130-year-old signature discovered by electrician renovating downtown building

Earlier this year I was invited to 235 East Water Street by Jason Emert who had uncovered some #SyracuseHistory within the building. Emert is a local electrician who was hired to assist in renovating the structure. When a century old elevator was removed from the upper floor, Emert noticed a signature etched into the brick behind where the elevator was. The signature reads “C.F. Gere II, Dec 21st 1886.” Research tells us that a man named Charles F. Gere conducted business at 215 East Water Street in the late 1800s before moving to New York, leading me to believe that the address has since changed.

In the following years, 215 (now 235) East Water Street became home to H.C. Roberts Electric Supply Company. Coincidentally, Emert found the words “H.C. Roberts” written in coal on the same floor.

Emert said that he too writes his name accompanied by the date on each and every project he works on, a practice he will continue in hopes that his writing is one day found by a future generation of Syracusans.

If you’re attending tomorrow’s Downtown Living Tour, the new apartments opening in this very building will be on display. Be sure to look up while you’re there and thank Emert for discovering a tangible piece of our past.