For over 150 years, Fayette Firefighters Memorial Park has been an open public green space, originally set aside as a public square for residents of what was then known as the Village of Syracuse.  The area became a fashionable residential district, hosting some of the finest homes in town. Commonly known as Fayette Park, this 1.2 acre park has been known as Centre Square (1827), LaFayette Park (1838), and Fayette Park (1917).  The Syracuse Common Council officially changed the park’s name to Fayette Firefighters Memorial Park on October 10, 1972, to honor and recognize those Syracuse firefighters killed in the line of duty.  The park features three memorials to fallen firefighters, including the 19-foot tall Phillip Eckel Memorial, dedicated to the Syracuse Fire Chief who lost his life in 1886; the memorial to Hamilton S. White who died fighting a fire in 1899, and the Monument to Firemen in memory of the eight men who perished in the 1939 Collins Block fire.  In 1985, a fire bell dating from 1871 was added to the park and presently hangs from a 12-foot tall bell tower.  

The Crouse Family home on Fayette Park

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In the late 19th century, Fayette Park was surrounded by an array of elegant homes, similar in size to the last remaining one – The Hamilton White – which sits next to Park Central Church.  But in 1888, one of the local residents, a man named Daniel Edgar Crouse, had a much larger structure built behind his home, facing the Park at the corner of State and Fayette Streets. 

Crouse Stables

This monumental, 4-story building was, in fact, a stable for his horses, but perhaps the most elaborate stable ever built in the country.

A newspaper headline about Crouse Stables

Daniel had inherited a fortune from his father but showed little interest in anything as much as his collection of fine horses.  His stable, designed by the same architect his father had used to build Syracuse University’s Crouse College, turned out to be as palatial as Aladdin’s Temple, boasting:

  • A formal reception room
  • An elegant parlor with rosewood paneling
  • A main dining room complete with imported Havilland china and monogrammed crystal
  • A full kitchen
  • Elevators for both human passengers and another for the horses and carriages
  • A billiard room
  • And on and on,  And then there were the furnishings:
  • Tapestries – imported vases – giant clocks – oriental rugs – statuary and even toilet basins fashioned from imported onyx

The interior of Crouse Stables

It was said that the construction and furnishing of the Crouse Stable amounted to $350,000 or about $8 million dollars in today’s currency. In reality, it was a giant Victorian bachelor pad for Crouse.  Crouse’s rather lavish lifestyle and girth finally caught up with him and he died suddenly in 1892 at the age of 49; having had the opportunity to enjoy the surroundings of his opulent stable for barely 4 years.

Daniel Edgar Crouse

Daniel Edgar Crouse out for a ride