New York Central station shortly before it was demolished
Sunday, April 2, 1939
Old New York Central Station Ordered Razed
Basing action on finding that the west wall of the building is near collapse, and that the structure is a menace to public safety, the Syracuse Department of Fire announced Saturday that the disused New York Central station is condemned and the railroad has been directed to demolish it at once.
Fire Marshal Charles Wilkes acted on the basis of inspection of the building which he described as "in very dangerous condition." Mayor Marvin, who returned Friday night from New York City, made no comment regarding the development.
The fire marshal submitted photographs showing brickwork and stonework around cornices crumbling and asserted that the west wall is cracking.
The old station was built in 1895 and abandoned in September, 1936. It has stood for two and one-half years without heat and has fallen into disrepair. It was said two years ago that the building would be auctioned with the site and the proceeds credited to the New York Central grade crossing elimination fund.
The grade crossing account remains unsettled pending disposition on this detail and the railroad is not accountable for any payment towards its share of the elimination cost until completion of the final accounting. The Syracuse Grade Crossing Commission is holding up payment of certain funds to the railroad until the detail of disposition of the remaining property is cleared.
Marshal Wilkes said that he was advised that the railroad remains the owner of the property. He said in a letter to J.V. McQuade, Land and Tax Division, New York Central Railroad Company, New York City, as follows:
"This is to notify you that I made an inspection this date of the old New York Central station, South Franklin, West Fayette and West Washington Streets. I found that the west wall of the building is ready to collapse and in a very dangerous condition. Therefore, I hereby condemn this building, as of this date, an direct you to demolish same immediately, as it constituted a menace to public safety."
Windows in the building have been smashed and boards replacing the panes have been ripped away by trespassers and firewood-gatherers. The site of the station, extending from South Franklin street west to Onondaga Creek, has been proposed for various uses. It is part of an extensive parcel owned by the railroad and comprising practically two square blocks, bounded by South West street, West Water street, South Franklin street and West Fayette street.
As far as indicated the city interest is solely one of public safety. Some of the crumbling wall virtually over hangs the sidewalk in South Franklin street. The old train shed which roofed over an area between Franklin and West streets north of the station was torn down in the spring of 1937, a few months after the railroad started regular operation of trains over the new "L" route.