We are pleased to introduce an exhibit highlighting the development of several planned neighborhoods in Utica from 1913 through 1929. Home Sweet Home: Utica's Olmsted Garden Neighborhoods details the evolution of some of the city's residential areas including Proctor Boulevard, Ridgewood, Talcott Road and Parkway East.
The American economy was booming in the post World War I era into the 1920s. One of the major growth engines driving this prosperity was the housing industry; the introduction of electric appliances also spurred consumer spending. In a postwar environment where the middle class embraced a culture of consumption, Americans by the millions enhanced their standard of living through the acquisition of all things 'new'.
This exhibit explores neighborhood designs created by the firm of Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., a nationally-known landscape architect, who first came to Utica in 1906 to design the Utica park system. As a vibrant upstate New York industrial hub, Utica and its residents were not about to be left behind. New landscape, city planning, real estate development and residential architecture design concepts came together in these neighborhoods. House designs range from those created by noted local architects to Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Former Oneida County Historian Virginia Kelly and architect Michael Lehman have planned this exhibit, which tells the story of Utica's residential expansion and details the amenities that one could expect to find in the new neighborhoods and homes. The display highlights the rapidly changing technology of the era which resulted in state-of-the-art devices such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, phonographs and telephones which are now commonplace.