Mattydale School Maple Trees

11 Former Students Died in WW II





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McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact

















Mattydale School Maple Trees



The Bessie B. Riordan Apartments, formerly Bessie B. Riordan Elementary School, formerly Mattydale School. Picture from May 2012.


There were 11 maple trees that were planted in front of the Mattydale Elementary School in 1945 to commemorate the 11 former students at the school who had lost their lives in World War II. 


Memorial Trees at Mattydale School



Pfc. Thomas Wevers

Robert Dunn

Cpl. Robert Thornton

Leonard Michels

Pvt. Edward Fisher

Pvt. William Gillmore

Pvt. Patsy Capozzi

Cpl. Paul Starusyknek

Pvt. Alexander DeLemo

Lt. Edgar Martin

AOM 3/C S/Sgt Dominick Rossi



This is a photo from the 2nd memorial service at Mattydale School. The Memorial Maple trees were planted and dedicated the year before.






In the 1926 picture the brick school is only three years old and there are few trees in the areas. This was to be expected since the school had been built on farm land donated by Frank Matty.





In this 1951 aerial photo a row of trees can be seen growing along the front of the school. There appear to be 11 trees but the center trees appear to be quite a bit larger than the trees on the ends. These trees were planted five years before the picture was taken. Perhaps some had died and had to be replaced. Perhaps the larger trees were not part of the 1945 dedication





At some point a semicircular driveway was added so that the busses would have to block E. Molloy Road while they were waiting for the students to board. On the left side it is possible that one of the trees had been moved back toward the school to make room for the driveway. A similar move might have been made on the right side of the driveway but the shadows make it a little difficult to see. But there is a shadow of a tree seen on the driveway.



This is the remaining maple on the east side of the driveway as seen in this 2012 image. A pictures taken in 2007 clearly show the remnants of the iron fence placed around this young maple tree had become embedded in the trunk of this tree. An intact iron fence was found around the trunk of one of the remaining memorial trees on the west side of the driveway (see picture below). It would appear that only two of the original maple trees, planted in 1945, have survived.




A close up of one of the remaining Memorial Maple trees in 2007 shows the remains of the iron fence that, at one time, encircled each trees, protruding out of the trunk.


Riordan School closed in 1981 that was the last Memorial Day program. [1981-05-20] In 1997 a local couple noticed that only two of the trees were left. They started a campaign to replace the memorial in some appropriate form. [1997-12-26]




In 2001 a plaque was dedicated at Bessie B. Riordan Senior Apartments commemorating the 11 former Mattydale students.


The picture on the left is a picture of the remaining maple tree on the west side of the school taken in March 2005. The smaller size of this tree compared to the one on the east side of the school indicates this was one of the original maples that had been replaced. On the right is the same tree in May 2012 and the wire fencing is gone.



[1981-05-20] - "Memorial Day service planned," The Herald-Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, May 20, 1981.

[1997-12-26] - "Couple determined to honor veterans," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Friday, December 26, 1997.