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Maps in Camillus Tell More Than Just Directions post image

The influence of Camillus Cutlery on our beloved knife town is quite apparent and well documented. The two go hand in hand, as the town thrived for generations around the cutlery business.

It is the same story that took place in many cities during the 20th century. If you got a job at the XYZ company, you were pretty much going to live the typical American life style. You got married, you had a family, you bought a home, you retired, and lived happy ever after, passing your worldly goods onto your children who hopefully did the same thing as you.

Unfortunately, those scenarios rarely exist anymore and that sense of community and wellbeing is getting tougher to find.

An example of that influence on municipality in Camillus is clearly recognized by looking closely at the names of some of the streets, avenues, and roads in this small town. Having a street or boulevard named after you, assures your name will remain for posterity. Unfortunately the new generation may have no idea from where the name was derived.

Now it should be perfectly understood that without an historical search of town records it is impossible to guarantee the actual history of these street names. Even with a search, it most likely wasn’t recorded as to why some street bares a certain name. Quite often, the names just evolved and became commonplace among townsfolk, or perhaps a family lived on that street and it made sense to apply their name. No doubt, other items played a role in the name designation too. Therefore, the following is our rendition of some of the Camillus Cutlery related streets in “Knife Town USA”. If by chance you have further information, or historical knowledge of the area, please leave a comment below, or better yet contact us so we can more accurately relay the information.

The Camillus Cutlery manufacturing facility was located on 52-54 Genesee Street. Sadly, the renovation of the old plant could not be carried out, as fire claimed the structure, a destiny that more than one old cutlery company has experienced. The remains of the Cattaraugus Cutlery plant, for example, in nearby Little Valley, New York, fell to the same fate as did Camillus in 2015. This tragedy leaves us with only fawn memories and pictures to remind us of the glory days of knife manufacturing as we have grown to love and admire.

Just for consistency, the follow streets will be in alphabetical order. If you go to https://www.google.com/maps/place/Camillus,+NY you can see a nice layout of the town and search the streets to see their proximity to the old plant site.

Anvil Drive: This seems like a logical name for a street in a cutlery town. What self-respecting cutlery company wouldn’t have an anvil? Undoubtedly, someone may still own the anvil that Mr. Sherwood used at the original site, as something like that is rarely just tossed away. Now wouldn’t that be a collector’s item and a half to own?

Bingham Place: If you have been studying your Camillus history, you are aware that one of the founding fathers was Denton Bingham. He married into the Sherwood family and was an integral part of the success of Camillus when it was taken over by Mr. Kastor.
Camillus Ave: This probably was named before the cutlery company but if you look at the map from the 1840’s below, this name doesn’t seem to be there just yet. It appears to have been utilized since that maps inception.

Camillus Drive: This name would most likely fit the description of the Camillus Ave and again not located on the 1843 map.

Charles Drive: We are not sure which came first, Bingham Place or Charles Drive, but it makes perfect sense that each of these founding fathers, Charles Sherwood being the second one, who would have contributed not only to the success of the cutlery business but also the town itself, would have had streets named after them. It needs to be repeated that this is purely speculation on our part, but it seems quite a coincident that these two respected names would appear for any other reason! If we knew the location of their original homes, that would most likely help in the reasoning for the names.

Kastor Ave: I challenge anyone to dispute the reason for this name. Mr. Kastor is the reason Camillus grew in leaps and bounds. He is rightfully credited for making this historic manufacturer a powerful force in the cutlery industry.

Northfield Way: This one is pure speculation as well. It is documented (see the article on Mr. Gill) that skilled craftsmen from Northfield, Connecticut, the home of the Northfield Knife Company, spent some time in Camillus with their trade. It would make sense that they might honor their hometown roots in this manner.

Sherwood Ave: The Sherwood family played a pivotal role in the development of the community. If you review the 1843 map, you will see the Sherwood name. This family was deeply imbedded in the history of the area for many reasons, so it is very possible it was named for that reason.

Smoke Rise Drive: This one is a wild guess and most likely wrong, but it is nice to imagine that someone years ago saw the smoke rising out of the plant on a crisp fall morning and felt it was a scenic venue that needed remembered. Or maybe it was a version of Nostradamus and his predictions and they had a vision of the final demise of the our beloved cutlery plant.

Wallace Ave: Dean Wallace was an important figure at Camillus. Please see the attached newspaper article that gives a brief description of his many contributions to the company. Also, see the patent that he was awarded while in service to the company. Again, the Wallace name is regular in the history of the company and we are not sure if this street is in reference to him personally, but most likely the family for sure.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Gregory Clarke September 19, 2015, 9:54 pm

    My parents moved to Kastor Ave in the late 50’s and because that house did not have a cellar, they built the house that stands at 4 Wallace Ave. I remember as a kid locating the grave of Mr. Elderkin at the gravesite up Maple Drive west of the bypass. It was great learning about Mr. Kastor (still have family and friends living there) and Mr. Wallace. Thank you!

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