continent, from Sacramento, California to Washington, D.C.
1862 - Homestead Act passes, which will result in encouraging more Germans to immigrate and settle in America's heartland. Salt production in Syracuse reaches its peak: over 9 million bushels made, brine from the salt springs being conveyed through 75 miles of wooden pipes. Onondaga Historical Association founded. Benjamin Baum (father of L. Frank Baum), successful owner of the Carbon Oil Company, establishes the second National Bank in the Bastable Block, Syracuse. John Big Tree is born in the Onondaga territory; his profile would later grace the "Indian Head" nickel.
9 March 1862 - 101st Regiment, recruited from Onondaga and Delaware counties, leaves New York to fight in Virginia.
14 March 1862 - The Syracuse Turn-Verein is incorporated.
17 July 1862 - President Lincoln signs the Federal Militia Act of 1862 into law, ordering a draft for recruits for the Army; anti-draft riots in some places result
August/September 1862 - The 149th Regiment [149th New York Volunteer Infantry] is recruited and sent to Washington, D.C. for service in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia and the Carolinas. [See also "The Salt Point Rangers" re-enactors' website.] 122nd Regiment mustered in on 28 August, left for New York on the 31st.
1863 - The Capitol dome in Washington, D.C. is completed this year.
1 January 1863 - Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation, decreeing freedom for all slaves in the Union and the Confederate States. Negro volunteers are now accepted into the Union Army. In January John L. Roehner buys the Syracuse German-language newspaper, the Onondaga Demokrat, from Georg Saul and changes its name to the Syracuse Union.
3 March 1863 - Lincoln signs the Union Conscription Act, compelling all able-bodied American males aged 20 to 46 to report for duty in the Union Army or pay a fee of $300. Draft riots would break out nationwide, the worst being in New York City (13-16 July 1863)
21 May 1863 - 12th Regiment, reduced to 275 men, returns from war, is given warm welcome in Syracuse's Armory Park by the mayor, the military, firemen, and citizens.
Summer 1863 - The 15th Cavalry Regiment [The 15th New York Cavalry / "The Red Neck Ties"] is raised in Syracuse of men from nine different counties and sent off to war.
3 October 1863 - President Lincoln declares the last Thursday in November as a national holiday of Thanksgiving.
1 December 1863 - The Evangelische-Lutherische Zion's Church is incorporated in Syracuse with 90 families formerly members of St. John's Church.
1864 - In Europe, the Prussian-Danish War breaks out, with Prussia in alliance with Austria against Denmark, contesting possession of Schleswig-Holstein. The Castle Garden immigration depot in New York City becomes a recruiting quarters for the Union Army, where many German and Irish immigrants "just off the boat" immediately sign up, enticed by the $600 bounty for substitutes. Federal income tax is raised to ten percent of income over $10,000 a year (there was already a five percent tax on income between $600-$10,000 per year). Onondaga County prison at Pond & Lilac Streets in Syracuse partially burns. The congregation of Zion's builds a wooden church for $12,000. The Syracuse Liederkranz hosts the first of their German Folk Festivals.
25 July 1864 - Street railway opens down South Salina Street to Oakwood Cemetery and Brighton.
September 1864 - Companies of the 185th Regiment [185th New York Volunteer Infantry] are recruited in Onondaga and Cortland counties and serve in Virginia until the end of the war. Raised under the stimulus of a bounty totaling about $1,000 per volunteer, the 185th is the last full regiment raised in the county during the war.
Winter 1864 - Spring 1865 - Unusual winter snowfall combined with heavy March rains result in floods over large parts of eastern and southeastern Syracuse, damaging and destroying many bridges.
1865 - Slavery abolished in the U.S. by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Assumption Church built in Syracuse.
9 April 1865 - Civil War ends. Syracuse population is 31,700.
14 April 1865 - Abraham Lincoln assassinated, dies the following day. Vice-President Andrew Johnson succeeds him as the 17th President of the U.S.
26 April 1865 - Lincoln's funeral train travels through Syracuse on its way to his burial place in Illinois, stops for an hour at the terminal in Vanderbilt Square.
3 June 1865 - The 185th Regiment returns home to a Syracuse welcome.
16 June 1865 - The 149th Regiment returns from war service to a rousing welcome in Syracuse.
July 1865 - The Syracuse Liederkranz travels to New York City for a nationwide festival.
1866 - Prussian-Austrian War ("Seven Weeks' War") starts (15 June) and ends (23 August). Prussia quickly and thoroughly defeats Austria and its allies and gains additional territory by the annexation of Hanover, Electoral Hesse, Nassau, Schleswig-Holstein, and the free city of Frankfurt am Main. The German Confederation is dissolved, and the Prussian-led North German Confederation takes its place.
1867 - Dynamite patented by Alfred Nobel. Syracuse University is established when Genesee College (a Methodist liberal arts college) iss transferred from Lima, New York to Syracuse by an act of the state legislature. The Evangelische-Lutherische Zion's church burns down.
4 December 1867 - National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry formed to help farmers in the wake of the Civil War; designed to disseminate information and train farmers in new techniques.
1868 - Ice-skating becomes popular, one of the few sports that bring men and women together. George Pullman introduces the first railroad dining car.
9 March 1868 - Charles Dickens reads from his works, The Pickwick Papers and "A Christmas Carol" at the Weiting Opera House in Syracuse.
25 May 1868 - Congress mandates the eight-hour workday for government employees.
30 May 1868 - U.S. celebrates the first "Decoration Day."
26 December 1868 - The Syracuse Turn Hall burns down. Against tremendous odds, a new hall is built during the next year.
1869 - Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant becomes 18th President of the United States. Vacuum cleaner patented by Ives W. McGaffey. The hoop skirt gives way to the bustle. The first hospital in Syracuse, St. Joseph's Hospital, is founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia, and housed in a former old saloon and dance hall on Prospect Hill. The Shuezenverein (German Marksmen's Society) is founded in Syracuse.
28 February 1869 - The old depot (building dating from 1828) is pulled down by the Central Railroad Company's locomotive and cable from what would become Vanderbilt Square.
10 May 1869 - Golden spike driven in Ogden, Utah to mark completion of the first transcontinental railway.
14 September 1869 - A large parade of German military and social societies takes place in Syracuse in honor of the centennial birthday of famed German scientist Alexander von Humboldt. The American flag is flown for the first time over the newly rebuilt Turn Hall.
16 October 1869 - The "Cardiff Giant" is discovered near Cardiff, Town of Lafayette, Onondaga County, and thought to be a petrified prehistoric man. Exhibited in New York City in December, it is subsequently proven to be a hoax.
26 December 1869 - One year after the old hall burned down, a newly built Turn Hall is dedicated in Syracuse.
1870 - U.S. census shows population at 39,818,449 (over 2.3 million immigrants arrived in the previous decade); 1,690,533 persons in the U.S. were born in Germany; about five to six million in the U.S. speak German. New York is still the most populous state (almost 4.4 million residents). Charles Dickens dies. Smallpox epidemic in Syracuse. William A. Sweet produces the first steel in Syracuse.
29 June 1870 - Lilly Post, 66, Grand Army of the Republic, is founded in Syracuse with 100 charter members. Most of its members live on the North Side and are either of German birth or German descent. Membership will grow in coming years to over 500 members, until the Post finally dies 68 years later when its last member passes away in 1939.
19 July 1870 - Franco-Prussian War begins when Napoleon III of France declares war on Prussia.
December 1870 - Johann Ziegler sells the "Syracuse Union" German-language newspaper to Alexander von Landberg.
1871 - Prussia and the allied German states defeat France (peace treaty of Frankfurt signed 10 May); Germany gains Alsace-Lorraine; Chancellor Otto von Bismarck unites the German states, founding the second German Empire (Reich) (1871-1918). Compulsory military service is imposed upon all of Germany.
1 May 1871 - Parade and Peace Festival, sponsored by Syracuse's North Side German community, celebrates Germany's unification and victory in the Franco-Prussian war.
September, 1871 - Balloon ascension in the Syracuse area (in Hanover Square between S. Warren and S. Salina Streets), made by "Professor Coe." [Alternate site claimed: Clinton Square.] This event may have provided the inspiration for the wizard's balloon ascension in Frank L. Baum's later Wizard of Oz.
October, 1871 - The Great Chicago Fire (8-10 October) is followed by a series of arsons in Syracuse.
1872 - Ten percent of all newspapers and periodicals in the U.S. are published in a foreign language; 80% of these are in German; there are 97 daily German-language newspapers in the U.S.  It is estimated that there are about 2,300 American bands (many of them German or the product of German instruction) in the U.S.  First year all Syracuse school children are required to be vaccinated. German population of Syracuse petitions to have the German language taught in the public schools. Mass-produced skates and rinks make roller-skating a fad. Marsellus Casket Company founded in Syracuse (still in business today). Bishop Huntington of the Episcopal Diocese founds the House of the Good Shepherd in Syracuse (today University Hospital).
3 August 1872 - First murder among the Germans in Syracuse when Peter Schäfer is killed by Heinrich Fröhlich.
1873 - Bank failures throughout the U.S. result in the worst "panic" (financial recession) to date; the New York Stock Exchange is closed for 10 days. Effects would be felt for years. (1873 was also the beginning of severe worldwide price deflation that would extend beyond the 1870's.) U.S. cities with population of 20,000 or more start to receive free mail delivery. The House of Good Shepherd is opened by the Protestant Episcopal Church at 99 E. Fayette Street as a "place of temporary refuge, nursing and care for needy persons who are sick, suffering from accidents or otherwise homeless or unsheltered." Moved to a rented house on Hawley Street that spring, there is now room for seven patients at one time.
1 May 1873 - Penny postcards are introduced.
1874 - Joseph F. Glidden invents the modern barbed wire. There are 58 German-language daily newspapers in the United States. New York State passes a compulsory education act. Free public education has been opposed by some German immigrants, who fear its effect on their culture. The City Hospital for Communicable Diseases is founded by the City of Syracuse in reaction to a smallpox epidemic this year.
23 June 1874 - 14 killed, 145 injured when a second-floor assembly hall collapses at Montgomery & Jefferson Streets in Syracuse during a performance by the children of the Central Baptist Church.
1875 - U.S. Immigration Act provides for inspection of vessels by state officials and bars admission of ex-convicts and Chinese and Japanese immigrants brought into the country against their will. First electric dynamo built, in Ithaca, New York at Cornell University. George P. Hier elected mayor of Syracuse, first mayor of German heritage (his father, Ernst Höcher, had arrived in Syracuse in 1833). Syracuse's baseball team is named the Syracuse Stars.
9 December 1875 - A new site on Madison Street for the House of Good Shepherd (opened 1873), donated by Judge George F. Comstock, is dedicated; 400 patients will be treated in the first year.
1876 - General George Custer dies at Little Big Horn. Thomas A. Edison starts his "invention factory" in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and patents his mimeograph machine. The German Society of New York forms America's first legal-aid organization, providing assistance in landlord-tenant disputes and family law and helping to discourage exploitation of German immigrants. The new Syracuse Savings Bank building erected this year on Clinton Square is the tallest and most ornate in the city.
10 March 1876 - First electric transmission of the human voice by wire: Alexander Graham Bell calls Thomas Watson to him from another room in his home workshop ("Watson, come here, I need you!").
1877 - Rutherford B. Hayes becomes 19th President of the U.S. Carl Schurz is named Secretary of the Interior by President Hayes (first German-born American to be appointed to a Presidential Cabinet). Great Railroad Strike. Thomas Edison invents the phonograph. The new Syracuse University medical college, now located in three buildings on Orange Street, is relocated from former home in Geneva, New York.
28 June 1877 - First German Baptist Church organized in Syracuse with 30 members.
1878 - Worst yellow fever epidemic in U.S. history grips the southern states (over 5,000 deaths in Memphis alone and 20,000 deaths in the Mississippi Valley. Phonograph patented by Thomas Edison. Syracuse's first electric light installed: an arc lamp atop the Wieting Opera House on Clinton Square, powered by a dynamo in a nearby store. The first telephone appeared in the city that year in a demonstration (also at the Opera House) to a large audience of music telephoned from Auburn, NY.
1879 - Edison makes his first successful incandescent lamp demonstration, and constructs his first dynamo. Niagara Falls is illuminated for the first time on July 4th with 16 arc lamps powered by a dynamo, courtesy of inventor Charles F. Brush. First telephone exchange in Syracuse, with 16 subscribers; the telephone directory for that year would list 208 telephones in Syracuse. The city is granted a National League baseball franchise (The Syracuse Stars). Syracuse's Nettleton Shoe factory begins production (would succeed for 105 years, closing in 1984. The Wright brothers, Theodore Roosevelt, and Charles Lindbergh would all wear Nettleton shoes).
1880 - The U.S. economy is booming. U.S. population stands at 50,155,783 (alt. 50,189,209); first Federal census to show family relationships. According to this census there are 6,600,000 immigrants now living in the U.S., over 250,000 of them Germans entering the country in that year alone. A growing percentage of immigrants are now coming from Southern and Eastern Europe (but most still come from Scandinavia, Britain, and Germany). There are 19,633 divorces in the U.S. this year. A flood of strikes occur this year. The Salvation Army is established. Typewriters will become an indispensible tool in every newspaper office in the 1880's. Edison establishes the first incandescent lamp factory at Menlo Park, New Jersey. Citizens of Centerville, New York request that their town be renamed North Syracuse. Onions, celery, tobacco (for local cigar manufacturing), and hops and barley (for local beer production) are among the crops grown on local farms. St. Peter's German Evangelical Church is remodeled, with towers erected and chimes installed.
1881 - The American Red Cross is founded. Woodlawn Cemetery, "first garden mausoleum in Central New York," opens in Syracuse.
4 March 1881 - James Abram Garfield, Republican of Ohio, inaugurated as 20th President. 100 members of Syracuse's Lilly Post of the G.A.R., dressed in colonial uniforms and headed by a band, go to Washington, D. C., and participate in the inauguration parade.
2 July 1881 - President Garfield is shot by Charles J. Guiteau in Washington D.C.'s Union Station.
19 July 1881 - Weiting Block in Syracuse suffers a fire.
19 September 1881 - President Garfield dies of his wounds. Vice-President Chester Alan Arthur, Republican from Vermont, becomes 21st President.
21 September 1881 - The Solvay Process Company is formed; Rowland Hazard is manufacturer, scientist, and president. Its factory is established on the western shore of Onondaga Lake for the commercial production of soda ash, the first such plant in the U.S. The factory is situated on a tract of farmland close to two necessary ingredients: salt and limestone.
October 1881 - Syracuse Fire Chief Ira Wood resigns and Philip Eckel is placed at the head of the department, with Henry Reilly his assistant.
4 October 1881 - Meeting conducted by Clara Barton in Syracuse's Larned Building results in the formation one week later of the Syracuse chapter of the American Red Cross.
19 November 1881 - St. Joseph's German Catholic Church organized by German immigrants on the south/west side of Syracuse; it is the first parish to split off from Assumption Church on the North Side.
1882 - Over a quarter of a million Germans enter the United States this year. John W. Demong, born in Friederickstahl, Prussia in November 1833, is elected Mayor of Syracuse on the Democratic ticket and serves for only one year before his death.
17 April 1882 - St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church incorporated in Syracuse. First services held in Good Will Chapel, Fabius and Oswego streets.
15 May 1882 - On his 26th birthday, L. Frank Baum's play, "The Maid of Arran" has its first performance (at the Grand Opera House, Syracuse); it is a financial and critical success.
3 August 1882 - Federal government passes the Immigration Act, which outlaws immigration of "any convict, lunatic, idiot, or any other person unable to take care of him or herself without becoming a public charge...such persons shall not be permitted to land." A fifty-cent head tax is imposed on all arriving immigrants. Federal government takes over control (from the various states) of admission of all immigrants as the first national immigration law is applied to all U.S. ports of entry.
1883 - The first illuminated night baseball game is played in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. There are 82 German-language daily newspapers in the U.S. (the Scandanavian press, with a total of 49, runs a distant second). Tolls on the Erie Canal are abolished. Construction of the West Shore Railroad is completed; many in that "first wave" of Southern Italians who had moved to the area to work on that project would now find work in the salt yards or, later, at Solvay Process Company. Thomas Ryan succeeds John W. Demong as Mayor of Syracuse; Demong is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery. St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church erects frame building for worship on the corner of Oswego and Shonnard Streets, Syracuse. Author and playwright L. Frank and Maud Baum rent a home at #8 (now #107) Shonnard Street in Syracuse (their son, Frank Joslyn Baum is born to them in December).
April 1883 - Taft Settlement Grange organized near North Syracuse with 13 charter members.
4 April 1883 - L. Frank Baum's play, "Kilmourn" (or "O'Connor's Dream") is performed at the Weiting Opera House, Syracuse, by the Young Men's Dramatic Club, a local amateur group.
24 May 1883 - German-born engineer John A. Roebling's Brooklyn Bridge ("Eighth Wonder of the World") opens at 2 p.m.
Early summer, 1883 - First annual strawberry festival organized by the Taft Settlement Grange; crowds that visited included "lawyers, doctors, and businessmen from Syracuse and all the surrounding country."
26-27 August 1883 - After becoming active in May, the volcano Krakatoa explodes in Indonesia, the most violent volcanic activity of modern times. Fine ash from the eruption enters the upper atmosphere, affecting the earth's weather for several years. Breathtaking sunsets are observed during the winter months of 1883 in both America and Europe. Unusual sunsets continue for almost 3 years, finally disappearing in early 1886. Weather patterns are chaotic for years; global temperatures do not return to normal until 1888.
18 November 1883 - American railroads adopt Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific standard time zones.
27 November 1883 - Firemen in Poughkeepsie, New York rush out to extinguish the "immense conflagration" on the horizon, which turns out to be an unusually vivid sunset due to Krakatoa's volcanic ash in the atmosphere. (Firemen in New Haven, Connecticut are similarly duped.) "For several days past also there has been a peculiar state of atmosphere..." The cloud reached New York City in early December ("the entire island seemed ablaze"). It was a time of "unforgettable light shows" throughout the northern world (U.S., England, Europe). "There was for a while a curious, half-panicked mood about people who had to see these ghastly skies night after night: To some they seemed almost apocalyptic, often unnerving; and it was only when they were explained away as being caused by dust from a distant volcano that people began to relax, and to bask in the simple sight of a terrible beauty they would long remember."  A worldwide drop in temperature averaging 1 degree Fahrenheit accompanied the atmospheric cloud.
1884 - Financial panic in New York; banking firms fail. Tom Stevens passes through Syracuse on his route to Oakland, California--the first successful intercontinental bicycle trip. Roller skating is a craze; the barnlike Alhambra is built in Syracuse as a roller-skating rink and auditorium. After three years of construction, the Solvay Process Company is ready to start hiring laborers to work in the factory, the majority of whom would be either German- or Italian-speaking Tyrolean immigrants (Trentini) from southern Austria/northern Italy. Other main groups hired would be the Irish (the first to settle in Solvay) and the Southern Italians.
8 January 1884 - 11 p.m. - First official accident occurs at the Solvay Process Company's new plant, during its first attempt to produce soda ash. Several men hurt, at least one, William Hennessy, died.
24 May 1884 - The German Protestant Tabor Orphanage is incorporated in Syracuse.
6 December 1884 - Final capstone in place, Washington Monument is completed in Washington, D.C.
1885 - Grover Cleveland, Democrat from New Jersey, inaugurated as 22nd President (his boyhood home stands in Fayetteville, Onondaga County, near NY State Routes 5 and 92). The Statue of Liberty is floodlighted by the use of arc lights from the Fort Wayne Electric Company. The German-language press represents 79% of all foreign-language publications in the U.S. Benjamin Baum (L. Frank Baum's father) and his family move to 37 Shonnard Street in Syracuse. In October he is involved in a serious accident when a runaway horse throws him from his carriage; he is subsequently a semi-invalid.
January 1885 - First successful appendectomy performed (in Davenport, Iowa). St. Mark's Evangelist Lutheran Church organized in Syracuse.
13 January 1885 - 4:10 a.m. explosion at the Solvay Process Company plant injures 10, kills one. "Though the temperature was -10 degrees Fahrenheit for over two weeks, the men were able to reconstruct the plant by using heated bricks and mortar. Within six weeks the plant was ready to run again."
26 February 1885 - At the urging of American labor unions, Congress passes the Foran Act, prohibiting contract immigrant labor. Employers are no longer allowed to pay for the passage of foreigners wishing to immigrate to the U.S. in exchange for indentured labor. No immigrant could have a job or a promise of a job before landing.
20 April 1885 - The Soda Ash Special, an employee train with side seats like a trolley car, provided by company management, began running between Syracuse and the Solvay Process Company. The cost to a rider was 2 cents each way, and the train ran until 15 June 1901.
1886 - Year of the "great uprisings" (double the number of labor strikes of any previous year). Following a strike in New York City, the Edison Machine Works move to Schenectady, NY. The Haymarket Riot takes place in Chicago (resulting, in 1887, in the execution of August Spies, editor of the Arbeiter-Zeitung, and seven other Germans for inciting labor riots). The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is formed, overseeing 70,000 Catholics. Frank and Maud Baum and their two young sons move to #43 (now #268-270) Holland Street. The Solvay Process Company produces 20 percent of all soda ash consumed in the U.S.
1 June 1886 - Syracuse fire chief Philipp Eckel is thrown from his vehicle on the way to a fire and dies of his injuries.
2 June 1886 - President Cleveland married at the White House to Miss Francis Folsom.
Summer 1886 - The old lamplighter begins to disappear from the streets of Syracuse when electric lights begin to make their appearance here.
28 October 1886 - Statue of Liberty dedication ceremonies on Bedloe Island in New York Harbor attended by President Cleveland and one million spectators. President Cleveland said in part: "We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar be neglected."
1887 - Edison creates the first talking doll in his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory. Syracuse Rescue Mission founded, its building located on Railroad Street. A group of 14 public-spirited Syracuse women found Syracuse Women's Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the only hospital in the area that admits women and children. Taft Settlement Grange buys a lot and builds its first Hall, with meetings held in the second story (a cheese factory took up the ground floor). Bicycling is all the rage.
14 February 1887 - Benjamin Ward Baum (L. Frank Baum's father, a wealthy businessman), dies in Syracuse.
15-17 September 1887 - Centenary celebration of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
1888 - Wilhelm II (the Kaiser), the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ascends to the throne. George Eastman offers his first camera, the "Kodak," for sale in the U.S.--a simple box camera with fixed-focus lens and single shutter speed, it was pre-loaded with 100 exposures of film (and needed to be returned to the factory for processing and reloading); its affordable price appealed to middle-class consumers and new hobbyists. The Syracuse Liederkranz begins holding its meetings at Gilcher Hall, corner of Butternut & Lodi. After years of drilling by the Solvay Process Company, a suitable source of salt (a necessary ingredient for soda ash production) is found in the Tully Well on the east side of the Tully Valley. Solvay Process would form the Tully Pipe Line Company to delivery Tully brine to Solvay through 20 miles of pipe.
12 January 1888 - Severe blizzards begin throughout the Northeast.
11-14 March 1888 - Severe blizzards and snowfall cripple New York and the Eastern seaboard.
4 July 1888 - 25th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg attended there by 25,000 survivors.
20 September 1888 - L. Frank Baum moves his family from Syracuse to Aberdeen, South Dakota.
October 1888 - Washington Monument opened to visitors in Washington, D.C.
November 1888 - First electric street car line in Syracuse begins service.
1889 - Benjamin Harrison, Republican from Ohio, inaugurated as 23rd President. Thomas Edison invents the Kinetoscope, and forms the Edison Electric Company. Charles Steinmetz arrives in the U.S. The Kodak "hand camera" launches amateur "snapshot" photography. The Linotype machine comes into general use. A new City Hall goes up in Syracuse on the site of the old one. The Hebrew Free School is organized in Syracuse. A three-and-a-quarter-mile aerial cable system is started to haul buckets of limestone from Split Rock quarry over the 8-mile route to the Solvay Process Company's ten kilns. Supported by wooden poles and driven by a 30-horsepower steam engine, the buckets, spaced 80 feet apart and big as pianos, each carried 1,000 pounds of limestone along Genesee Street.
Jakob Sax, former member of the Syracuse Board of Supervisors and then a successful businessman, writes in response to a inquiry from a Viernheim, Germany resident:*
Dear Friend, I perceive from your letter that you too intend to emigrate to America, and you are asking if conditions are better here than in Germany. Well, dear friend, that is a difficult question to answer because not everyone who comes to America finds his fortune. Many get into dire need and misery. You will find here as many poor people who are in want as you do in Germany. Then too, it is not an easy undertaking for a family man to come to a foreign land where he is not familiar with the language, which of course, adds to the difficulty. Many are then disallusioned [sic] and damn this country.
December 1889 - Scribner's magazine runs "How the Other Half Lives," a shocking photographic essay by Jacob Riis concerning the squalid living conditions of immigrants in New York City.
1890 - Kaiser Wilhelm II fires Otto von Bismarck as chief minister. U.S. population is 62,979,766, a 25 percent increase in just a decade. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 American bands (many of them German or the product of German instruction) in the U.S.  New York is the most populous state with six million residents, one million more than in 1880. There are widespread business and bank failures this year. An influenza epidemic starts in the East in January taking many lives. The first electrocution of a prisoner is conducted at Auburn Prison, New York.
The population of the community around the Solvay Process plant (10 years earlier mere farmland) is now 563, and will soon explode upward. The Franz-Joseph Mutual Benefit Society is established by immigrant Tyroleans in Solvay ($1 monthly dues), to help one another out in the event of illness or death.  The Leland Hotel fire in Syracuse kills 6, severely burns 11. The New York State Fair takes up its permanent home in the town of Geddes, west of Syracuse. Syracuse University fields its first football team; the Syracuse Stars baseball team is accepted in the American Association. There are 20,000 bicycles in Syracuse. James Pass, a chemistry student working for the Onondaga Pottery Company, invents a process producing a translucent white china known as "Syracuse China." The German Catholic Dreifaltigkeits-Kirche is organized in Syracuse and the Delaware School is built (the present Delaware School building at Delaware & South Geddes Streets will be built in 1917).
12 April 1890 - Sophia R. Usenbents dies in Syracuse, age 83 years, 6 months; first German-American born in Syracuse (1806).
Mid-April 1890 - Castle Garden closed as immigration depot in New York City; immigrants use the Barge Office as a depot until end of 1891.
November, 1890 - Solvay Process Company's employee restaurant opens, soon serves 25,000 meals a month (a meal including soup, meat, potatoes and a beverage costs 17 cents).
1891 - Immigration Act passed; job of processing immigrants is totally taken over by the federal government. Federal inspectors examine immigrants on arrival. All immigrants must pass a medical exam and answer questions about their background and intentions in America. Shipping lines are forbidden to solicit immigrants in foreign countries. The law also bars from admission persons suffering from "loathesome or dangerous diseases," those convicted of crimes involving "moral turpitude," polygamists, and those whose passage was paid for by others. Those rejected for immigration are deported at the expense of the shipping companies which had transported them to the U.S. Dreifaltigkeits-Kirche (Holy Trinity Church) parish, the second parish to split off from Assumption Catholic Church, is established on Syracuse's North Side.
14-15 March 1891 - Fire starting in Hier & Leighton Cigar Factory (W. Fayette & Franklin Streets) destroys 14 buildings and damages others in downtown Syracuse.
7 May 1891 - Fire breaks out around 8 p.m. in the four-story block on Walton Street in Syracuse owned by James W. Eager. The $35,000 brick building, built the previous year, and all of its contents were declared a total loss. Destroyed along with building were: the "heavy hardware business" of Mr. Eager located on the first floor and in the basement; Joseph Messenger's firm which manufactured paper boxes and perfection door hangers on the second floor; Charles Gilcher & Company's business of manufacturing children's shoes on the third floor; as well as $8,000 worth of spring stock furniture stored by the Syracuse Cabinet Company on the fourth floor and stoves and hardware stored by Frank Diel on the rear of the second floor. The estimated loss was $120,000 total, only half of it covered by insurance.
1892 - Duryea brothers build the first gasoline-powered motorcar in the U.S. (Springfield, Mass.) E.C. Stearns & Co., Syracuse hardware manufacturer, begins producing bicycles. Jacob Amos, Jr. (son of German immigrant Jacob Amos, Sr.) is elected Mayor of Syracuse and the current City Hall building opens for business at the intersection of Montgomery & Washington Streets. Liverpool willow basket production is at its height: approximately 396,000 baskets made that year. Liverpool baskets and willow furniture are marketed worldwide until the turn of the century when willow imports from Belgium, Poland, and China undercut the industry. Solvay Process Company Guild opens the first kindergartens in Solvay and in Syracuse (alt. date 1897).
1 January 1892 - Ellis Island immigration depot opens for business.
March 1892 - Solvay Process Company begins growing and providing food for its employees, as its Tully Farms project (3,000 acres farmed by Solvay employees) supplies the company's employee restaurant with eggs, butter, milk, poultry, apples, cider, and produce.
20 July 1892 - Big German Pioneer Festival in Syracuse.
1893 - Grover Cleveland, Democrat, inaugurated as 24th President (for his second, nonconsecutive term). Columbian Exposition opens in Chicago (where Syracuse China would win a Medal of Honor).
27 March 1893 - First long-distance telephone call, from New York to Alexander Graham Bell in Chicago.
10 May 1893 - Engine 999 of the Empire State Express, a New York Central locomotive pulling four heavy cars, sets a new world landspeed record of 112-1/2 miles per hour on its run from Batavia to Buffalo, New York. Crowds watch engineer Charles Hogan and fireman Ike O'Dell prepare for the run, which commenced at the Syracuse station.
27 June 1893 - Stock market crash and financial panic is followed by a two-year depression, the worst in the history of the U.S. (600 banks close, 74 railroads go out of business, 15,000 commercial firms collapse). "The next few years were among the darkest in American history, being marked by the Pullman Strike, in which federal troops were used to keep the trains running, widespread protest marches by unemployed people, and the spectacle of the government's having to turn to a private banker, J.P. Morgan, to obtain enough gold to avoid bankruptcy." 
1894 - Last of the Russian czars, Nicholas II, ascends to the throne. Entertainer Jack Benny is born. Syracuse hires its first truant officer, Daniel Kieley. Jacob Amos, Jr. is again elected mayor of Syracuse. Syracuse Liederkranz competes at New York City Saengerfest, wins a $1,000 grand piano. Syracuse's German Protestant Tabor Church is organized.
March 1894 - Twenty business and industrial leaders meet at the home of Frederick R. Hazard to incorporate the community that has grown up next to the Solvay Process plant as the Village of Solvay. Two months later Hazard is elected Village President (mayor); water and lighting systems are instituted. Its population in 1894 is 1,762. 
3 July 1894 - 19-mile city water system pipeline begins operation between Skaneateles Lake and Syracuse.
1895 - U.S. Post Office establishes rural free delivery, as advocated by the Grange and other farmers' groups. Sears, Roebuck & Company starts its mail-order business. Guglielmo Marconi exhibits wireless transmission, pioneering radio research. The automatic player-piano enters the market. The Solvay Fire Department is organized to serve the village with 50 volunteer firefighters, a horse-drawn hook and ladder wagon, and two-wheeled horse carts.
30 January 1895 - The S.S. Elbe collides with British steamer Crathie in the North Sea off the Dutch coast, and goes down within a few minutes with a loss of over 320 lives.
20 May 1895 - The U.S. Supreme Court rules income tax is unconstitutional.
July 1895 - Alexander von Landberg sells the "Syracuse Union" newspaper to J. P. Pinzer.
1896 - First commercial automobile appeared on Detroit streets. Vaudeville theaters began showing motion pictures, including "The Empire State Express," featuring a train rushing full speed at the audience. Will & Baumer candlemaking firm established in Syracuse when Francis Baumer Candle Co. merges with Eckermann & Will Candle Co. Ignace Paderewski plays at the Alhambra. Solvay's population is 2,734; its Police Department and the Solvay Choral Society are established.
3 September 1896 - The Weiting Block suffers a fire.
1897 - William McKinley, Republican of Ohio, inaugurated as 25th President (he is the last Civil War veteran to be President). Library of Congress gets its own building. Body of Ulysses S. Grant interred in his Tomb on Riverside Drive, New York City. First Kindergarten established in Syracuse (alt date 1892). Overview of the city from Geschichte der Deutschen in Syracuse und Onondaga County and a statistical look at Syracuse's foreign-born population. Approximately half of Liverpool's 1,400 inhabitants are German.
2 January 1897 - A homoeopathic hospital, later to become Syracuse General Hospital, opens at Seymour and S. West Streets, Syracuse. A training school for nurses opens there two years later.
18 January 1897 - Crouse-Hinds Electric Company is born in Syracuse, begins manufacturing electrical power transmission products, and later, trolley car headlights, lighthouse lenses, and other traffic and industrial lighting fixtures. Huntington Beard Crouse and Jesse Lorenzo Hinds are the partners.
2 March 1897 - President Cleveland vetos bill requiring literacy tests for immigrants.
14 June 1897 - A fire destroys Ellis Island's wooden buildings. Ellis Island immigration depot closes, immigrants use the Barge Office until December 1900.
1898 - Syracuse Liederkranz wins first prize at the first Saengerfest in Utica, NY.
1 January 1898 - The five boroughs of New York City combine to become the City of Greater New York, operating under one mayor--now the second-largest city in the world.
15 February 1898 - Explosion of the U.S. battleship Maine in Havana harbor ignites the Spanish-American War. With peace treaty signed 10 December, the U.S. acquires Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. By the end of the war 289 lives had been lost in battle, 4,000 lost to disease.
1899 - Ragtime is a popular musical style; the Gibson Girl sets womens' fashions. Telephone company (headquarters on Montgomery Street in Syracuse, where today the Onondaga Historical Association is located) has 12,100 customers, 200 trunk lines, and places 21,000 calls each day.
4 February 1899 - Philippine Islands commence guerilla warfare against the U.S., seeking their independence.
November 1899 - The U.S. acquires (through a treaty with Germany and Great Britain) the Samoan island Tutuila, four adjacent islets (Aunu'm, Ofu, Olosega, and Ta'u), and the Manua Islands, including the atoll Rose Island.
20 December 1899 - The old Alhambra is destroyed by fire in about an hour. Built as a skating rink around 1879, it served as an auditorium and great hall as well, hosting political and other speakers including William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, and lending its space to "prominent social events, dramatic entertainments, grand concerts, and pugilistic exhibitions." A "new" Alhambra is completed the following spring at 275 James Street.
1900 - President McKinley re-elected. U.S. population is 76,303,387 (alt. 77,271,985); 2,501,333 are "German born" and 5,781,437 are of "German parentage." Most of the farmers in America are of German ancestry, but immigration by Germans into the U.S. now is only 4 percent of the total.  There are 55,751 divorces in the country this year; one of every 12 marriages ended in divorce, and no other country had a divorce rate so high. Consolidations in the German-language press in the U.S. accelerating as readership and subscriptions decline. Corruption is "discovered" among the administrators of Ellis Island in New York City. George Eastman manufacturers the one-dollar Brownie Box Camera (uses transparent, flexible black and white roll film selling for ten or fifteen cents per six-photo roll).
Syracuse population is 108,374. Solvay populaton is 3,493. The Automobile Club of Syracuse, one of the first of its kind in the world, is formed by the six automobile owners in the area. Gustav Stickley begins manufacturing his distinctive oak furniture (in what would become known as the Arts & Crafts, or Mission, style) in Syracuse. The U.S. Department of Labor requests that Frederick R. Hazard, head of the Solvay Process Company plant, outline company policies for their review, in order to learn more about the management system that keeps Solvay strike-free. (The Solvay Process Company remained strike-free until 1950.) Average wages for day laborers, lime kiln workers and soda ash workers at the company from the late 1800's to 1911 ranged from 12 to 25 cents an hour.
30 June 1900 - Fire destroys the docks in Hoboken, NJ of the North German Lloyd and Hamburg American steamship companies; ocean liners, other ships, and 145 lives are lost.
14 August 1900 - 2,000 U.S. Marines aid the British in the capture of Peking, China, terminating the Boxer uprising.
22 August 1900 - The Philip Eckel Monument is erected on Syracuse's northside to honor the German-born fire chief who died in the line of duty (it is the third outdoor commemorative monument erected in the city).
1 October 1900 - Last horse-drawn streetcar line in Syracuse (the Green Street line from Salina to James to the terminus at Lodi and Green) gives way to electricity.
17 December 1900 - Ellis Island immigration depot reopens for business in New York City; used until late 1954.
1901 - The average U.S. life span is 49 years. President Roosevelt appoints a new Commissioner of Emigration in hopes of ending corruption at Ellis Island. Walt Disney is born. In Syracuse, the Franklin Car Company (John Wilkinson, inventor) produces its first vehicle (with uniquely air-cooled engine).
7 April 1901 - Bridge crossing the Oswego Canal at James Street collapses under the weight of a trolley car.
9 May 1901 - Stock market collapses in New York City; financial panic results.
6 September 1901 - President William McKinley, serving in his second term, is shot by an anarchist (Leon F. Czolgosz) while shaking hands in a reception line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and dies on 14 September. Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt, Republican of New York, inaugurated as 26th President (at age 42, the youngest President).
12 December 1901 - Marconi's wireless telegraphy (radio) is a success, transmits Morse code from Wales to St. Johns, Newfoundland.
1902 - H. H. Franklin Autombile Company becomes a major employer at South Geddes and Marcellus Streets, Syracuse.
30 April 1902 - Philippine rebellion officially ends; U.S. military governorship rules until 4 July, then civil government is established.
1903 - Phonograph recordings of operatic arias, sung by celebrated artists to piano accompaniment, began to be issued by the Columbia Company, a pioneer in the industry. Filmed that year: "The Great Train Robbery." Motion pictures shown in nickelodeons. The sculpture known as "Bronze Boy" is erected on Syracuse's north side; its German and Italian neighbors react with shock and scorn, clothing its naked four-foot body and placing hats on its head.
17 December 1903 - Wright brothers' successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
1904 - The "rich man's depression" of 1904 lasted for one year. There are 78 German-language daily newspapers in the U.S. The New York City Subway opens. The Solvay Process Company constructs a $5,000 brick gymnasium opposite Guild Hall for use by employees and village residents.
1 May 1904 - St. Louis Exposition (World's Fair) opens, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. Ice-cream cones and iced tea are invented and introduced there by Fair vendors.
23 May 1904 - A drastic cut in steerage passenger rates goes into effect for trans-Atlantic travel. Competition among Italy, Germany, Britain, and France for control of the seas leads them to offer large subsidies to their steamship lines; these savings are passed on to customers and result in the building of monster ships. Passage now takes less than a month, and the cost of a steerage ticket can be earned in a week at any decent job. Immigrant labor is still desired in America, and recruiters encourage emigration in foreign countries. Wages in the U.S. are two to three times the level in Europe.
15 June 1904 - The greatest maritime disaster in New York City history: 1,021 German immigrants (most of them women and children residents of New York City's Kleindeutschland in today's East Village) die on their way to a church picnic when their excursion boat, the General Slocum, catches fire in the East River. The fire breaks out below deck just as the ship reaches 90th Street and quickly spreads to the upper decks, sinking the ship. For the German-American community of "Little Germany" on Manhattan, the effects are devastating because so many in the 800,000-strong community know someone who was a victim of the tragedy. A mass exodus begins that year from the neighborhood which had been a haven for German immigrants since the 1840's. Many relocate to Yorkville on the Upper West Side. (Today “Kleindeutschland” on the lower East Side has all but disappeared and Yorktown now has little particularly German flavor.)
1905 - President Theodore Roosevelt begins his second term. The Carnegie-Solvay Library (also funded and supplied by Solvay Process Company) is completed at the southeast corner of Woods and Orchard Roads.
5 December 1905 - In his speech to Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt says: "there is no danger in having too many immigrants of the right kind" [i.e. ones willing to learn English, embrace the values and customs of the middle class, improve themselves through education, work hard in their professions, and obey the law] and that he "grows extremely indignant at the attitude of coarse hostility to the immigrant....I want to implant in the minds of our fellow Americans of foreign ancestry or birth the knowledge that they have just the same rights and opportunities as anyone else in this country."
1906 - Diphtheria epidemic rages through Syracuse this year and in 1907. Electric power generated by Niagara Falls is transmitted 150 miles to Syracuse. Schrafft's restaurant opens in Syracuse (will stay in business until 1965). Syracuse Liederkranz wins first prize at the fourth Saengerfest in Troy, NY: a magnificent grandfather clock, which was placed in the lounge of the Liederkranz hall on Butternut Street. Population of Solvay is 5,000. Solvay Process Company establishes a day nursery for employees' children, among the first in the nation; cost was five cents a day per child.
18 April 1906 - San Francisco's worst earthquake, followed by devastating fire.
27 September 1906 - Congress passes the Basic Naturalization Act, standardizing the naturalization process throughout the U.S. and requiring names of spouse and children (if any) to appear on an alien's naturalization paperwork.
1907 - Financial depression in the United States. Public outcry, especially from labor groups, against the flood of "new immigrants" from southern and eastern Europe has Congress forming a presidential panel on immigration reform. (The foreign-born make up fourteen percent of the U.S. population and half of the U.S. labor force.)
2 March 1907 - Congress passes an act wherein a wife's citizenship status is determined by the status of her husband. Now a U.S.-born female citizen who marries an alien after this date would lose her U.S. citizenship (and could later regain it if and when her husband was naturalized).
30 July 1907 - 2:30 - 2:45 p.m.: Break in the Erie Canal in Syracuse, drains water into Onondaga Creek; five boats destroyed and buildings damaged.
27 August 1907 - Syracuse and South Bay Trolley line opens for business between the city and North Syracuse; stagecoach line now obsolete.
16 December 1907 - The "Great White Fleet" of sixteen U.S. battleships begins its almost- fifteen-month-long, 46,000-mile voyage around the world to win friends and display U.S. naval might.
1908 - The average U.S. farmer's standard of living has increased dramatically, showing a profit of $540 per year on his holdings; average prices of farm products have increased almost fifty percent since 1900; the value of the average farm increased from $5,471 to $6,444 in the same period. Sears, Roebuck, rural free mail delivery, daily newspaper delivery, and new consumer products like electric toasters and irons make life on the farm much easier. Syracuse's North High School opens on the Pond Street site of the old county penitentiary. Solvay Process Company engineers construct a tunnel through Jerome's Hill in Solvay to shorten the aerial cable ride of limestone hauled from the Split Rock quarry.
6 February 1908 - The homeopathic hospital, founded in 1897 and moved to the old Mann House at S. State and E. Castle Streets in 1906-1907, formally opens under its new name: Syracuse General Hospital.
25 June 1908 - Taft Settlement Grange Hall burns down, destroying all records, minute books and furniture.
October 1908 - Henry Ford introduces his mass-produced Model T, priced around $825.
1909 - William Howard Taft, Republican of Ohio, inaugurated as 27th President. Admiral Robert Peary reaches the North Pole. The Lincoln-head penny comes into circulation, replacing the Indian-head penny in use since 1859.
27 February 1909 - Last stagecoach run between Cicero and Syracuse; trolley takes over mail and passenger service.
April 1909 - Music is broadcast from New York City's Metropolitan Opera House to the home of Lee deForest, inventor of the three-element tube that made radio possible.
22 June 1909 - Major explosion in the caustic department of Solvay Process Company injures five men.
1910 - Halley's comet appears. Mark Twain dies. America suffers a one-year depression. U.S. population is 93,402,151 (alt. 93,484,018); less than half have high school diplomas, four percent have college degrees.
26 March 1910 - Congress amends the Immigration Act of 1907 to bar entry into the U.S. of paupers, criminals, anarchists, and diseased persons.
21 June 1910 - A huge crowd watches as the Soldiers and Sailors monument is unveiled in Clinton Square to commemorate those who served in the Civil War.
15 October 1911 - Thousands attend the unveiling of a monument to Goethe and Schiller fabricated in Germany, erected in Syracuse's Schiller Park (James Street & Delhi Street), and dedicated to Syracusans of German ancestry by the Deutscher Bund of Onondaga County.
1912 - Wife of the Japanese ambassador to the U.S. gives First Lady Mrs. Taft 2,000 tiny cherry trees as a sign of friendship; they are planted along the Tidal Basin in Potomac Park, Washington, D.C. Crouse Irving Hospital, founded by a group of physicians and investors, opens. A Wurlitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra Style J organ with a shipping weight of 9,000 pounds is sold to a Syracuse skating rink (the Alhambra?) for $6,000, including installation. The Solvay Process Company abandons the exhausted Split Rock quarry as a source of limestone; turns to other area quarries; disbands its aerial cable transport system and grows mushrooms in the Jerome Hill tunnel. Oreo cookies, Life Savers candies, and Hellman's mayonnaise are introduced to U.S. consumers.
14-15 April 1912 - The White Star liner Titanic sinks after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York.
15 September 1912 - Big tornado blows through area north of Syracuse, NY, damaging Long Branch Park, Liverpool, and Pitcher Hill, killing three.
1913 - Woodrow Wilson, Democrat, of Virginia, inaugurated as the 28th President. Two amendments (16th, establishing income tax, and 17th, regulating election of senators by popular vote) added to the U.S. Constitution. People's Hospital founded in Syracuse at the corner of Delaware and Sabine Streets. Henry Keck Studio in Syracuse begins creating stained glass windows for homes and churches, would become nationally reknowned. North Syracuse starts a Volunteer Fire Department with two hand-drawn chemical fire engines.
11 April 1913 - After 67 years of business, the Plank Road closes between Cicero and Syracuse; State road (Route 11) for autos would open two years later.
24 April 1913 - With the flick of a switch in Washington, D.C., President Wilson first lights the new 60-floor Woolworth office building in New York City, tallest building in the world (financed by Frank W. Woolworth, son of a poor farmer from Watertown, New York).
6 September 1913 - Greenway Brewery burns to the ground (plant covered one-eighth of a mile between Franklin and West Streets, Syracuse).
23 December 1913 - Congress passes act to create the Federal Reserve Bank system.
1914 - The Mexican political situation (including Pancho Villa), growing more chaotic and violent, brings the U.S. to the brink of war. The German-language press now represents about 46% of all foreign-language publications in the U.S., followed by (in descending order) the Yiddish, Bohemian, and Polish press (the drop from around 80% is mainly due to declining German immigration and the Americanization of previous immigrants). Burnet Park Zoo opens in Syracuse.
10 February 1914 - Earthquake centered in the Adirondacks breaks windows in Syracuse.
22 April 1914 - House of Good Shepherd comes under control of Syracuse University, now to be known as University Hospital of Good Shepherd.
28 June 1914 - Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife in Sarejevo, Bosnia precipitates World War I.
1 August 1914 - Germany declares war on Russia. Taft Settlement Grange picnic at Fiddlers Green.
4 August 1914 - Great Britain, an ally of Russia, declares war on Germany. President Wilson declares neutrality for the United States.
15 August 1914 - Panama Canal opens to commercial traffic. Lighting fixtures there were produced by Crouse-Hinds Company of Syracuse.
December, 1914 - Mrs. Horace Eaton, starting the tradition, brings the first public Christmas tree to Syracuse (located in Columbus Circle that year).
1915 - U.S. Coast Guard established. Population of the U.S. passes 100 million. There are 254,037 miles of railroad in the U.S., the most ever. In an attempt to prevent accidents, the first edition (in English, Italian, and Polish) of "Rules and Regulations and General Remarks" is issued to its workers by the Solvay Process Company. Meanwhile, prompted by the onset of World War I, the company's affiliate, Semet-Solvay, erects an explosives plant at Split Rock quarry to manufacture carbolic acid, picric acide, ammonia picrate and TNT. "Before long, the Split Rock plant was producing one-fourth of America's entire supply of explosives...President Woodrow Wilson described the Solvay Process Company, along with its affiliate Semet-Solvay, as 'one of our most precious possessions.'" 
According to Rita Cominolli's book, Smokestacks Allegro, in the early decades of the 1900's ethnic groups across America were becoming increasingly exclusive and clannish. She quotes local worker Louie Scaia, who noted:
The Sacred Heart section [of Syracuse] was all Polish. The North Side was split between the Germans and the Italian. The West End of Syracuse [just outside Solvay] was Irish--Tipperary Hill. Skunk City.... Well, Solvay was known as Little Tyrol. We had most of the streets. Caroline. Freeman. Lamont. Williams Street. They were all Tyroleans living there--and they all worked down at Solvay Process.
19 April 1915 - William Barnes vs. Theodore Roosevelt libel trial opens in Onondaga County Court House. Former President Roosevelt takes the witness stand to give personal testimony.
23-28 April 1915 - Germany introduces poison gas at Ypres, turning American sentiment toward the Allies (Russia, Great Britain, France, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan and Italy) and against the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria).
7 May 1915 - German U-boat torpedos the Cunard line steamer Lusitania, bound from New York to England, with a loss of 1,198 lives.
November 1915 - Billy Sunday brings his spiritual crusade to the Syracuse Tabernacle.
1 December 1915 - Two German military attaches, Captains Franz von Papen and Karl Boy-Ed, are expelled from the U.S. after an attache case detailing the German government's plans to launch a series of sabotage strikes against U.S. military installations is found by chance on a New York subway car.
1916 - Infantile paralysis epidemic. Solvay Process Company's Guild Hall gym used as hospital space, Process Company pays to provide doctors and nurses.
19 February 1916 - Tank explosion at the Semet-Solvay Split Rock TNT plant kills five, injures five more.
2 October 1916 - The Tuberculosis Sanatorium on Onondaga Hill opens.
1917 - Russian Revolution/overthrow of the Czar. President Woodrow Wilson begins his second term. Pershing's army withdraws from Mexico without having captured Pancho Villa. Syracuse's community War Chest established, the forerunner of the Community Chest and eventually the United Way.
3 February 1917 - A German submarine sinks the American ocean liner, Housatonic, off the coast of Sicily; U.S. breaks off diplomatic ties with Germany. Germany has declared unrestricted submarine warfare on all shipping, including that of neutral countries.
4 February 1917 - On this date appears the following in the Cincinnati, Ohio Westliche Blätter [German-language newspaper], advising its German readership how they might prepare for "this horrible folly and injustice," the inevitably approaching war:
Our condition will be very unpleasant. We will be watched with suspicious eyes and we will be charged with the most disgraceful plans. This attitude we can only combat with caution, and by avoiding everything which might give the least offense. Protest and Indignation meetings must absolutely cease. All outbursts of anger must be avoided. We must follow the motto of the suffering Kaiser, "Learn to suffer without complaint." Whether we will or no, we must do our duty as American citizens. We owe it to the oath of allegiance which we took to the union, we owe it to our families.
5 February 1917 - Immigration Act of 1917 passed by Congress (over President Wilson's veto): No Asians allowed other than Japanese; all other immigrants must pass a literacy test; vagrants, illiterates, alcoholics, and persons seeking to enter the U.S. "for immoral purposes" are excluded. The following appears in the Columbus, Ohio Express und Westbote [German-langugage newspaper] on this date:
Naturally our sympathies have been with Germany….Germany was our Fatherland. To-day it is different. Our adopted country should have our first love and has it. Even as a man leaves his father and mother and bestows his affection upon his wife, so have we done in the matter of country. Our whole allegiance is to the United States—be she right or wrong. To the challenge sent, Woodrow Wilson could make but one answer—he has made it. If the worst comes to the worst and war with all its curse falls upon this land—which we hope and pray will not be the case—the Americans of German Birth or with German Inclinations will be found standing shoulder to shoulder with those of other nationalities, who have been made Americans in this, the great Melting Pot of the Nations. Our Country, may she ever be right—but our Country above all, right or wrong. 
1 March 1917 - Associated Press reports that Germany (via telegram dated 16 January) urged Mexico, with the help of Japan, to wage war on the U.S. In return Germany promised to help Mexico "reconquer the lost territory in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico."
6 April 1917 - At 1:18 p.m. the U.S. declares war on Germany. Woodrow Wilson's call for the declaration contains the famous line, "The world must be made safe for democracy" and insisted that "we have no quarrel with the German people.... We fight without rancor and without selfish object." Anti-German hysteria runs throughout the U.S. German-language instruction ("teaching the Hun language") ends in most states. News dealers, advertisers, and communities boycott German newspapers and Boy Scouts in some communities (e.g. Cleveland, Ohio) burn them. During the war, almost all German singing societies and lodges are forced to curtail or suspend their activities, or else to turn to the use of English songs and English rituals. German theatres are closed, concert programs are purged of German music, and scores of German newspapers suspend publication, never to resume. ("German-Americans were thought to be putting ground glass in America's sausage, poisoning community water supplies, and spreading defeatist or pacifist thoughts. Rumor had it that the Kaiser's agents were disguised as Bible salesmen; what could be lower?" )
18 May 1917 - Congress enacts Selective Military Conscription Bill. On 5 June from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every American male (ages 21 to 30) must register. A military camp for recruits (Camp Syracuse) is set up at the State Fairgrounds; livestock buildings become barracks.
26 June 1917 - American Expeditionary Force arrives in France.
15 October 1917 - Amendment to the Espionage Act goes into effect, requiring every foreign-language newspaper in the U.S. to submit literal English translations of all articles containing news and comments on the war, unless exempted by official permit of the postmaster-general (effectively censoring all German-language newspapers). Many German papers receive permits almost immediately (probably due to political influence); a few had not received them by the end of the war. 
27 October 1917 - American troops begin fighting in Europe.
2 November 1917 - First Americans killed near Bathelemont, France when U.S. Engineer regiments sent to support the British are caught up in battle.
1918 - All factories east of the Mississippi shut down on Mondays to save coal; street lights are dimmed to save electricity; wheatless Tuesdays and meatless Wednesdays. Daylight Savings Time signed into law by President Wilson to save electricty for the sake of the war effort. The "old" Erie Canal replaced by the New York State Barge Canal in north Onondaga County.
21 January 1918 - New York Philharmonic Society bars all works by living German composers. Around the same time grand opera in German is banned from the New York Metropolitan Opera House and the Chicago Opera Company.
Spring 1918 - As the casualty lists begin to arrive from the Western Front, and the terrific spring offensive of the Germans gathers momentum, cases of mob violence and anti-German hysteria against "slackers" and "Huns" in the U.S. intensify. Destruction of property often is avoided only by liberal subscriptions to the Red Cross or the Liberty Loans. 
April 1918 - Findlay, Ohio city council imposes a $25 fine for speaking German on the streets. In some communities those who continued to speak German or read German-language newspapers had their windows smeared with yellow paint. 
May 1918 - Governor W. L. Harding of Iowa proclaims that English must be the language of instruction in all public, private, and church schools, and that all public addresses and conversations on trains and over telephones must be in English; churches and societies are forced to close; some church services are interrupted by mobs.  The Syracuse Women's Hospital changes its name to Memorial Hospital because of the many gifts, legacies and endowments it has received.
July 1918 - The South Dakota Council of Defense prohibits the use of German in sermons, public addresses, in the schools, and over the telephones. 
2 July 1918 - 6 p.m. Fifty persons killed and over 100 injured in an explosion at the Split Rock Semet-Solvay Corporation munitions plant while producing explosives essential to the Allied war effort. Ten buildings are leveled, and $2 milllion worth of property destroyed.
September & October 1918 - Spanish influenza, which would kill tens of millions around the world, strikes in Syracuse, first at the army encampment at the state fairgrounds. 4,000 soldiers, plus 8,000 more county residents would be stricken. On 19 October 253 Syracusans die.
7 November 1918 - "False armistice" - Newspapers in the U.S. erroneously report the end of the war, engendering premature public celebrations.
9 November 1918 - Collapse of Imperial Germany and abdication of Emperor Wilhelm II.
11 November 1918 - Fighting stops on the Western Front; WWI Armistice signed; war over. The Allies had mobilized over 42 million men; five million were killed, including 50,585 Americans. In Solvay, hundreds of men, women, and children parade on Milton Avenue while the Solvay Process Company's whistles blow until the steam pressure is exhausted.
1919 - The Steuben Society is organized by German-Americans to promote Americanization and combat attacks on German-Americans. The campaign for a regenerated, and more respected German element in the United States begins as part of a vigorous effort in German-American circles in support of the "Victory Loan" of 1919. Articles in the German-American press attempt to disprove the atrocity tales and the many baseless charges made against the German element during the war. The "war after the war" on German artists, German music and the German theatre appears more and more childish with the passing months. German singing societies resume their activities. The Cincinnati Freie Presse observes: "Liberty cabbage is again known as Sauerkraut, and tastes as fine as ever." 
19 January 1919 - 18th Amendment ratified, prohibiting liquor (the "Noble Experiment" would go into effect the following January).
1 April 1919 - Ohio Governor James Cox urges a law to abolish the teaching and use of German in the public, private, and parochial elementary schools of Ohio as "a distinct menace to Americanism, and a part of a plot formed by the German government to make the school children loyal to it." 
15 May 1919 - Onondaga General Hospital opens at the Hiscock Homestead, 915 W. Onondaga Street.
14 July 1919 - U.S. State Department permits resumption of trade with Germany.
25 September 1919 - President Wilson collapses in Pueblo, Colorado while on a speaking tour; several days later suffers a stroke that incapacitates him for life.
October 1919 - Congress passes the Volstead Act over President Wilson's veto, to go into effect the following January.
1920 - The U.S. enters a severe, two-year depression. U.S. population is 105,710,620 (alt. 107,508,855). For the first time ever, less than half of the U.S. population lives in the country; farm residents are less than 30 percent of the population; illiteracy rate has dropped to 6 percent; average life expectancy is now 54 years. There are 167,105 divorces in the U.S. this year. The U.S. produces two-thirds of the world's oil supply. There are 2,000 radios in American homes. The German-language press represents just 26% of all foreign-language publications in the U.S., down from 46% before the war. The Solvay Process Company merges with four other companies to form Allied Chemical and Dye Corporation. (The Solvay Process plant would close in 1986 after operating for 105 years.) What's new: Maxwell House coffee, Sunkist oranges, Brillo scouring pads, Good Humor Ice Cream Suckers, Baby Ruth candy bars, Frigidaires, rayon hosiery.
16 January 1920 - Prohibition--the U.S. goes "dry" with the passage of the 18th amendment prohibiting the manufacture, transport, sale, or possesion of alcoholic beverages, and the Volstead Act, providing for Federal enforcement of Prohibition.
26 January 1920 - The luxurious B.F. Keith Theatre opens at 408 S. Salina Street, seating almost 3,000 for "high-class" vaudeville acts.
June 1920 - Post-merger, the Allied Chemical/Solvay Process Company's welfare work in the Solvay/Syracuse community was eliminated "and all expenditures not directly connected with production were stopped. Clubrooms, gym, dormitory, reading rooms, Solvay Life magazine, band, Americanization and Mechanics schools were abandoned, along with more general community programs like the day nursery and health work in schools." Over time, government and private entities would assume some of these tasks.
12 July 1920 - Panama Canal officially opens.
26 August 1920 - The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives women the right to vote.
1921 - World population is 1.84 billion. Warren Gamaliel Harding, Republican, of Ohio, inaugurated as 29th President. U.S. Immigration Commissioner Frederick A. Wallis reports on disgraceful conditions at Ellis Island. What's new: Drano, Electrolux vacuums, Betty Crocker cake mix, iodized salt, Wise potato chips, Mounds bars, Eskimo Pies. First traffic light in the U.S. is installed in Texas, was manufacturered by Syracuse's Crouse-Hinds Company.
19 May 1921 - Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act, restricts immigration to only 3 percent of a given nationality's American population in the year 1910, and sets a new limit of 358,000 immigrants per year. (In 1920, 800,000 were admitted). The British, who made up 42 percent of the U.S. population in 1910, will thus get 42 percent of all available visas, and Asian workers remain banned as a result of 1917 curbs.
11 November 1921 - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier dedicated in Arlington National Cemetery by President Harding, whose speech is broadcast to the nation by radio.
1922 - "Flappers" and bobbed hair fashionable in the U.S.
30 May 1922 - Lincoln Memorial dedicated in Washington, D.C.
22 September 1922 - Congress passes the Cable Act, or Married Women's Act, which gives each woman her own citizenship status regardless of that of her husband. (From this date no U.S.-born woman would lose her U.S. citizenship by merely marrying an alien; females who had previously lost their citizenship status via marriage to an alien could now initiate their own naturalization proceedings.)
26 October 1922 - Construction begins on the Holland Tunnel, connecting New York and New Jersey under the Hudson River.
1923 - Dance marathons, flagpole sitting, mah jongg, ouija boards, yoyos become fads. DuPont Corporation produces cellophane. Yankee Stadium opens in New York City. The silent film, "A Clouded Name," filmed on location in Syracuse by Eugene Logan, stars Norma Shearer.
10 January 1923 - President Harding withdraws American troops from Germany in protest when France and Belgium try to enforce German war reparations by occupying the Ruhr Valley.
2 August 1923 - President Harding dies in San Francisco. The following day Vice-President Calvin Coolidge, Republican, of Vermont, is sworn in as 30th President. Coolidge is first President to deliver an official presidential address via radio airwaves (6 December).
1924 - Dawes Plan goes into effect to help stabilize the German economy in order to resume reparations and eliminate Allied occupation of the Ruhr Valley. Attorney General Harlan Fiske Stone appoints J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Radios in American homes total 2.5 million--up from 2,000 four years earlier. First annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" performed in New York City. First traffic light in Syracuse (manufacturered by local Crouse-Hinds factory) is erected at the corner of James and State Streets.
26 May 1924 - Congress passes the Johnson-Reed ("Immigration Quota") Act: quotas now based on the population of each ethnic group present in 1890 cut the maximum number of European immigrants to 164,000 per year, half of what was allowed under the Quota Act of 1921. All new entry visas must now be obtained abroad, and prospective immigrants are now inspected abroad (eliminating the turning-back of individuals and breaking-up of families at Ellis Island, as earlier). Asian immigration to the U.S. is completely barred; Eastern European immigration is now severely restricted.
1925 - President Coolidge begins his second term. The filling-in of the Erie Canal begins at Clinton Square; Salina Street bridge demolished. Feature films start running at Keith's Theatre on Salina Street (opened in 1920 for vaudeville shows).
March 1925 - Village of North Syracuse incorporated.
1927 - The first home television reception takes place at the Schenectady, NY residence of GE employee E.F.W. Alexanderson. The following year, station WGY in Schenectady would begin broadcasting television programs twice a week. "A pie social served as the first event toward the establishment of a free library in the village of North Syracuse."
20-21 May 1927 - Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo, nonstop flight from New York to Paris in his plane, Spirit of St. Louis.
27 July 1927 - To tremendous acclaim, Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis visit Syracuse while on his tour of the U.S. following the historic flight.
13 November 1927 - The Holland Tunnel opens, connecting New York City and Jersey City, NJ.
1 December 1927 - After having produced 15 million Model T's, Henry Ford introduces his new Model A, featuring shock absorbers and a speedometer.
1928 - Shirley Temple born. What's new: Velveeta cheese, Nehi soda, Peter Pan peanut butter, Rice Krispies, and Steamboat Willie featuring Mickey Mouse.
From an essay appearing in the Syracuse city directory that year (pages 12-13):
18 February 1928 - Loew's State Theatre (now the Landmark Theatre), opens at 362 S. Salina St. with the feature film, West Point, starring William Haines and Joan Crawford. Its Wurlitzer is the largest theatre organ in Syracuse.
10 March 1928 - President Coolidge signs an order allocating $300 million to compensate German nationals and companies seized during the Great War.
November 1928 - North Syracuse Associated Free Library established.
1929 - Population of the world reaches 2 billion. The Young Plan reduces the total amount in reparations the Germans must pay to $27 billion, down from $33 billion and allows 60 years for repayment to the Allies; Germany has been unable to meet its annual payments, due largely to its own devastated and inflationary economy. Herbert Clark Hoover, Republican, of Iowa, inaugurated as the 31st President--he is the first President of German descent. What's new: Academy awards for movies, Amos 'n' Andy (radio program), Buck Rogers, Tarzan, and Thimble Theater (introducing Popeye), all comic strips. “You could talk about Prohibition, or Hemingway, or air conditioning, or music, or horses, but in the end you had to talk about the stock market, and that was when the conversation became serious.” Charles Brannock invents and begins producing the Brannock Device, the now familiar and ubiquitous metal apparatus for measuring human feet for shoes (still manufactured today by the Brannock Device Company of Liverpool, N.Y.). Popular children's book author/illustrator Eric Carle is born in Syracuse to German immigrant parents.
14 February 1929 - St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago: gangsters and bootleg liquor rampant.
24 October 1929 - "Black Thursday" - The period known as the carefree Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age crashes to a halt, following several weeks of securities prices showing a downward trend. The New York Stock Exchange closes for three days. By the end of the year stock prices had rebounded somewhat and it was hoped the crash would be shortlived. But the worst and longest depression in U.S. history would follow on the heels of "the Crash."
28 October 1929 - Tyrol Club of Solvay, New York officially founded, "To advance and promote the general welfare of the Tyrolean colony...and to stimulate brotherhood; to encourage and assist persons of Tyrolean descent or abstraction to become citizens of the United States of America; and to promote among them a better understanding of American ideals and principles of government..."
1930 - Planet Pluto discovered. U.S. population: 122,776,046 (alt. 124,926,069). Average American life expectancy is 61 years; 26 million cars on American roads. Veterans Administration created. Financial gloom and depression spreading (in spring, serious economic downturn begins). The sealed photoflash lamp is introduced, replacing the dangerious and messy open flash pans previously used in photography. The first commercial line of electric clocks is introduced, as well as an electric clothes washer for home use. Carl Schurz Memorial Foundation organized. What's new: Blondie (comic strip), Wonder bread, Mott's applesauce, new airlines (United, TWA, American), windshield wipers, pinball machines, Hoovervilles, "Garbo talks." New fads: contract bridge and backgammon. Government agents Charles Kress and Lowell R. Smith set up their Syracuse headquarters and team of 20 agents, to begin enforcing Prohibition in Central New York.
6 August 1930 - Judge Joseph Crater, Justice of the State Supreme Court in New York City, vanishes.
3 March 1931 - "The Star Spangled Banner" becomes the National Anthem by act of Congress.
1 May 1931 - The Empire State Building, tallest building in the world (86 floors topped by a mooring mast for passenger dirigibles), opens in New York City at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue.
25 October 1931 - The George Washington Bridge, longest suspension bridge in the world, is completed, linking Manhattan with New Jersey across the Hudson.
1932 - Thomas Edison dies. This is the worst year of the Depression; more than a quarter of the U.S. work force is without jobs. The "Bonus Army" marches on Washington, D.C. What's new: Skippy peanut butter, Frito corn chips, Zippo lighters, Route 66, swing dancing (jitterbug, Susie-Q, rumba, conga, shag, Lindy Hop, boogie-woogie, truckin' and the Big Apple).
1 March 1932 - The Lindberghs' baby kidnapped from his home in Hopewell, New Jersey.
27 December 1932 - Radio City Music Hall opens as the largest indoor theater in the world, seating 6,200.
1933 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Democrat of New York, inaugurated as 32nd President (his inaugural address contains the famous line, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"). Congress creates the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Anti-Prohibition parades and public protests. "Century of Progress" exposition in Chicago. After years of circulating books from a local store's shelves, the North Syracuse public library finds a home when Anna Marsh Reed offers to sell her historic colonial homestead at the corner of Main and Palmer to become the library for a modest price if she were permitted to live in the small rooms upstairs. The new library opens in 1933 with Miss Reed living upstairs and serving as librarian. (In the 1970's structural defects, space constraints, and skunks would prompt the building of a new, larger library in the village of North Syracuse.)
30 January 1933 - Adolph Hitler assumes power as Chancellor of the German Third Reich.
12 March 1933 - President Roosevelt gives his first "fireside chat" over the radio.
5 December 1933 - Prohibition repealed by the 21st Amendment.
1934 - Drought grips the Midwest. Christopher Columbus' statue erected in St. Mary's Circle (now Columbus Circle, Syracuse). The Hollywood theatre (movie house) opens in Mattydale. What's new: Donald Duck.
January 1934 - Sam Dickstein, congressman from New York, creates a committee to investigate Nazi propaganda activities in America.
3 April 1934 - Franklin Motor Car Company of Syracuse goes out of business. It had made the country's only air-cooled engine automobile and had been the area's largest manufacturer.
1935 - Dust storms hit the Midwest "dustbowl." What's new: canned beer, Monopoly (the board game), fad for playing Bingo.
"Somehow I always think of Syracuse as a town which does not exactly know where it came from or where it is going. It is quite a handsome town, with a business district that is decidedly better-looking than most of its compeers upstate, despite the presence, for nearly a hundred years now, of the main-line passenger tracks of the New York Central right down the middle of one of its important streets. To the country at large, most of which at one time or another has ridden upon the main-line trains of the Central, Syracuse is better known by this unique feature than by any other. Foreigners comment upon it, unfavorably, despite the fact that once I found the same sort of thing in the old French city of Nantes. Formerly this intimate dalliance between street and railroad was a feature of a good many of our important eastern towns. And soon it is to pass out of existence in Syracuse. People there will hardly realize what it is not to have their every-day existence punctuated by the slow and dignified (six-mile-an-hour) passage of the North Shore Limited or the Empire up and down Main Street, with all the Syracuse folk staring at the passengers in the cars and the passengers in the cars staring, with equal unintelligence, at the Syracuse folk. As these lines are being written plans for the new union passenger station in Syracuse are being approved by the many powers-that-be. With it goes a grade-removal project, in a slightly different part of the town, and then the tearing up of the tracks through Washington Street. I think that Syracusans are going to miss the long, fine trains, much more than the trains are going to miss Syracuse. They brought a curiously alien touch at all hours into the workaday life of the brisk town; a sort of daily, almost hourly, rubbing of its shoulders by New York and Chicago and St. Louis and Detroit." [Edward Hungerford, Pathway of Empire, 1935, pp. 122-123]
6 May 1935 - Congress establishes the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
14 August 1935 - Congress passes the Social Security Act, establishes the Social Security Administration.
15 August 1935 - Humorist Will Rogers and Wiley Post are killed near Point Barrow, Alaska when their airplane crashes in fog.
December, 1935 - First year Syracuse's public Christmas tree is relocated from Columbus Circle to Clinton Square.
1936 - Congress passes a naturalization act whereby U.S.-born women who had previously lost their citizenship status by marriage to an alien between the naturalization acts of 1907 and 1922 could now regain their U.S. citizenship by merely filing an application with the local naturalization court and taking an oath of allegiance, if that marriage had ended in death or divorce (women still married to their husbands had to go through the complete naturalization process).
14 March 1936 - Anti-German protests erupt against conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler's leading of the New York Philharmonic.
24 September 1936 - End of an era: The New York Central Railroad in Syracuse begins service from their new depot and using the new elevated grade crossing through the city--no more would Syracuse be famous as the city where the railroad trains ran directly through the downtown streets.
11 December 1936 - Edward VIII of England abdicates to marry Wallis Simpson.
1937 - President Franklin Roosevelt begins his second term. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is completed and opens. What's new: shopping carts, Aqua Velva after-shave, Alcoa Aluminum Foil, Niblet canned corn, Pepperidge Farm bread, Spam. Nylon invented by Wallace Hume Carothers for Du Pont. Rainbow Lounge added to the Hotel Syracuse. The Nettleton Shoe Company of Syracuse begins manufacturing its new design, the loafer.
6 May 1937 - World's largest dirigible, the "Hindenberg," bursts into flame at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
2 July 1937 - Last radio message from Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan before their plane disappears in the Pacific between New Guinea and Howland Island.
1938 - What's new: Teflon, Fiberglas. Disney's feature-length animated film "Snow White" released (Feb.).
13 March 1938 - Nazi troops march into Vienna, Austria, forcing "Anschluss" (union with Germany).
24 March 1938 - Riot in Philadelphia when anti-Nazi protestors break up a local German-America Bund celebration of Hitler's seizure of Austria.
18 August 1938 - Thousand Island Bridge spanning the St. Lawrence River to link the U.S. and Canada is dedicated by FDR.
30 September 1938 - "The Big Four" (France, Italy, Germany, Britain) meet at Munich to partition Czechoslovakia.
30 October 1938 - Orson Wells scares the nation with his Halloween radio production of "War of the Worlds" on the Columbia Broadcasting System.
1939 - The FBI claims to have its eye on "more than ten million persons, including a very large number of individuals of foreign extraction."  First commercial telecast. Last of the electric trolleys of Syracuse replaced by buses; the suburban electric railways were now gone. [See alt. date Jan. 1941.]
3 February 1939 - The Collins Block fire in downtown Syracuse (three-alarm fire in the five-story brick building at 223-227 E. Genesee Street) claims the life of nine fire fighters.
18 February 1939 - Golden Gate International Exposition opens in San Francisco.
20 February 1939 - George Washington's Birthday rally in New York City's Madison Square Garden held by the pro-Nazi German-America Bund draws 22,000 Bund members, 1,700 police officers and 10,000 protestors. 
30 April 1939 - New York World's Fair opens; FDR appears on NBC's experimental television there.
May 1939 - With the death of its last member, Lilly Post, 66, Grand Army of the Republic, passes out of existence just shy of its 69th year. Practically all its members had lived on the North Side and were either of German birth or German descent. The post’s annual Memorial Day exercises held at the Soldiers’ Monument in Woodlawn Cemetery would be no more.
1 September 1939 - Hitler invades Poland, setting off World War II. The U.S. intends to remain neutral.
3 September 1939 - Great Britain and France declare war on Germany.
9 September 1939 - President Roosevelt creates the Emergency Detention Program allowing the Justice Department to "arrest and detain those persons deemed dangerous in the event of war, invasion, or insurrection in and of a foreign enemy." The FBI and the Justice Department begin preparing secret lists of people to detain in the event of war. 
1940 - World War II continues in Europe. U.S. population is 131,669,275 (alt. 134,266,754); average U.S. life expectancy is 63 years. Illiteracy rate is 4.2 percent; 30 million American homes have radios, and 33 percent of farms have electricity. New York is still the most populous state. Congress decrees that the complete naturalization process is no longer necessary for any woman whose marriage to an alien between 1907 and 1922 caused her to lose her U.S. citizenship status; even if still married to the alien, she could now regain her U.S. citizenship by merely filing an application with the local naturalization court and taking an oath of allegiance. Rh blood factor is discovered. What's new: Bugs Bunny; the first American helicopter. Du Pont sells 64,000,000 pairs of Nylon stockings.
28 June or 27 August 1940 - U.S. Congress passes Alien Registration Act, requiring all foreigners to go to a U.S. post office to be fingerprinted, photographed, and registered.
16 October 1940 - All U.S. males between ages 21 and 36 must register with the Selective Service, representing the first peacetime military draft in U.S. history. America's policy of neutrality in the European war turns to one of non-belligerency as France falls and the U.S. begins supplying Britain with military supplies in the name of supporting democracy.
1941 - World population is 2.22 billion. The average family income in the U.S. is $8,200. FDR begins his third term, first President to be so elected. First President to be inaugurated in January instead of March (20th Amendment). Germany sinks American vessels, causing first loss of U.S. life. What's new: completed Mt. Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., aerosol spray cans.
4 January 1941 - Last streetcar rides offered in the city of Syracuse before buses take over for electric trolleys.
June - July 1941 - FDR orders the "freezing" of German and Italian assets in the U.S., the seizure of their vessels in U.S. ports, and the closing of the German consulates.
October, 1941 - All aliens with assets over $1,000 required to provide a detailed accounting of those assets to the Treasury Department.
7 December 1941 - Japanese attack Pearl Harbor; U.S. declares war on Japan the following day.
11 December 1941 - Germany and Italy declare war on the U.S. In the conflict to come, one-third of the 11 million soldiers in the U.S. armed forces would be of German descent, including 700 German-American admirals and generals. Nearly 372,000 German prisoners of war will be interned in 500 POW camps in the United States; 56 will be shot to death during escape attempts. (The last fugitive escaped German POW in the U.S. finally surrenders in 1985). Slightly over 25,000 Germans, German-Americans, and German-Latin Americans would be incarcerated by the Enemy Alien Program in nearly four dozen enemy alien camps across the U.S. (The last of them weren't released until 1947.)  The U.S. instinctively returns to the paranoia about Germans previously expressed in the WWI years; fearing a "Fifth Column" of Nazi sympathizers and saboteurs hidden in America.
1942 - What's new: Dannon Yogurt, Kellogg's Raisin Bran, wastepaper and scrap rubber drives.
22 February 1942 - Japanese submarine shells oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.
23 March 1942 - U.S. begins removal of Japanese-American residents from western coastal states to inland areas.
21 April 1942 - Gustav Stickley (furniture designer and proponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement in America) dies in Syracuse.
14/15 May 1942 - Gasoline rationing (25-30 gallons per motorist per month) goes into effect in the eastern states. Sugar rationing (1 pound per person every two weeks) begins in some areas, followed by other rationing schemes for food, clothing, etc. Air raid sirens and blackout drills instituted.
30 August 1942 - First B-17 arrives at Syracuse bomber base (today known as Hancock International Airport).
14 November 1942 - Boys 18 and over conscripted for military duty.
29-30 December 1942 - Syracuse's venerable landmark, the Empire House (corner of Salina Street on Clinton Square) is destroyed by fire.
25 January 1943 - The Pentagon building in Washington, DC is completed.
8 April 1943 - By order of the President, all wages and prices are frozen at then-current levels.
13 April 1943 - Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington dedicated by FDR.
10 June 1943 - 20 percent income tax deducted from wage-earners, thanks to law by FDR.
October-December 1943 - U.S. Army Air Force bombs the German heartland in daylight raids, devastating factories in the Rhine and Ruhr industrial areas and raining down bombs on key cities such as Regensburg, Hannover and Schweinfurt.
1944 - Population of Village of North Syracuse: about 2,000.
4 March 1944 - Allies begin bombing of Berlin.
May 1944 - Most meat rationing ends.
4 June 1944 - Allied forces enter Rome, Italy, first European capital liberated from the Nazis.
6 June 1944 - Invasion of Normandy by Eisenhower's troops.
August 1944 - Paris liberated by the Allies.
7 November 1944 - FDR re-elected to unprecedented fourth term.
21 December 1944 - Horseracing banned in the U.S. because of the war.
2 March 1945 - U.S. recaptures the Philippines from Japanese forces.
7 March 1945 - General Patton's forces invade Germany and cross the Rhine at Remagen, a small town halfway between Cologne and Coblentz and later on pontoon bridges at Oppenheim, between Mainz and Mannheim.
12 April 1945 - FDR dies at Warm Springs, Georgia of cerebral hemorrhage. Vice-President Harry S. Truman, Democrat, of Missouri, inaugurated as 33rd President.
30 April 1945 - Hitler commits suicide in ruined bunker at the Reichstag building in Berlin.
6 May 1945 - American warships sink a Nazi U-boat off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.
8 May 1945 - V-E Day; Germany surrenders.
10 May 1945 - A point system will determine priority of U.S. military discharge, based on service record, length of service, and parental status.
17 July 1945 - The "Big Three" (U.S., Britain, Soviet Union) meet at Potsdam outside of Berlin to partition Germany and legalize the expulsion of Germans from the areas east of the Oder-Neisse line and from Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
28 July 1945 - A B-25 bomber crashes into the Empire State Building, killing 13 people, injuring 26.
6 August 1945 - U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima; second bomb dropped on Nagasaki 11 August.
1 September 1945 - V-J Day; Japan surrenders aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
3 September 1945 - A Syracuse soldier, Lt. Bernard J. Stapleton, raises the first American flag over Tokyo.
23 November 1945 - Rationing of meat, butter, and other commodities ends.
[13 November 1947 - The Alhambra auditorium and roller skating rink burns down at 267-279 James Street, Syracuse.]
[1948 - The Marshall Plan helps Germany recover after World War II.]
[1949 - West and East Germany established.]
[1953 - Polio vaccine.]
[1954 - Syracuse Turn Hall at 619 North Salina Street burns down; it is replaced by the present building.]
[1955 - Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California.]
[1961 - East Germany's Communist regime erects the Berlin Wall. First U.S. manned space flight.]
[1969 - United States puts a man on the moon.]
[1989 - Berlin Wall comes down.]
[3 October 1990 - East and West Germany are reunited.]
[1991 - Soviet Union crumbles.]
A Partial List of Very Good Sources in No Particular Order,
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids