UTICA — Construction near downtown Utica has brought up the history of old Utica.
Crews working on the Utica Memorial Auditorium Friday found old car parts close to the road near Oriskany Street. Lindsay Mogle, vice president of communications for the Utica Comets, said they haven’t gotten anyone out to check out the parts, but they believe the car was from the 1930s.
“We don’t know how historical it will be,” Mogle said.
One of the car parts, a wheel with wooden spokes, can possibly date back to the 1930s.
Observer-Dispatch historian Frank Tomaino said Abe Sitrin Used Cars and Trucks once was located on the site prior to the Aud being built in the 1960s. He also noted that Harry Heiman and H.L. Johnson dealerships were located near the auditorium site.
Oneida County History Center Excutive Director Brian Howard said history is all around us.
“It’s very clear we’re not the first residents of this area,” he said.
Last week, construction crews working at Court and State streets found a cistern believed to belong to the former Oneida Brewery.
Jim Piccola, regional spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said they still were waiting to hear back from the New York State Museum in Albany to get a definite answer regarding the history of the cistern.
Piccola said the crews are continuing to work and filled the cistern with keystone.
“If they ever wanted to pump it or anything it would make it easier than if we filled it with something like dirt,” he said.
Crews also found bottles in the cistern, some of which still had old corks in them.
Howard said that the area is near the former Oneida Brewery and old children’s toys and pottery shreds have been found there, too. He also said that during the construction of the Oneida Square roundabout, there was evidence of an old plank road, which was an attempt at improved roads in the early 18th and 19th centuries.
“Our history is literally below our feet,” he said. “Not everyone is going to dig down to discover it. It’s encouraging to have this window into the past that these projects facilitate.”