Street Name Change Honors Native Americans Influence On Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – It’s an old street, now with a new old name that reflects the history of this area.

At its meeting Monday night, the Common Council approved a request by city resident Mike Goldych that the city change the name of Canal View Drive to Onondaga Street.

The street runs along the river parallel to East First Street, from East Cayuga Street to East Mohawk Street. It has no homes on it.

At the committee level recently, Goldych provided councilors with a sketch that showed the location of Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca streets that are named for the original Iroquois nations.

According to Goldych, by renaming Canal View Drive to Onondaga Street it will reflect how the five nations were connected, by Onondaga in the center.

Council vice president Shawn Walker said he was in favor of the idea.

“Ever since I was a kid, I wondered why we never had an Onondaga Street,” he said. “Now would be a good time to put it in.”

“I want to thank Mike Goldych for bringing this to our attention. I think it’s a good idea he had,” Councilor Mike Myers added.

The existing streets Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca were named after four of the five original Iroquois nations.

“I’m glad the council saw fit to move ahead with this,” Goldych said following the meeting. “It highlights our history. And, you know, in some old French maps the (Oswego) river showed up as Onondaga River.”

“We have an old street with a new name. We have to make some new street signs,” added DPW Commissioner Mike Smith. “We probably have to notify the state, county and the 911 center. There are any residences on the street but the Canal Corp., the lock house is there.”

There will have to be changes to city maps and other records to reflect the change, according to Council President Ron Kaplewicz.

“I want to talk to the mayor about inviting representatives from the Onondaga Nation, too,” he said. “I think that would be a nice touch to have them here for the street rededication. Show them the city recognizes what they did; the important role they played in the history of this area.”

“We’ll have to update the maps and let the state know,” the mayor said. “I agree, it would be a nice thing to do to invite the Onondagas to a ribbon cutting.

City officials didn’t set any timeframe for erecting new signage or for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.