Photo courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association Museum & Research Center, Syracuse.
On October 1, 2017, the Greek Revival that sits at 431 East Fayette Street in Downtown Syracuse will turn 100 years old. The University Club of Syracuse dedicated the building in 1917 to serve as the private society’s clubhouse. Tucked between the Hayden Hotel and the Wolcott Restaurant & Tea Room, the pillared structure provided members with a headquarters to meet in comfortable privacy. The Club was wildly popular when it opened, maintaining a waiting list with hundreds of applicants.
In its prime, the University Club often held three to four special events in a week, hosting prominent speakers, networking get-togethers and social dances. The Club drew its share of celebrity visitors over the years including Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Woodrow Wilson.
When we purchased this local treasure eight years ago, it struck us that the structure remained firmly rooted in Syracuse history, yet seemed to be calling for a new mission to bloom and take shape. Overlooking Fayette Park and situated on the Connective Corridor between Syracuse University and downtown Syracuse, this marvelous building was set to be a part of downtown’s renaissance, bringing it back to life with a renewed energy and mission — one that focuses on the development of opportunity, prosperity and inclusion.
Now, as the CNY Philanthropy Center, this repurposed landmark has blossomed into a space for endless collaboration toward a common goal — to help Central New York and its residents succeed and thrive.