109 East First Street, Oswego, New York | Unmarked Location
On Monday, April 30, 1894, famed agnostic orator Robert Green Ingersoll delivered the lecture "What Must We Do to Be Saved," one of his most popular and controversial lectures critical of traditional Christianity.
Fitzhugh Hall was a lecture and dance hall located in the Fitzhugh Block. This block was erected at an unknown date by businessman, philanthropist, and radical reformer Gerrit Smith of Peterboro. Smith had extensive real estate holdings in the port city of Oswego, which he repeatedly exploited to help escaped slaves reach freedom in Canada. Smith named the Fitzhugh Block for the family of his wife, Ann Carroll Fitzhugh. Smith had been deceased for twenty years at the time of Ingersoll's lecture.
No photos of Fitzhugh Hall are known to exist. Depicted is the First National Block, which replaced part of the Fitzhugh Block not including the Hall in 1877. All trace of the nineteenth-century structures was lost in Oswego's traumatic experience of Urban Renewal circa 1959.
This 1877 bank building replaced a portion of the Fitzhugh Block (though not, apparently, Fitzhugh Hall, which could still host Ingersoll's lecture in 1894). No usable images of Fitzhugh Hall are known to exist.