1. Whether you know him as a staggeringly talented movie star or just a couch-hoppin’ Scientologist, Tom Cruise got started in Syracuse, NY. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Kevin Ballard
2. Rod Serling brought the strange, weird and unknown into the nation’s television sets with his famous television series, “The Twilight Zone.” Perhaps he had his first surreal encounters while growing up in Syracuse, NY? 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user meltwater
3. Here’s a fact that will come as no surprise to locals, but might tick off other northern states: Syracuse receives more snowfall than any other city in the entire country. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Mark Hogan
4. The Mutoscope, a coin-operated, hand-crankable machine used to watch movies (usually dirty ones of ladies undressing as spied through a peephole) were patented in Syracuse in the late 19th century. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Benjamin Thompson
5. Vice president and Leslie Knope heartthrob Joe Biden got his collegiate learning on at Syracuse University. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: gifsoup.com
6. Say “Ahh!” The reclining dental chair was invented by Syracuse’s own Milton Waldo Hanchett in 1840. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Britt Reints
7. The very first drive-in window didn’t even get you a side of fries with that. Merchants Bank installed it in Syracuse in 1941. 8. You may not know the Brannock device by name, but you definitely know it by sight: it’s how the shoe salesman know your size, and Charles Brannock invented it in Syracuse. 9. Syracuse can lay claim to the longest-running state fair in the nation’s history: the Syracuse State Fair started getting people excited about hay bale rides in 1848. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Charlotte Beucheler (Dallot)
10. Not one, but two major publications think Syracuse is a super-green city (and not just for all the trees): “National Geographic” and “Popular Science” gave the city top honors in their recent rankings. 11. In other streetlight news, the one in Tipperary Hill at Tompkins and Milton got so much flack (specifically, stones being hurled at it) for having the “British red” above the “Irish green” in the 1920s that the area’s alderman requested a quick swap. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
12. Even if you don’t bleed orange, the Syracuse University Carrier Dome gets special mention for its status as the only venue of its kind in the Northeastern US. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user MattCC716
13. So why exactly is it called Syracuse in the first place? Turns out it’s namesake is a town in Sicily, Siracusa, which also has famous salt deposits, sits next to a lake, and has a neighboring town called Salina (Syracuse used to have a neighboring town called Salina before it was incorporated). Go tell everyone! 14. L. Frank Baum, the guy who gave us Dorothy and her yellow brick road, lived in Syracuse and married his wife, the daughter of abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage, in the front parlor of their Fayetteville home. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user JoshBerglund19
15. Anna Short Harrington, one of the actresses who portrayed Aunt Jemima, spent her final years in Syracuse. That’s a pretty sweet fact, huh? 16. Main Street is booming in Syracuse! Companies like Cathedral Candle, Crouse Hinds Electric and other corporations have been going strong for over a century! 17. Skaneateles Lake isn’t just gorgeous to look at—it’s clean and pristine, supplying Syracuse with all of its potable water. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
18. If you want to go play some pick-up at the park, you have over 1000 acres to choose from in Syracuse. 19. Burnet Park has one of the country’s oldest public golf courses (the only older one is in the Bronx). Fore! 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Matti Mattila
20. The fact that Syracuse University was the first to offer a B.A. isn’t B.S. It was in 1874! 21. The great Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy did it with Syracuse University. His glorious career was cut tragically short before he could play in the professional leagues after losing a battle to acute monocytic leukemia. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Wikipedia user DevinLi
22. Syracuse can attribute all of its current successes to the Erie Canal, which helped the city’s growth. 23. The tallest building in Syracuse, the State Tower Building, has held that honor since the 1920s. It is also a preferred nest for choosy peregrine falcons—four falcons were born in 2010. 24. Prior to a 2001 merger, the “Post-Standard” was ranked as one of the 10 best small newspapers with a circulation under 100,000 by “USA Today.” The paper promptly went on to dramatically increase its circulation. 25. Post-modernist and all-around fantastic writer David Foster Wallace hailed from Syracuse. His most famous work, “Infinite Jest,” is set in his natal region of New England. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Bart Everson
26. Grover Cleveland, the only president so nice we elected him twice (non-consecutively), passed his formative years in Fayetteville. 27. Jim Boeheim became the coach with the most wins at a single university with his 880th on Feb. 8, 2012. There are a number of similarly inspiring statistics about his stellar career. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
28. Before Syracuse University adopted orange as its school color, the colors were rose pink and pea green. 29. Skaneateles Lake is the cleanest, Onondaga was the second-most polluted in the world (though now it's safe to eat fish that came out of their). Still, Syracuse just can’t let go of the water-related superlatives, can it? 30. Salt potatoes are more delicious than any other potato you’ve ever had (yes, this is a fact), and they were invented in Syracuse, where they continue to please. 31. A classic staple of men’s footwear, the loafer made its big debut here in Syracuse. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Robert Sheie
32. If you can’t imagine life without a serrated bread knife to tackle those crusty baguettes, make sure to thank Joseph E. Burns of Syracuse for making everyone’s life easier. 33. Luxury carmaker Franklin, whose chief engineer pioneered the groundwork for future automobile manufacturers, was, yes, here in Syracuse. 34. Hipsters would have loved Syracuse before it invented the first two-gear chain for all of the fixed gear bikes. 35. In fact, bicycles were so popular during that time that streetcar earnings actually declined. 38 Things You Never Knew About Syracuse
Source: Flickr user Internet Archive Book Images
36. A couple of smart guys from Bristol Laboratories, way back in 1948, made landmark research that was instrumental in providing us with the penicillin we use today. It keeps us from, y’know, dying. 37. Thanks to the amazing work of Ruth Johnson Colvin, Literacy Volunteers for America, Inc. has been helping individuals the country over crack open a book and get better jobs. What’s your favorite fun fact about Syracuse? Tell us in the comments below!