Syracuse is an industrial city in central Upstate New York. For many years it was a leading producer of salt. Once the home of Iroquois Indians, the first white settler was Ephraim Webster, who built a trading post near the salt springs surrounding Onondaga Lake in 1786. In 1825 the village was named for the ancient Greek city of Syracuse, which was also located near salt springs.
The opening of the Erie Canal was another major event of 1825. Passing through the center of town, it brought new industry and growth. The arrival of railroads in the mid-1800's spurred growth even more. Syracuse is home to Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical Center, along with several other instututions of higher learning. It is also home to the I.M. Pei designed Everson Museum and the annual New York State Fair.
Urban renewal transformed the downtown from the mid-1960's to the mid-1970's. Many new skyscrapers were built, though many historic structures were demolished. The skyline has changed little in the last 30 years. Recent construction has focused on adaptive reuse and renovation rather than new building. The Armory Sqyuare district on the west side of downtown is a notable success of historic preservation.