Central New York

Syracuse Museum Celebrates 100th Anniversary of World War I

Uniforms of Onondaga County men who served in World War I on display at the exhibit. (c) 2017- Michael Adzima

Listen to hear more about what you can find at the War to End All Wars exhibit.

By Michael Adzima

Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)- On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I, known at the time to be the “war to end all wars.” Over 4 million American troops went overseas to fight in Europe, including many from right here in Central New York.

One hundred years later, the Onondaga Historical Association has opened the War to End All Wars: Onondaga County Encounters World War I exhibit. The gallery gives visitors insight into the lives of some of the local men who served and the effects the war had at home in Onondaga County.

Visitors can find out information on men from Onondaga County who served as well as some of the ways Central New York helped provide for the war. One of the special ways Onondaga County helped serve the war effort was with the establishment of Camp Syracuse, a recruitment base at the State Fairgrounds.

“We are a crossroads of the railroads at that time and it was easy for troops to get here from all over the country which that they did such that by the summer of 1917 we had over 25,000,” said Onondaga Historical Association Historian Robert Searing.

Also on display are medals awarded to Onondaga County men who served such as the first Distinguished Service Cross awarded for the First World War. As visitors look at the uniforms of local veterans, they can learn more about their lives in Central New York both before and after the war.

One of the most interesting displays details a tragedy of the war that happened right here at home. A section of the gallery is dedicated to the Split Rock TNT plant and the explosion there, which killed over 50 workers in July 1918.

“About a quarter of the TNT made for American and Allied troops during World War I was actually derived directly from Split Rock,” explained Searing on the importance of the Split Rock plant.

The gallery is free and open to the public at the Onondaga Historical Association Wednesday-Sunday. The exhibit closes on November 11, 2018, the one hundred year anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.