Cazenovia House Kitchen Ladies
Built in 1810, the “Cazenovia House” served as a tavern, hotel and thriving community-meeting place. Centrally located at the northeast corner of the public square (now the site of Kinney Drugs), the establishment was run by twenty-seven different proprietors throughout its 150-year history. In the 1950s, the hotel was closed and eventually demolished to make way for a grocery store.
In 1809, one year prior to the hotel’s construction, the “Third Great Western Turnpike Road Company,” better known as the “Cherry-Valley Turnpike,” reached Cazenovia. The road, which originated in Albany, revolutionized the transport of produce, goods and livestock. Under the supervision of a “Drover,” cattle and other stock could be walked great distances along the Turnpike to reach marketplaces. The conveniently located “Cazenovia House” served the drover community for over 40 years, earning it the alternate name, “Drover Hotel.”
The bustling Cazenovia community thrived until the construction of the Erie Canal in 1825, which by-passed the village completely. Land values dropped and Cazenovia was forced to seek new sources of revenue, such as water-powered industry. As a result, the first half of the nineteenth century saw investment in the construction of a number of water-powered mills and factories. Proving successful, these enterprises served to boost Cazenovia’s economy and shape the historic architecture of the village.
In the mid-1870s, after construction of The Syracuse & Chenango Valley Railroad in 1873, Cazenovia became a summer destination. Seeking refuge from the oppressive summer heat, city dwellers from Syracuse and beyond flocked to the shores of Cazenovia Lake. Platform tents and small cabins sprouted up along the western shore. Excursionists outside the “camp community” found sanctuary at establishments like the “Cazenovia House.” In addition, the Lake View Camp Meeting Grounds, the Stanton House, and the Lincklaen House, as well as several boarding houses, provided services for summer visitors.