Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oswego, part I

Oswego, part I

I returned from Rome at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, and at 6:30 a.m. the next day I was on my way to Oswego, New York, a 300-mile, six-hour drive north by northwest (hey, there's a movie in there somewhere) from the NYC metro area. It was a picture-perfect day for a long drive, and I took a very scenic route: up Route 17 to Binghamton, then up I-81 thru Syracuse, whence it's another 35 miles to Oswego.

I was in Oswego once before as part of my annual vacation in September 2006. At that time I took one of my favorite photos:

The waters of Lake Ontario break over the (appropriately named) breakwater protecting Oswego harbor. At the breakwater's end is a lighthouse. The harbor is a very busy one, at the northern terminus of a canal and the Oswego River, which link to the Erie Canal.

The river, with its entree to central New York, made Oswego a natural outpost for the nations contending to control America in the 17th century. So a fort was built there by the French, and they and the British fought over it and the fur trade until the 1760s. Subsequently it became a base for British and American fighting in the War of 1812. And there was an active fort (see below) at the river's mouth thru WWII. Now Fort Ontario is a national monument.
Fort Ontario, atop the bluff at the mouth of the Oswego River. Lining the river are warehouses that serve the Great Lakes and inland trade routes.

Oswego River and the last canal lock before the harbor. Bridge Street, the city's main drag, crosses the river here. Some of the old warehouses along the river here have been transformed into eateries. The silos are for cement storage--part of the river-lake trade.
A little further upriver, a look at the part of the city on the western side. Further west is the campus of SUNY-Oswego, the other "main business" of the city besides the port.
My reason for visiting Oswego in September 2006 as part of my historical vacation trip (historical in the sense of visiting historical sites like Saratoga, Auriesville, Johnson Hall, Sackets Harbor, and Seneca Falls) was to visit a friend of 20 years, Fred Vigeant--once my altar boy in Fairfield, Conn., then a student at Oswego, and now station manager of NPR's WRVO at the university.
My reason for visiting Oswego this fine May weekend was to preside over Fred's wedding, which was celebrated at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church (above).
What a magnificent church! It's in the English Gothic style, built between 1917 and 1924, altho the parish itself dates to the 1840s. It's done in light brown brick with a lot of dark wood and gorgeous stained glass.

The windows lining the nave are dedicated to heroes and heroines of the Old Testament. This one portrays King David with his harp.

There are numerous statues of the saints in alcoves along the nave, handsomely carved from wood. How do you like this image of St. Patrick?

Next entry: the wedding.

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