Old Time Hotel is Being Razed
Empire On East First street
Once Headquarters for
The memories of Oswego oldsters watching workmen raze the Conde storehouse at 82 and 84 East First street are brought back these days to the years when this lake port was a sailor's paradise.
Used for the past 25 years as a storehouse and store by the knitting company,
Michael G. Conn, vice president, said Wednesday that it became necessary to tear the building down when walls on the rear began to crumble.
Whether or not the adjoining building at 80 East First street, owned by the Central New York Power Corporation, will be torn down has not been decided. The Conde site will be left vacant, it was said.
Now doomed, the building in its prouder day, was the Empire Hotel, a favorite meeting place of sailors when Oswego was a favorite meeting place of sailors when Oswego was filled with seafaring men. In the Empire and the other two other hotels on East First street, sailors in port at the end of a trip gathered.
It was in these hotels that many of them spent the winter during the seventies and eighties. According to the memory of oldtimers a sailor could give one of these hotel keepers$50 when the navigation season closed in the fall and this amount would pay for room and board until the season opened again in the spring.
In later years a stage was erected in the hotel and singing and dancing shows were presented with the spectators sitting around tables.p>
The hotel no doubt received its name from the Empire Flour mill, then located at 70 East First street. Just when the building was erected and whether or not it was ever known by any other name is not known.
First appearing in the city directory of 1872, the hotel was then owned by Marsden and Brower. An advertisement said that "every attention is paid to the comfort of guests." The two proprietors also operated an ice cream and confectionary store at No. 3, Munroe & Jackson block, the present Arcade.
In the following year the hotel was owned by John Brower. by the eighties Turner and Fayette were the owners. George Turner probably owned the hotel during the greatest part of its existence for he is the one old timers remember. Mr. Turner was a retired shipmaster.
William R. Keyes who is tearing the building down, found an advertisement of A. A. Colby, gold broker. Mr. Colby bought and sold gold, silver and Canada money, according to the poster, and had gold and currency drafts on New York. Located in the Grant block, he also sold railroad tickets to all points. Evidently he had many dealings with sailors for the poster said his office hours were from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the navigation season.