“Where the beautiful town of Syracuse is now located the place was deserving of little more than a name. A small mill was erected at the outlet of Turkey Creek. Here and there a small wooden building constituted what was then know as the Village of Syracuse.” This is how Syracuse was remembered by P.M. Henkel of Goshen in the early days.
After the Miami Indians were ordered to vacate the lake area and move to Kansas, a little flour mill was built on Turkey Creek by Samuel Crosson. As the mill creaded into existence it became a trading center and meeting place for the new settlers arriving from the east. This is believed to be the first flour mill in the newly formed Kosciusko County.
Soon after the mill was built, Mr. Crosson formed a business partnership with Henry Ward. Seeing the need for a town Crosson and Ward surveyed and platted a four block square area consisting of 101 lots. The community known as Crosson’s Mill officially became Syracuse on October 11, 1837. The survey of the new town started at the waters edge of what is now Syracuse Lake and extended westward up the hillside. Thus, the downtown area of Syracuse does not run true with the compass. Today, if one stands on the corner of Main and Huntington Streets, wishing to face north, he would be looking directly at the building where Edward Jones and The Mail Journal reside.
The Village of Syracuse grew very slow until the coming of the railroad which opened up a trade and travel route to the rest of the world. October, 1874 marked the beginning of train service to the community. Although Syracuse was platted in 1837, it was 38 years later before it was incorporated. After the coming of the railroad the village with a populations of three hundred began to grow by leaps and bounds. Suffering from growing pains it was evident that a form of town government must be established. In September, 1876 a petition for incorporation drawn up by Edwin Forrest Holloway and signed by numerous citizens of Syracuse, was presented to the County Commissioners.
An election was held two weeks later with a majority voting for incorporation. The County Commissioners of Kosciusko County declared the town of Syracuse, Indiana, officially incorporated October 18, 1876. This was just on hundred years after the signed of the declaration of Independence by the thirteen colonies in 1776 at Philadelphia.
The first town board consisted of Amos King, Adison Green, and Evan Miles. Miles was elected by his peers as the first chairman of the Syracuse Town Board. His son-in-law, Edwin Forrest Holloway, who prepared the incorporation petition, was elected and served as the first town clerk.
(Article written by Jack Elam in 1987 Sesquicentennial Publication.)
Click on the address to see a picture of what downtown Syracuse looked like in 1955.
E Main St.1955