Millpond Landing was originally built for wholesale grocer A.S. Coan and Company as a three-story building in 1878. Syracuse architect Horatio Nelson White was the designer. In 1896 a fourth story was added. During much of the 20th century, Lerman Carpet Corporation owned and used the building as a warehouse. Later it was occupied by Onondaga Paper and Twine Company. The structure was rehabilitated in 1989 and given new life as an office and retail building.
The current name for this building was inspired by the fact that much of this area was once under water. In the early 1800s, a dam was constructed in nearby Onondaga Creek, downstream about five blocks, at West Genesee Street. The dam backed up the Creek’s waters and created a large pond that covered much of today’s Armory Square. A number of small grain and saw mills were built between here and the dam, drawing water from the millpond to power their large waterwheels.
A 1834 map showing Mill Pond
A map illustrating where all the mills were located along Onondaga Creek
One of the mill operators in the 1830s was a man named Fred Horner. Fred’s ledger survives today in the archives of the Onondaga Historical Association. Most of his sawmill customers paid with cash, but some traded other goods for his services. One example is a brewer paid for his lumber with beer.
The Red Mill located on Mill Pond
Eventually, the millpond proved more trouble than it was worth. The water grew stagnant –a major nuisance to the community for the few mills that used it. The village fathers decided to fill it in. In 1849 they leveled off a hill on the North Side to provide the necessary soil. It was a project with a dual purpose. They hoped the hill, now suitable for a prominent building, would become the ideal spot for a new State Capitol – more centrally located than Albany. But New York’s capital never moved and the hill ultimately became the home of St. Joseph’s Hospital.