This past October, I published an article detailing the story of an unknown wall that sits on Irving Avenue. The wall was once a piece of the perimeter that surrounded the home of Cornelius Tyler Longstreet. Originally known as Renwick Castle, it was later named Longstreet’s Folly and most notably, Yates Castle.
The castle was designed by renowned architect James Renwick Junior. Renwick spent three years of his life overseeing the project, becoming so absorbed in it that he spent some of his honeymoon in Syracuse to watch the construction. During the construction, he also designed such notable buildings as the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and the the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
On the west end of the former Castle runs Renwick Avenue. The street is one of the city’s oldest by-ways, being used as a path that escaped the swampy land that Syracuse was built on. In the 1850’s it was renamed in celebration of the architect.
In 1873, Alonzo Yates, who lived in the castle from 1867-1880 would name his daughter, Grace Renwick, in honor of the architect.
Today the avenue remains quietly in place between SUNY Upstate Medical University and a local housing complex.
Last week, I sat down with local multimedia reporter, Morgan Bulman of Syracuse University, to tell some of my personal story and visit Syracuse’s remaining connections to Renwick and Yates Castle. You can watch the interview by clicking the video below.