Clinton Square

Clinton Square

Clinton Square. This overall view looks east from South Clinton Street. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, restored in 2001, is seen at far left.

Balloon lift-off site

Balloon lift-off site

Near this spot, the young L. Frank Baum may have witnessed an 1871 balloon ascension that biographers believe inspired the balloon lift-off scene at the climax of The Wizard of Oz.

The fountain pool marks the position of the Erie Canal channel. Prior to 1924, the Canal crossed Clinton Square east-to-west.

Jerry Rescue monument

Jerry Rescue monument

This monument, added to Clinton Square in 2001, celebrates the October 1, 1851, rescue of William "Jerry" Henry, an escaped slave from Missouri. This rescue was a nationally significant victory for the abolitionist cause and helped set a pattern of Northern defiance of the Fugitive Slave Act. For more details, see Jerry Rescue Monument.

Balloon ascension, Clinton Square, 1871

Balloon ascension, Clinton Square, 1871

Hundreds watched as Prof. C. C. Coe of Rome, New York, launched his hot-air balloon New World from Clinton Square as part of an 1871 balloon race. Note the Erie Canal, crossing the square from right to left. At this time, L. Frank Baum was living in Syracuse, aged fifteen. If he was not among the onlookers, he surely heard of the celebrated event, memories of which may have inspired the hot-air balloon scene in The Wizard of Oz.

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