OSWEGO, NY ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ As the Oswego Salvation Army takes steps to move into its new home on West Second Street in Oswego, a collection of news clippings and memorabilia recently rediscovered, tells the tale of its rich history.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere is a lot of history here,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Kenneth Hayes said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt is nice to be a part of an organization that has such a long history within this community.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
With the move, comes a look back to 1893 when the Salvation Army first opened its doors in Oswego, and has been in continuous operation ever since.
One of the Salvation ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s famous members is Lt. Colonel Helen Purviance, who is considered the first ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdoughnut girlÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â of the Salvation Army during World War I.
Purviance was commissioned in Oswego from 1913 to 1924.
In 1917 while serving in France, Purviance and other Salvationists would conduct religious services, concerts and bake treats for the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œdoughboys,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â according to National Salvation Army history reports.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œUsing limited rations and an open stove, Helen and her fellow officers rolled out doughnuts,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the report reads. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey rolled the dough using a wine bottle and fried the dough over the fire. Soon the aroma drew the soldiers to the hut and they lined up, waiting for their turn.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Purviance served more than a million doughnuts, known as sinkers, to troops during World War I.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œShe fried the very first doughnut,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Hayes said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhen she came back to Oswego, she helped the Salvation Army buy its first building right here on West First Street.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Captain Hayes said The War Cry, a newspaper that was distributed by the Salvation Army, talked of Purviance and the first Salvation Army building, which was dedicated Aug. 1, 1920.
The report says that the three-story citadel at West First and Cayuga streets was ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œone of the finest and best equippedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â around.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe basement had a laundry where the poor would come to get their laundry done,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Hayes said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere was also a day nursery. Students from the State Normal College donated their time for that effort.”
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere are a few people around here who talk about that old three-story building. We’re lucky to have memorabilia and archives to carry on our history,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he added.
Captain Hayes notes that in the late 1930s, a Corps officer and father of two sons and two daughters named Bassett was assigned to Oswego.
His children attended school in Oswego and eventually, two of them, Todd and Joe, went on to become Salvation Army officers, as well.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œW. Todd Basset went on to become the United States National Commander of the Salvation Army before he retired,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Hayes said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey lived in the same house that my family and I live in now when they were boys.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Other clippings unearthed recently tell tales of the Salvation ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s efforts over the years during some of our nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s roughest times.
During the Great Depression, the Salvation Army distributed bushel baskets of coal or wood for heat, and baskets of produce to those in need.
A report from 1953 talks about the holiday delivery of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œsunshine basketsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to a local nursing home and prisoners at the jail.
The Oswego Salvation Army sold the original facility on First Street when it built its current home on West Third Street.
The building was officially dedicated May 12, 1957.
Eventually, the former building was taken down.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSenior Captains Francis and Mrs. Spellman were instrumental in getting the Third Street site built,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Captain Hayes said.
While difficult to leave the historical building, Captain Hayes said he is looking forward to the opportunities that their new site on West Second Street will bring.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe space we have is just not adequate anymore,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhen they built this, they never expected what we are doing now. In 50 years, society has changed and needs have changed. I expect that 50 years from now, people will be able to share memories of things they did at our new location, too.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The Oswego Salvation ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“s ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI BelieveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â campaign will help with renovations and expanded services at the new building, the former New York State Labor Department.
Information about the Oswego Salvation Army and progress updates on the new facility are available at http://oswegosa.com or by calling (315) 343-6491.
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church.
The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.